Fishing Bait Guide

Photo provided by My Hunting & Fishing
by Steve Jacobs

Fishing can be relaxing and exciting all at the same time. But you’re not going to catch any fish if you don’t have the right fishing gear, bait, and don’t know how to use it.

You can choose between artificial bait (lures, flies, etc.) and natural bait (minnows, worms, jigs, etc.). The bait you use is largely going to depend on the type of fish that you are going after.

Lures and flies are appealing because you can use them over and over and don’t need to store them in a specific area. Natural bait can be hard to keep fresh and more expensive but fish can be easier to catch with natural bait.

With all bait you need to take size into consideration. You’re not going to use 5lb bait to catch a 10lb fish, it won’t work. The lure and bait should look as close to real prey as possible.

Since there are so many different types of fish, let’s focus on some of the most popular fish and the best bait to use for each species:

Bass- The best bait to use for bass are artificial lures and live bait. Aglia streamers are a good lure to use because they create the lifelike swimming action and vibration of live prey. Frogs, crayfish, minnows, and leeches are good bait to use after a cold front. In very clear water, bass are more apt to bite at live bait.

Trout- Live minnows are a good live bait to use to catch trout. Spinners are popular to use because they look like chub. Spoons are fun to use for beginners and jigs are for the more experienced fisherman. For specific kinds of trout the bait varies. Rainbow trout, for example, is caught with all kinds of flies, spoons, minnows, and insects.

Pike- Pike tend to go after live minnows, flashy spinners, spoons, and plugs. Small to medium sized pike go after bugs, frogs, and each other. Big pike tend to like Walleyes, small hammer- handles, suckers, chub, and whitefish.

Panfish- Grubs and mealworms are an idea for panfish and sunfish. These fish can be fun for kids to fish because they bite often and don’t require a lot of skill to reel in.

Saltwater Fish- Squid is good live bait for amberjack, bluefish, and other types of saltwater fish.

You can always use live bait with a lure so the smell of the bait will be more appealing to the fish. If legal in your state, another good technique to use is chumming, when you throw additional bait into the water that’s unattached to the bait.

Local outdoors shops can be a great resource to find out more about fishing bait, lures and hunting clothing, and outdoors books.


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