While some fishermen opt to use live bait to try to catch their limit of fish, others choose to use artificial baits. There is certainly no shortage of either one. Live baits come in an array of forms, as do the artificial ones, allowing anglers a selection so vast that it is sometimes hard for them to settle on one. In the end, the baits that have provided the greatest success in past fishing trips will typically have preference over others.
In a freshwater scenario, virtually anything small that winds up in the water will be edible for some type of fish. This means that creatures such as leeches, night crawlers, earthworms, grubs, grasshoppers, crickets and crayfish can be used for bait. Baitfish such as chubs, smelt, minnows shiners, and suckers are employed in lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Ice fishermen, in particular, will bait their tip-ups with shiners of different lengths. Of all these baits, the night crawlers has the most universal appeal to fish; they get bites from crappies to carp.
Plastic creature baits closely resemble the real thing and are fished using a number of methods. Plastic worms can be Texas-rigged or Carolina-rigged and fished in heavy weeds and near underwater structure that hold fish. Plastic tube baits, artificial crayfish and frogs, plastic mice and plastic lizards all have their following among anglers. Minnows made of flexible materials are also employed. All of these plastic creature baits can be scented with an aroma to make them even harder for fish to resist.
Spoons are a lightweight metal fishing bait shaped like the bowl of a spoon and rigged with a treble hook. Spoons are designed to resemble darting baitfish as they are reeled in by an angler. Crankbaits have an exaggerated lip that makes the lure dive under water to desired depths. Spinnerbaits have a "skirt" made of plastic, vinyl or some other material that masks a hook, much like a safety pin, on one end of the shaft and blades, which spin through the water, on the other. Buzzbaits are surface lures that have a churning effect on the water as they are reeled in, attracting the attention of a fish. Surface plugs are made of substances, like wood or plastic, that float. This type of bait is brought in with slow, jerking movements to make a fish think it is some sort of swimming creature.