Using Live Bait For Bass

If you want to catch big bass, one of the best baits on the planet is live bait. Live bait catches a lot of bass and in this article I’ll provide some tips to make you more successful when using live bait for bass fishing. The most common live bait for bass is bait fish such as minnows, shad, and even small sunfish. Some others would include live crayfish, mud puppies, and leeches. Whatever live bait you choose to use, these simple tips will make that bait more effective.

Before getting down to the tips themselves I think it’s important to point out that when using this type of bait, you’re bait should be a lively as possible. If your live bait is the least bit “dead” or “dying” it will be much less effective. The bottom line is that when using bait that’s alive for bass you always want the bait to be as “alive” as possible.

Keep the below tips in mind the next time you use this type of bait for bass (or any other fish for that matter).

Your Line Weight – When using live bait you want the focus to be on the bait, so your line needs to be as light as possible. The lighter your line, the less visible it will be top the bass, which means the bass is more likely to eat your offering. Not using fishing line that’s too heavy is very important when using live bait for bass. Remember, the pound test of your line is the amount of dead weight that line will hold without breaking.
The Smell Of Your Bait – Your bait should smell like it does naturally. When we handle our bait any scents that are on our hands will transfer to the bait. This is why you always want to make sure that your hands are free from any unnatural scents like smoke or gasoline. This can be accomplished by quickly washing your hands with odor neutralizing soap.
The Size Of Your Hooks – A common misconception is that the larger the hook, the bigger the fish you can catch. This is a complete fallacy. You want to match your hooks to the bait that’s being used. For example if you are using a small sunfish as bait, a #4 or 6 circle hook hooked below the dorsal fin should be fine. If you are using a “normal” sized minnow or shiner at set of #10 or #8 gang-hooks, hooking the baitfish through the lips should suffice. The size of your hooks makes a difference when using live bait for bass.

Although these tips might seem over simplistic, they are nonetheless true. Using bait that’s alive for bass is extremely effective and remembering and using these simple tips will make you that much more successful. Remember, in fishing (just like in life) many times the simplest things are the most effective.

Trevor Kugler is co-founder of 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.