My reasons for abstaining from any spam plugins (except that aforementioned captcha thats gone now) wasnt out of a sense of purity. :) I learned how to deal with spam the old fashioned way, and having had a lot of success, and NO added headaches (there are plenty of headache posts on here), have continued on doing so the old way.
Thankfully, Im not alone, in fact, Im in pretty good company:
If youre interested in everything Ive done:
1. hardened .htaccess that also blocks the pinapple proxy and ALL .info and .biz tlds.
2. renamed comments-post.php or whatever that file was originally called
3. renamed wp-trackback.php
4. the page that actually posts a comment is only accessable via my domain (prevents remote access via a script)
thats it, and honestly, save the 2 spam I saw this morning, and didnt mention until after I saw your post here, I have gotten no spam.
Added: it could be argued that my usage of the word, "prevents" is a mis-speak. Obviously, nothing is a 100% solution except for tearing down your web site completely. So I relaize in using that word, that what I am really doing is deterring really really really well. That said, whatever ive done has worked for me.
My aversion at discussing this (see removed post above) stems from a post some time ago I made on here when i was looking at renaming a file. I posted, asking where I might find a particular reference, explaining that I wanted to rename a file, and why. The answer from one of the more prolific posters here, (name withheld), was basically to not answer me -- instead they pointed me in the direction of a spam plugin. I was to say the least a little put off, as I had clearly stated my intention, and had not asked about using a spam plugin, where to get a spam plugin, etc..
Some people like using plugins, thats fine. Some people chose to do things differently, that should be fine as well.