What Bait Should I Use?

There is a variety of things these days that will catch fish and it all depends on what it is that you’re fishing for. Some people have their favourite lure that seems to catch fish all the time, but truth be told there is no one lure or bait that is best. It all depends on a variety of factors such as what fish you want to catch, the water temp, the clarity of the water, how hungry the fish are, etc etc.

1. Worms

This is the classic bait for pulling in the pan fish all day long and occasionally the big one. If you fish on a worm usually you are a beginner or just out to fish for fun with constant action all day long. Worms can be very productive in all types of water, all times of day, and for a variety of fish. Depending on what lake you’re fishing you can expect to pull in pan fish such as rocky bass, sunfish and perch. However, I’ve also caught largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, and one of my buddies even caught a pike on a worm to our surprise.

Tip: Keep the box of worms in a cool place. When transporting them keep them in a cooler if possible and when out fishing place them in some shade as direct sunlight will tend to dry them out and kill them, and believe me dead worms can really really stink.

2. Minnows

In terms of use, a minnow is often used exactly the same way as a worm is. You just place it on a hook, through its nostril, and cast it out using a bobber. The action of the minnow on the hook entices the fish to bite. Usually a minnow will yield you a larger fish such as a nice largemouth bass, pike, or walleye, but don’t be surprised if you pull in a rocky bass or two on a small minnow.

You can usually get minnows from a bait shop or you can catch your own using a minnow trap. I will guide you through setting up a minnow trap and the variety of ways you can hook a minnow in this article (minnow 101). You will also want to have a minnow bucket to keep the minnows in water. These traps can be purchased everywhere that they sell fishing equipment.

Tip: Minnows are often caught in streams or shallow water from a variety of lakes. As a result of this, the minnows you buy can be from a completely different lake then the one you are fishing. It is suggested by the Ministry of Natural Resources that if you have left over minnows at days end you shouldn’t just dump them in the lake as they could become an invasive species. Hopefully though you won’t have this problem as the fish love to eat minnows and if they’re biting hard then you’ll quickly run through all your minnows.

3. Lures

Now as I mentioned in my previous articles there is a variety of lures you can use whether you’re shore fishing or on a boat. Lures offer you the advantage of not having to store live bait and they will usually yield you larger fish as they are meant to represent smaller baitfish, frogs, insect, and even mice, the things that the big boys like to eat.

There are a variety of lures you can use from crank baits, twitch baits, top water lures, all the soft plastic baits, spinner baits, swim baits, and spoons. I will cover each of these baits and how and where to fish them in articles to follow. In most tournaments the pros can only use artificial means to catch fish, live bait is not allowed, and as you will see if you check out pictures from the internet on tournament fish, lures can be an extremely productive way of landing big fish.

4. Leeches

I have never been a big fan of leeches simply because I found that small pan fish will go for leeches just as aggressively as they will for a worm and they can be more expensive than worms. You can try using leeches as an alternative to worms and see if they work better for you. These are not always available at bait shops so you may have to look around to find them.

Tip: When attaching a leech to your hook, let them grab onto your nail with their sucker, I usually used by thumb nail. This way they won’t start sucking your blood like a vampire and you’ll be able to attach them to your hook no problem.

5. Bread-balls

Bread balls are used mainly for catching vegetarian fish, that’s right not all fish are meat-eaters. They can be very productive when catching carp which can tend to grow quite large and be a great fighting fish. I tend to use bread-balls with the exactly same set up as I do for worms. Simply put a nugget of the bread ball on your hook and you’re good to go.

To make bread balls is very easy. Simply take a potato and nuke it (microwave) for 5 minutes, or until it is soft in the middle when you poke with a knife. Once it cools cut it open and scoop out the middle flesh of the potato. Take that flesh and mix it with a slice or two of bread, Wonder-bread works great for this. Start mashing it together with your hands until you form a sort of doug. If need be you may want to add some water to the mix to get the dough like consistency. You can rip little chunks of the dough, place it on your hook, and you’re good to go.

6. Other bait

If you’re squeamish of worms or minnows you can use a cut up hotdog to catch pan fish. Small chunks on your hook will entice the fish, as hot dogs usually are jam packed with goodness and vitamins that can stink a lot and entice the fish to bite.

Another alternative to the bread-balls for the veggie fish is corn. You can attach kernels onto your hook and wait for the action. This has worked for me in the past but I always found that live bait or lures are the way to go.