Followers of the 1976's most popular movie, Jaws may remember the scene where two fishermen went to a dock and one of them threw his wife's Sunday roast into the water as bait.
Has anyone really tried using a Sunday roast as bait? Possibly, but most likely the roast was uncooked.
But that's today's topic, the variety of bait used to catch fish. After all, unless they got lucky and happen to snag a fish, has anyone ever caught a fish on a bare hook?
So what are some of the most popular bait forms for fishermen?
Probably the good old-fashioned worm is the most popular bait anywhere. Either redworms or nightcrawlers are craved by fishermen as the ideal bait for panfish.
Worms are popular because all fish seem to love them, they are pretty much free if you have a garden, and even if you buy them, they are dirt cheap, you can pull them apart into several pieces and they will still retain their wiggly motion, and worms have a natural scent that seems to attract fish.
Some people even purchase worm blowers that puff air into the worm and help your worm or nightcrawler float from the bottom, which larger fish find really attractive.
An attractive alternative to worms is to use leeches, which larger game fish like walleyes really seem to love.
Pike, bass, stripers, crappies, catfish, walleyes, white bass, rock bass, trout are particularly fond of minnows. Crappie, Perch, Trout, and Walleye seem to be particularly attracted to smaller minnows.
Sunfish, Bluegills, Crappies, and Trout seem to favor insects, which you won't find at most bait shops, but can readily pick up grasshoppers at your local pet store.
Another very popular bait, particularly for bass and catfish is to use live frogs. The action of live frogs really attracts game fish, and you can hook the frog either in the leg or through the mouth.
For a great video of Frog Fishing, consider turning your browser to This YouTube video.
Do you prefer lures instead? Gotcha. Popular sports magazine Field and Stream named the top 5 lures of all time as the:
- Curly Tail Grub
A fantastic lure to use to catch bass
- The Daredevele Spinnie
Perhaps the most recognized lure in the world, every beginning fisherman has tried the Daredevil at one time or another, perfect for pike, bass, and larger trout.
- The Rapala
Pike, trout, bass, and walleye all love the three hooked bait of this imitation minnow.
- The Mepps Aglia trout spinner
Among trout fisherman, this is considered a secret weapon.
- The Johnson Silver Minnow
Perfect for driving those bass hiding in the weeds nuts.
Field and Stream actually listed 45 more, and you can find the whole list Here.
When it comes to saltwater fishing, the king of baits are shrimp.
Live or slightly dead, shrimp are native to saltwater, and their aroma and vivid action really attract saltwater fish.
They can get a little expensive as bigger fish as well as small to medium-sized fish will definitely hit at a fish attached to a shrimp, but you can hardly find a better bait out there particularly if you are fishing from shore.
Redfish and snapper just love those shrimp.
For catching bigger fish such as grouper, clams, crabs, and mussels are popular favorites as bait.
Cut Bait, essentially cutting up baitfish or smaller fish has a distinctly strong aroma, which is often the key to attracting saltwater fish. This is the perfect bait to catch sea bass, mahi-mahi, or bluefish.
Whether you are fishing offshore, onshore, or surf fishing, try cut bait.
Bait Fish, particularly Eels, ballyhoo, and pilchard are used to catch saltwater fish, both because of their scent as well as their strong movement in the water.
Keep in mind that some fish will only eat live bait, so be sure if you are out on a boat or fishing from shore, be sure to keep your bait fish fresh in a styrofoam cooler.
Besides baitfish, a very common bait used for charter cruises is sea worms. Cod, flounder, fluke, striped bass, halibut, and mackerel all seem to be attracted to sea worms. Sea worms can be used whole or cut into pieces, and they are available at practically every coastal bait shop.
Octopus and squid are another popular saltwater bait. Amberjacks, sea bass, croakers, and bluefish all seem to be attracted to both squid and octopus. They can be cut up in chunks or strips or smaller ones can be used whole as bait.
If you don't prefer to use live bait for your saltwater fishing, some fishermen do well with spinnerbaits, which work equally well in both freshwater and saltwater.
Redfish, flounder, sea trout, and snook often will take a bit at a spinner.
For bigger fish such as marlin, you need bigger bait. blue marlin, blackfin tuna, bonito, and skipjack are often necessary to catch that monster fish.
However, if you are after swordfish, then consider squid. Open up any swordfish and you will find tons of squid.
For catching tuna, threadfin herring, pogies, blue runners, and mullet are generally the preferred bait.
Finally, if you are out to catch sharks, the most popular bait is Bonita as they have a high oil and blood content which sharks tend to love. Alternatives are ladyfish, mullet, bluefish, or king mackerel.
Regardless of what kind of fish you are going after, and what kind of bait you are using, fishing is much more fun if you find fish.
That's where a Hawkeye Fish Finder comes in handy. Whether winter or summer, whether using an innertube float, a bass boat, or kayak, a Hawkeye fish finder can help you find where the fish are hiding.
Once you've located where the fish are, then that's the time to use your knowledge of the best baits, either live or with a lure to catch them.
Happy fishing, and remember, if you are fishing for "Jaws" you'll probably do better with a Bonita than your wife's Sunday Roast.