Live bait fishing in freshwater is one of my favorite activities and in this article I’ll provide you with a few tips to make you a much more successful live bait angler. What makes me someone that you should take advice form? Well, the biggest thing is that I’ve been fishing with live bait for more than 25 years so I’ve got some experience. Not only that, but I learned much of my original knowledge from a man I’ve always considered to be a bait fishing “master”.
This article is about bait fishing is fresh water for fish such as trout, smallmouth bass, whitefish, walleye, and crappie. My favorite place to fish for many of the above species is in the flowing water of rivers and streams. This type of bait is very effective in rivers and streams, but can also be used in standing water as well. When using this type of bait in still water likes lakes and ponds it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a slip bobber.
Slip bobbers are the only bobber that should ever be used when fishing with live bait, in my opinion. These bobbers allow your line to be reeled in and cast as normal. The depth of the bait below the bobber is controlled with a very small piece of rubber called a bobber stop. Slip bobbers need to be employed when live bait fishing in the still water of lakes and/or ponds.
The two most popular (and effective) baits that can be used in fresh water are the minnow and the worm. Both of these baits are readily available and can be used effectively to catch all of the fish mentioned earlier. Worms are easier to keep alive than minnows and having your bait be as lively as possible is a must for fishing with bait.
Another “must” for the live bait fisherman is to use fishing line that’s as light as possible. When fishing with live bait we want the bait to be the focus of the fish’s attention. The lighter your line, the less visible it will be to the fish. This simple tip will help you be a more successful live bait fisherman. I personally use four pound test monofilament for almost all of my live bait fishing situations and regularly hook and land 2-6 pound fish.
When using live worms as your live bait it’s important to have an effective way to carry your worms with you while fishing, especially if you’re wading in a river or stream. The best live worm carrier that I’ve ever seen is the Bait Bag. This little pouch holds your live worms while you’re fishing and keeps them at your fingertips so that baiting up and re-baiting takes seconds. A Bait bag is a “must have” item when live bait fishing with live worms.
Another great tip that will make you a better bait fisherman is to always use gang hooks to rig your bait. Gang hooks are just a pair of small hooks tied back to back on light line so the focus is on the bait and not the hooks. Gang hooks allow for a very natural presentation of your bait, especially if that bait is a minnow or a live worm. The natural presentation of your bait is of the utmost importance when bait fishing.
Keep these simple fishing tips in mind on your next fishing excursion. They have been helping me be more successful for more than twenty years and I know they will do the same for you.
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.