How to Collect Fishing Bait

How to Collect Fishing BaitTo catch fish an angler requires some sort of bait. While artificial lures such as spoons and spinnerbaits work under the right conditions, many anglers lean towards live bait, believing they have a chance at a wider range of species when using it. Bait and tackle shops as well as chain stores and some convenience stores sell live bait, but the fisherman can save a few dollars and even get the family involved by collecting his own live bait.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • 34 oz. plastic coffee container
  • flashlight
Step 1
Catch your own night crawlers. Few types of bait catch a larger array of fish than these worms. Use a flashlight and a coffee container to capture as many as you can. Venture outside onto the front lawn when night arrives on a moist night with the temperature over 50 degrees F. Assume a stooped-over position as you slowly walk. Shine the light on the ground and you will see a slight reflection of the beam from the slimy night crawlers.
Step 2
Avert the light from the night crawlers once you spot them. These photosensitive creatures will quickly go back down into the ground if you keep a light on them. Once you spot a night crawler, bend over and grab it. Pull it up from its hole, keeping constant pressure on the worm until it relents and you can put it in your container. On a warm drizzly night, you can catch dozens of these worms.
Step 3
Search in the water you fish in for fishing bait. Different kinds of fish focus on various water creatures as a source of food, with minnows and crayfish at the top of this list. You can catch minnows with a small mesh net by scooping them up in bunches. Make this a family activity. Go to the nearest stream, brook, farm pond or shallow river and wade along the shore, watching for minnows.
Step 4
Scoop a crayfish up from behind. Crayfish will flee a potential threat by moving rapidly backwards through the water and are typically too elusive for a net. Place your coffee container in the water behind one and use your other hand to get its attention. As the small crustacean retreats, you can bring the container through the water underneath it, catching it before it realizes what is happening. Make sure to avoid the pincers, which are small but able to get your attention. Again, this is something the whole family might enjoy.
Step 5
Investigate the nearest fields and woodlands for insects and their larvae. Grasshoppers, crickets and the larvae of beetles are proven fishing bait. You should have little trouble finding them in a meadow or in the woods. Grasshoppers and crickets will jump in the grass as you move through a field, giving their location away. Catch them with a quick grab and carefully place them in a container. Rotten stumps, logs and standing dead trees are a haven for beetle larvae, which you can simply pick up after breaking apart the wood around them.
Step 6
Catch smaller fish to use as bait for bigger fish. Pike, muskellunge, bass and many of the larger catfish species in the United States chase and consume fish as large as pumpkinseeds and bluegills. Catch these fish using night crawlers and then cut them up into pieces and bait your hook with them. The smaller ones you can hook through the back or mouth and use as bait.

Tips & Warnings

The same coffee container you put night crawlers in as you catch them makes a great unit to keep them in. Adding leaves, grass or potting soil and storing them in the refrigerator.

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