How to Identify Fishing Bait

How to Identify Fishing BaitThe type of bait you choose to fish with can make the difference between going home with a bucket full of fish and going home empty-handed. While a variety of types of fishing bait can be used to catch fish, you'll want to find out which species of fish best respond to each type of bait. In other words, you don't want to fish with minnows if you're after trout because trout favor salmon eggs.


Difficulty: Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Live feeder bait
  • Live bait
  • Minnows
  • Prepared bait
  • Artificial bait
Step 1
Understand the different types of live bait that can be used to catch fish. Earthworms and insects such as flies, mealworms and crickets are examples of live feeder bait. A second type of live bait includes small fish such as shad and crayfish. Use live feeder bait when fishing for perch and sunfish. Use live bait when fishing for carp.
Step 2
Identify different types of minnows. Chub, golden shiner, fathead minnows and bluntnose minnows are small fish and also fit within the live bait category. Northern pike and bass respond to chub, whereas bass, crappie, panfish and walleye respond to fathead minnows. Use golden shiner if you're fishing for northern pike and bass. Switch to bluntnose minnows if bass, crappie and walleye are what you're after.
Step 3
Understand prepared bait. Bait that must undergo a preparation or cooking process include bread balls, cheese balls, cereal balls and hot dogs. Use bread balls and hot dogs as bait when fishing for catfish. Cheese balls and cereal balls are the best choice for carp.
Step 4
Identify artificial bait. Spoons are made up of staggered metal blades attached to a hook. Jigs are made up of lead and are attached to a hook. Spinner baits are attached to a lure and surrounded by blades that circle around a shaft. Use spoons when fishing for bluegill and bowfish. Small jigs are best for crappie, perch and sunfish, whereas spinnerbaits will attract crappie, pickerel and bass.

Tips & Warnings

Switch out fishing bait easily with a swivel and/or leader. Attach with a fishing knot.
Don't use salmon or trout as bait. These fish can spread a type of parasite known as whirling disease.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.