Baitfishes are an angler's choice for many types of fishing, including ice fishing and presentations on a hook below a bobber, also called a fishing float. Shiners, which range in size from as long as 1 inch to well over 6 inches, are popular baitfish. Minnows stay alive for long periods in a bait bucket and entice fish such as pike, crappie and bass. The much larger sucker is a bait that muskellunge and pike anglers opt for, with some suckers that are sold as bait being as long as 1 foot. The red-tailed chub and the creek chub are not as big as suckers but excel in attracting larger game fish species. Shad are a favorite food of largemouth bass, so it makes sense that anglers will use types like the gizzard shad and the threadfin shad as bait.
Anglers consider worms of different types as classic fishing bait. The larger night crawler that anglers catch by hand at night on lawns and in ball fields outclasses nearly every other bait in terms of the number of species it can catch. Thinner red worms are a downsized version of night crawlers and stand out as panfish bait. Clamworms and bloodworms are two types of worms that live in saltwater that marine fishermen will employ. While leeches technically are not worms, they shine as walleye bait, with the ribbon leech long enough for an angler to attach to a hook.
Other Live Baits
Other creatures commonly wind up as bait for fishing trips. Insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies and beetles make excellent bait under the right circumstances, because nearly all fish devour insects as part of their diet. The larval form of insects--including grubs, waxworms, mealworms and "spikes"--are fine baits, with ice anglers frequently selecting them as bait for panfish. Crayfish in freshwater settings attract bass and trout. In saltwater squid, octopus, eels, crabs and shrimp are on the shortlist of preferred baits.
Bait does not have to be alive and kicking for an angler to consider it viable. Artificial baits created by a multitude of companies work well for many species. These lures include jigging spoons, casting spoons, trolling spoons, surface plugs, buzzbaits, crankbaits, tube baits and vibrating lures. Spinners, such as the in-line spinner and the spinnerbait, are desirable baits for many game fish. Soft and hard plastic lures that imitate worms, frogs, mice, baitfish, crayfish and other things fish crave are widely accepted baits. All of these lures have some type of hook system attached to them, and anglers fish them in a way to make them appear full of life to the fish.