Photo credit: USFWS Midwest Region
with live bait is a very popular and effective way to catch many species of fish. Some fishermen won’t use anything but live bait.
Your local bait shop will usually carry night crawlers/earthworms, red wigglers, maggots, crayfish, minnows, leeches, crickets and more depending on where you live and which baits work in your area.
If you want to save money
and have fun at the same time, you can also collect your own live bait.
Earthworms and night crawlers
These little guys like damp ground. After heavy rains, go out in your cabin yard at night with a flashlight and you will find them writhing on the ground. You can also dig for them in your garden
area or under rocks and logs.
One other unique way to gather worms is called “Fiddlin’.” Take a wooden stake and drive it in the ground. Then rub the blade of an old, dull handsaw back and forth on the end of the stake. The vibrations will drive the worms right out of the ground.
For crickets, lay out a piece of cardboard in your cabin yard. The following morning, lift up the cardboard and catch the crickets. You can also hollow out a loaf of white bread, sprinkle a little sugar inside and leave it outside all night. The next day, just shake out all the crickets into a container.
Crayfish can be caught in wire traps baited with chicken necks or bacon.
Simple enough, minnow traps baited with bread will catch these little guys. You can also use nets to seine for them.
During the summer, a team of two can catch grasshoppers by taking an old wool blanket, holding it at each end and runnding through a field. Grasshopper legs stick to wool, so you can just pick them off and place them in a container.
Tips for fishing with live bait:
- Always make sure you use what the fish naturally feed on in the water you are fishing. Since that can vary by species, time of year, water temperature, depth and many other factors, you need to do your homework. Seek out advice from other fishermen, fishery biologists, and bait shop owners.
- Using line that’s too heavy or a hook that is too big can restrict a bait’s natural movement. Live baits that don’t move much won’t attract many fish. Change baits often so you are always using the liveliest bait possible.
Larry Whiteley hosts the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Radio Show.