Which types of bait should you be using for the fish you're trying to catch? Read this fishing bait guide to find out!
Wondering what the best fishing bait is? Then you need this fishing bait guide.
If you think earthworms will cut it every single time, you won't always catch much. Every type of fish is different, with a slightly different diet. This means that you'll need to switch up your bait depending on what you're after.
The world of bait can be confusing, but in our fishing bait guide, we'll break it down. Choosing the right bait will have a major impact on what you catch, so read this fishing bait guide before your next fishing trip!
FISHING WITH ARTIFICIAL BAIT
You don't need live bait for every fishing venture. In fact, there are many different kinds of effective artificial bait you can choose from.
Some people like artificial bait or lures because they tend to be less messy. Lures also reduce the chances that the fish will get "gut hooked" - this is when they swallow the hook deeply or completely.
Lures tend to be more expensive than live bait, and are more likely to get caught in underwater debris. But for some kinds of fish, they're your best bet. Here's our fishing bait guide to the most common types of artificial bait.
Jigs are a versatile way to attract the attention of many kinds of fish. Almost any game fish out there will respond to a jig, and jigs are also a particularly inexpensive kind of lure.
These lures have weighted heads, and are adorned with hair, feathers, plastic grubs, or other things that will catch a fish's eye. One of the main challenges of jigs is that you have to keep them moving to catch the fish - if you let them sit there, they'll just sink.
For a much easier lure experience, you'll want to try spinners. These lures are ideal for beginner fishers because they're super easy to use.
Spinners typically use a metal shaft with a blade that spins around to look appealing to fish. The hook is covered or uncovered depending on the type of spinner you get.
To get the blades to spin, all you need to do is pull this kind of lure through the water. The vibrations and sound it makes will be noticed by fish, so this is a great choice if you're fishing in dirty or murky water where visual lures are less effective.
This common type of lure is made of curved metal, hence the name. In fact, the very first "spoon" lures were actually just spoons with the handles removed.
Now, spoon lures are made in all types of sizes and colors, depending on what the fishing conditions are. Spoons wobble from side to side when they move through the water, so to fish, they look like injured prey.
4. PLASTIC BAITS
One more type of lure that you'll use a lot is plastic versions of live bait. If you go bass fishing, you'll more than likely be using plastic bait.
These lures are made using molded plastic with metallic flakes, dye, or even scents added to make them more attractive to fish. Some of these baits look like real creatures, such as plastic worms, while others don't mimic any kind of live bait at all.
Plugs are made to look like frogs, baitfish, and other larger prey. This type of artificial bait is made out of hollow wood or plastic, with a couple of hooks attached.
Some plugs are designed to dive, while others are made to float, so you can use them at just about any depth of water. Different types of plugs will gurgle, rattle, or wobble to best mimic prey.
If you go flyfishing, then you'll definitely get familiar with this kind of bait. These lightweight artificial lures mimic insects and are made to float on top of the water.
Although flyfishing can be challenging, once you get the hang of it you'll love this highly interactive kind of fishing.
FISHING WITH LIVE BAIT
The live fishing bait guide is a little different from the artificial one. Live bait has been used in fishing for centuries, but needs a slightly different approach than artificial bait.
Fish often bite harder when you fish with live bait, and are more likely to circle back if they miss it the first time. However, live bait can be difficult to get, doesn't last that long, and can only be used once. Let's look at some of the most popular live baits to choose from.
Worms are the quintessential fishing bait for a reason. Many species of fish will bite when you use worms, and they aren't expensive or hard to find. Both small and large fish tend to go after this kind of bait.
Depending on the size of the fish you want, you might use the whole worm or just parts of it. One problem you'll likely run into is that the worms tend to fall off the hook. Bring plenty and prepare to replace them often.
If the water has a strong current, or the fish keep getting the worm without getting hooked, try fishing with leeches instead. They stay on the hook better, although fish don't strike for them as often.
Minnows are another one of the most popular kinds of live bait, because they work well for most any fish. You can get minnows of all different sizes and shapes, and you can either buy them or use a minnow trap to catch them yourself.
Going ice fishing? Minnows are the ideal bait for this extreme type of fishing, so plan accordingly.
This isn't a very common type of bait, but bass fish love crickets, as do a few species of crappie and panfish.
HOW TO USE THIS FISHING BAIT GUIDE
Before you go fishing, learn about what baits work best for the type of fish you're after, or choose a versatile bait like worms or jigs. If you don't get many bites, try a different kind of bait on your next visit to the same location.
This fishing bait guide will help you have more success on all your fishing trips. Want to up the chances of a catch even more? Check out our selection of fish finders