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Catch Your own Bait Buddy! Part One

Updated on April 18, 2010


Crayfish are like tiny lobsters...they make great bait and the large ones are great to eat!
Crayfish are like tiny lobsters...they make great bait and the large ones are great to eat!

Freshwater Baits

There is nothing wrong with artificial lures. I have caught a lot of fish on lures and flies. I am just one, who always-preferred natural bait when I could get it. It started for me as kid digging earthworms and hunting for crayfish. I will focus my attention on crayfish, because digging worms or Night-crawlers something most fishermen already have experience with.

These critters are like miniature Lobsters and prevalent in most warm freshwater habitats. I have found them in very small creeks, large rivers, pounds and lakes. They are know by several different names and the large one are considered a delicacy in states like Louisiana were they are known as “mud bugs.”

They are also known as Crawdads in some areas. They can be caught by several methods, one way which is time consuming is to take a ball of kite string and tie washer on one end then tie on a bit of spoiled meat like baloney or any thing else that would stink.

Crayfish will hangout around rocks and other shelters in shallow water. You need to be quite and patent, for it may take awhile for them to find your bait and then grab it with there claws. Once they latch on, they do not want to let go easily. As long as you take your time, you can pull them up and then drop them in your waiting bucket, quickly! When handling crayfish you must be carful and grab them behind the head, so they wont get you with there claws. It can also be handy, to own a small dip net, to make sure they do not fall off before you get them in the bucket!

Another method is to set traps for them. These traps look a lot like miniature lobster pots that commercial fishermen use. You can also use a crab net or “cages” to catch many at the same time. The trick is to use lots of bait so the crayfish get so involved in eating, they do not even notice that they have been caught!

If you are fast and carful, you can find them under loose rocks, then sneak up on them and grab them. Just watch out, or they will grab you! If you use a small dip net, it will make this a little bit easier. The way I like to rig them, is to hook them though the tail so thy stay alive longer. I will use a leader about two feel long, tied to a barrel swivel with a sliding “egg” sinker.

Find a location with a lot of structure, like large boulders, fallen or submerged trees and docks are good options. When fishing this method, I would use a very loose drag, so there would be a lot o slack in the line. Crayfish are great for either small or largemouth Bass and catfish. Also, it is best to fish at night, for this is when crayfish are most active.

Next, I will talk bout frogs. Most smaller frogs are good for largemouth bass. The best way to fish them is lily pads and weeds beds. Fish them right on top of the water with a casting bubble or bobber and a weed-less hook. To keep the frog alive longer, hook it in its rear end. How do catch them? One method I use to catch Bullfrogs is to use brightly colored yarn tied to fishing line on a fishing pole. I then sneak up on a bullfrog that is floating on the serffess of a weed bed. Cast the yarn “lure” close to the frog and then wiggle it. The frog will leap out of the water and pounce on the yarn! It is a lot of fun, but you must be quiet and carful for if the frog sees you the game is over! If you want to use the frog for bait, you will need to find young bullfrogs since adults will be too large for bait. A lot of other type of frogs can be caught by hand or with a dip net.

THEN there are small brim and bluegills that make great bait. The problem is, in some states they consider them “game fish” and are illegal to use as baits. Check the state you are fishing in before you use them.

Now most people who have done fresh water fishing has most likely caught Blue gills, brim or some other form of pan fish in the Sun fish family. All you need is a cane pole, fishing line and small hooks depending on how small of pan fish you plan to catch. If you want to catch Large-mouth bass, you will target fish smaller than the palm of your hand. I like to get them about two inches long.

So for them, I suggest a size ten or maybe even a size twelve hook.

However, if you want large catfish, you can use pan fish up to about eleven inches or so. With fish of this size, I would use a size eight or size six hooks. All you need is small chuck o earthworm or grub of some kind.

The best way to hook your fish is right though the head, especial if you are trying to catch Bass for they will take the bait headfirst to avoid getting pierced by the dorsal fin. Sometimes fishermen will cut off the dorsal fin, so the game fish can take it better.

I use to drift them without any weight when fishing from a boat. I would cast towards a weed bed or other structure, then, let it swim naturally, as I floated slowly along. I will also use a bobber if I wanted to keep my bait on the surface. If I wanted to fish the bottom of a hole for catfish, I would use a sliding plastic sinker. This will help keep the bait from getting snagged on a rock or log.

I will now briefly talk about catching grasshoppers, and other flying insects. Some people will use a butterfly net, yet I always used my hand. Grasshoppers and crickets are great bait for trout and other types of pan fish.

While on the subject of trout, I will tell you about a deadly bait that most people overlook. It is the larva of the mayfly, which you can find under rocks and along creek beds. It very small so you need a size twelve hook You want to use just enough weight to keep it on the bottom of the stream, maybe some small spilt shots. I try to use as little as possible.

A lot of people will be thinking “why go to all that trouble catching your own bait when there are artificial flies and lures that work just as well.” Because for me it is fun, it saves money, and it gets me out in nature. We have become a society that has become removed from the natural world. This a sad thing, and we would benefit greatly if we look at the price are technology has coast. Until next Time, keep your lines tight and your hooks sharp.


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    • myawn profile image

      myawn 6 years ago from Florida

      I caught bait with my dad also. It saves money and is fun to do.I have never used a frog They are kinda ickyI don't like holdin them.I have used crickets and worms.very nice hub! I will read more.

    • doodlebugs profile image

      doodlebugs 6 years ago from Southwest

      I remember many hours as a kid catching bait with my Dad. It was good exercise and a lot of fun too.