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Choosing the Right Baits

Choosing the Right Baits

Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities that bring people of all ages together. It offers a chance to relax, commune with nature, and bring home a tasty meal. But anyone who has taken part in this fulfilling activity knows that catching fish often comes down to having the right tools at hand. Most important among them is bait, and the type of bait you use makes a major difference in both quality and quantity of your catch. With countless baits for anglers to choose from, making the right selection can be a challenge.

Choosing the Right Baits

Assessing your Environment

The first step to understanding which bait to use is analyzing the environment you’re fishing in. Ask yourself these questions: What type of fish am I hoping to catch? What time of day am I fishing? What type of water am I in? What’s the water temperature? All of these factors can assist in selecting the best type of bait for the conditions.

Live Bait

Live bait refers to worms, grasshoppers, larval worms, frogs, and other live animals used as a fishing bait. They are popular because they offer a great deal of temptation for fish, especially for those species that eat other live creatures. Fish will sense the movement of live bait, the smell of its fluids, and other cues that can translate into a full-blown feeding frenzy. Care must be taken in using live bait, as regulations vary from state to state and even regionally greatly. You don’t want to jeopardize any efforts to protect the environment by using illegal baits.

Artificial Baits

Another popular option for fishermen are artificial baits, or lures. Lures are designed to look and behave like real fish, mimicking the movements of their target species. Moreover, anglers can apply smells, scents, and even tastes to further enhance the lure’s appeal. Increasingly, lures are even made to sound like their live counterparts. Lures are considered more versatile than live bait as they can imitate fish year-round, can be modified for different types of fishing, and won’t expire. They’re also preferred by some anglers because they don’t risk the potential of introducing an alien species into the lake.

Determining the Size

Choose a bait that is the appropriate size for the fish your are after. If you are looking for large fish, such as bass, a larger bait should be used. Smaller bait is more suited for smaller fish such as sunfish. If there is a mix of different sizes of fish, use baits that target medium-sized fish. Small baits may be eaten by larger fish, but they aren’t as visually attractive.

Using Smells and Colors

The best baits work because they look and smell the most natural. Baits that look too bright or unnatural may be mistaken by fish as something odd, and they may steer clear of these baits. For similar reasons, unusual smells may also repel underwater creatures. If fish eating habits are normal at the body of water you are fishing in, you should use baits that look and smell natural to catch the most fish.


If you find yourself completely baffled by all the bait choices, there’s no shame in doing a bit of research. Talk to fellow anglers who know the waters and get their thoughts on which bait and lures to use. Review some of the fishing magazines and websites. Join a local angling club, where members can provide invaluable advice tailored to the area.

Testing it Out

No matter how much research you do, there’s still no guarantee which bait will work in any given environment. Sometimes the best way to know is by trial-and-error. Make sure to try several different types of baits so you have a better chance of finding the right one.

Having the right bait can be the difference between a successful fishing trip and a failed one. It’s important to take the time to assess your environment, research different types of baits, and see what works best. With a little effort and patience, you’re sure to maximize your chances of finding the perfect bait and ultimately staging a successful fishing adventure.

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