Choosing bait is a key component of a successful fishing experience. There are some anglers that will go with the old staples and do okay other anglers are very specific in their bait choices.
Freshwater fish can be picky. To catch the right fish you need the right bait. We asked around and did some research to come up with some of the better options.
In some cases the old standbys are the best choices in other cases you can really be upping your game by making some different choices.
Understanding the Fish
One of the keys to choosing the right bait is understanding your fish. Fish are not exceptionally smart but they do have a strong sense of smell (at least that is what the fish experts say).
You can easily “fool” a fish with the right lure movements but you cannot fool their sense of smell. Fish move about purely by instinct, they are attracted by anything that is moving in the water, noise (like splashing) and anything that is a little shiny (like scales shiny).
They will nibble before they bite and the goal is to get them to really take a bite and get hooked. The right bait/lure will ensure that you do not spend the day getting nibbles and not any bites.
The experts seem to think that fish are not exceptionally smart but if you have been fishing for any length of time you know that they can be smart enough to avoid your hook.
Understanding the fish species habits can help you to decide what type of bait is best. For example catfish and carp love the smell of chicken livers, but you will not get a bass to come within 10 yards of it.
For some fish you have to keep the bait way down in the water (carp and catfish) for others you have to just skim the water.
Natural Bait VS Plastic or Premanufactured Bait
Should you go with natural bait or plastic bait? That is the oldest argument in the book when it comes to fishing. Some anglers just prefer to fish with crickets, minnows and other feeder fish, while others like to lure fish,again your results largely depends on the species of fish you are fishing for.
You can buy premade “dough ball” bait which is basically a concoction of stuff that fish like that comes in a package. It is easy to use.
Before you get started be sure that the bait you plan to use is actually legal. There are some areas that put limitations on which types of bait you can use to fish. It is always best to check the rules first before you head out.
Let us clear up something before we move forward. A lot of people think that “bait” refers to natural bait and it is often used in that term and that Lures apply only to the plastic types of bait.
The difference is actually that natural bait does not have to be worked the way that lures have to be worked but they are both bait used to catch fish.
Natural Bait – natural bait can be cut bait (cut from a larger piece of fish), insects like grasshoppers, worms, grubs or other small insects. Natural bait can also be crayfish, freshwater clams and mussels, leeches or small feeder fish like minnows.
The beauty of using natural bait is that you do not have to work it the way you have to work a lure. You also do not have to add any attractant to it.
Lures – lures come in a full range of styles, colors and options. For example Lot 5pcs 9g 7cm Fishing Topwater Floating Popper Poper Lure Hooks Bait Crankbait are made to look exactly like feeder fish to attract other fish.
The real difference when you are fishing with natural bait as opposed to lure fishing is that you do not have to pay for natural bait if you are willing to dig it up on your own.
Lure fishing requires that you purchase the lures and if you lose a few along the way it can get expensive especially when it comes to the higher priced lures.
Ultimately you can fish with either and have a great deal of success.
We like these baits:
For trout and other freshwater fish – Berkley Powerbait Extra Scent Glitter Trout Bait – we like this because it is moldable and easy to use. It floats and has extra scent to really bring the fish running your way.
Sometimes digging up your own bait is not really an option so buying a premade pack of bait is a lot easier.
We like these Lures:
6 Fishing Hard Spinner Lure Spinnerbait Pike Bass 18g/0.63oz T11 – these are great spinners that are well made and will attract plenty of attention from the fish.
We also like fast drop jigs because they can be very enticing to the fish, they move fast enough that the fish if hungry enough has to make a quick decision about whether they want to take the risk to eat or not.
Frankly there are hundreds and hundreds of lures you can choose from. Look for lures that have tails and that mimic the fish species normal dinner.
Should You Use an Attractant?
A lot of anglers talk about attractant as if it is some taboo addition to your fishing arsenal but if it works, it works. Most of the people we talked to are on the fence about whether it has really helped them or not but for a couple of bucks you could try it and see if you get the results that you hope to get.
We tried Best Fishing Bait. Liquid Mayhem Fish Attractant Crawfish Scent 2 oz. Made with Real crawfish and Infused with Powerful Bite Stimulants and amino acids. Fish Strike Harder and Hold Onto Baits Longer and we liked it.
We used it with the FishingSir Silicon Lizards Simulation Insect Soft Plastic Fishing Lures Worm Creatures Baits 4″ – Pack of 6 and we could not keep the fish off the hook!
One of the best things about fishing is that it is fun no matter whether you experience a big bucketful of fish or you have to leave empty handed.
Try out different baits and lures until you find the ones that work best for your favourite fishing spot.