Bass aren’t to particular when it comes to their diet, so there are a wide variety of baits you can use. The benefit of using live bait is, you just can’t beat or match the presentation of a live bait. The scent is also hard to mimic.
The trick to using live bait is, using it in the freest and most unhampered way possible. This means a minimum use of sinkers and bobbers, none at all if you can get away with it. You will want to use light tackle. I like to use a medium action rod, with a spinning reel, wound with 8-10 pound mono test. For your hooks, you should never use anything bigger than a #8 or #10 sized hook; and use a fine wire hook, it will keep your bait alive longer. If you need some extra weight, try a split-shot. If you have to use a bobber, try a small sliding, thumb sized cork with a matchstick to fit in the core.
The technique for live bait is different then fishing with artificial baits. Lets say your fishing with crayfish. So you hook the crayfish in the tail and cast him out there. Then you let him swim to the bottom. As the crayfish is walking along the bottom, a bass comes along and takes your crayfish. As soon as this happens, flip open your bail and let the bass take your bait, the bass suspects nothing because he can’t feel any drag. Then he stops to swallow the crayfish, this is when you close the bail, reel in the slack and set the hook.
Another great way to fish with live bait is back-trolling. When in reverse, the motor pulls the boat rather than pushes it. So you can go slower which is what you want to do when fishing with live bait. When you throw your bait out there and start trolling, flip your bail and hold your line with your finger.