Using Bait Fish for Bass

Using Bait Fish for Bass
There are many different types of baits on the market today for catching bass. Individuals and manufacturers around the world strive to create the best bait for bass in hopes of making untold amounts of money. However, there is one thing which all of these man-made baits have in common, and that is they all attempt to replicate natural bait. From worms and frogs to minnows, artificial baits mimic something found in nature. When fishing for bass, it is hard to surpass the attraction and enticement of live shad or minnows.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Using Bait Fish for Bass

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bass rod, reel and line Terminal tackle, including 3/0 to 5/0 hooks Live shad or minnows Live well with oxygen generator
  • Bass rod, reel and line
  • Terminal tackle, including 3/0 to 5/0 hooks
  • Live shad or minnows
  • Live well with oxygen generator
Step 1
Store live bait in a live well. This is a small container or tank that has a device for introducing large amounts of oxygen into the water. The water used in the well should be near the same temperature as that to which the bait fish will be introduced when fishing to prevent shock.
Step 2
Match the terminal tackle to the live bait. When choosing hooks, attempt to select a hook that most closely matches the size of the bait. For example, a smaller shad or minnow of 2 to 3 inches should be used with a 3/0 hook. Also consider the line, which should be no lighter than 8 to 10 pound test in monofilament. Rod selection is often a personal preference. However, a 7-foot medium heavy rod is a good place to start when making a selection.
Step 3
Hook the bait fish either through the lower jaw and up through the nostril or through both lips. This technique will allow the fish to freely swim in the water, which is the aim for using live bait. There will also be much less danger of injury to the backbone of the bait fish with this method. Injuring or breaking the backbone of the bait will result in death.
Step 4
Cast the bait fish with an underhand or side-arm motion to lessen the impact of the bait on the water. Overhead casts propel the bait higher, which creates more severe impact upon the surface of the water. The impact will most likely either kill the bait, injure it or damage it to the point of being ineffective.
Step 5
Allow the bait to swim naturally in the water. This requires the angler to let the bait sit by avoiding the temptation to reel. When a bass takes the bait, set the hook firmly by reeling the slack line in with the rod tip down. Lift up on the rod tip, which will catch the bass off guard and set the hook. Keep the rod tip up while the fish is reeled in.

Tips & Warnings

Avoid handling the bait fish as much as possible until ready to fish. It is possible to knock off scales from the minnows or shad which greatly reduces the effectiveness of the bait.
Take care when hooking bait fish as it is possible to become hooked in the thumb or finger. The barbs on hooks are honed extremely sharp and will easily penetrate skin.

Article Written By Tara Dooley

Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.

The Latest from the Community

When living in the nearby area, my family and I would often visit Raccoon River Park. The three mile loop is easy,...