One of the most popular and looked down upon forms of fishing is bait fishing. For many years fly fishermen have been turning their collective noses up on the very idea of bait fishing. My point is that bait fishing gets very little love and at the end of the day it can be an extremely effective way to catch fish of all kinds. As a matter of fact I believe that bait fishing (when practiced properly) can be considered every bit the art form that other methods of fishing have been proclaimed to be.
In this article I’m going to provide some great bait fishing tips that can be added to your fishing repertoire and put you on the road to becoming an “artist”. The key factor in any “art form” is practice that is spending time practicing your craft. For this reason, the more time that can be spent on the water fishing with bait, the better.
When it comes to bait fishing the first thing most anglers think of is the worm, but the truth is there are other baits that are also very effective. Baits such as minnows and other baitfish, crayfish, crickets, leeches, and even hellgrammites can all be used while bait fishing. But there is no doubt that the worm is the most readily available and “easy to use” bait for bait fishing.
The first key to fishing with bait is to use fishing line that’s as light as possible. In many instances anglers use fishing line that’s much heavier than they need to use. When bait fishing you want the focus to be on the bait and not your line, which is why using line that’s as light as possible is so important.
The next aspect of fishing with bait that needs to be kept in mind are your hooks. Not only do you want your hooks to be as sharp as possible, you also want them to be in the proper configuration. What do I mean by configuration? Many anglers try to use single hooks in almost all fishing situations and this is a mistake. Having a configuration like gang hooks available, which is a pair of small hooks tied in tandem, when bait fishing is very important. With gang hooks you are presenting your bait in the most natural manner possible.
To be a truly successful live bait angler, especially when fishing with worms, you should have an effective way to carry your worms with you when fishing. What do I mean by an effective way to carry your worms? You want to spend as little time as possible baiting up and re-baiting. An effective bait barrier like a bait bag accomplishes this task. With a bait bag your worms are always “at your fingertips” waiting to be used, which is a huge time saver.
The final tip to keep in mind when bait fishing are the scents on your hands, because the scents on your hands will transfer to whatever bait you are using. You want your bait to smell like it should, which is why making sure that your hands are free of unnatural scents is so important. This can be accomplished by using an odor neutralizing soap or by simply rubbing your hands in a handful of dirt before baiting up.
Although these fishing tips may seem simplistic, they are nonetheless true. Add them to your fishing repertoire and put them into practice sooner rather than later. You will certainly be glad you did, and don’t forget to spend as much time as you can put them into practice .
Trevor Kugler is co-founder of JRWfishing.com and an avid angler. He has more than 25 years experience fishing for all types of fish, and 15 years of business and internet experience. He currently raises his five year old daughter in the heart of trout fishing country.