Catching Live Bait: All You Need to Know

Studying Time: 7 minutes

When you like catching large fish, you understand that nothing works in addition to utilizing reside bait. The truth is, having a couple of wiggling critters at hand is commonly the distinction between a memorable journey and an empty cooler. The difficulty is, you possibly can’t at all times get your palms on reside bait. Or maybe you simply don’t need to shell out the cash to purchase some. That can assist you out, we made this easy information to catching reside bait by yourself. 

On this information, we’ll cowl the place and how you can catch reside bait, in addition to how you can hold it alive for so long as attainable. When you’ve learn this information, you’ll have the ability to catch your individual reside bait, in addition to maximize your hook-up fee. Let’s dive in!

The place to seek out reside bait?

Clearly, the place you’ll catch your bait will depend upon which bait fish you’re after. Nonetheless, there are a couple of guidelines of thumb you possibly can observe. 


Bait fish are skittish, and can typically hold to sheltered areas or underwater construction. Jetties, pylons, shallow reefs or wrecks: these are all good locations to start out your search.


After all, not all bait fish reside in shallow water. When you’re out within the open, one surefire signal that bait is shut is the presence of birds. Birds can spot a faculty of fish from a whole lot of yards away. Consider them as your pure fishfinder. When you see commotion on the water floor or birds swooping in, that normally implies that your bait is close to.


If all else fails, you possibly can at all times make bait fish come to you. How do you do that? By chumming the water, after all. Chumming is a tried and examined tactic for locating bait fish. All you want to know is how you can make a beautiful chum combination. The most effective mixtures embrace a “meaty” part like maggots, shrimp, or pinfish, a scent enhancer like fish oil, and a binder like oats, breadcrumbs, or sand.

A typical chum ball combination

Phrase of Mouth

Final however not least, the quickest strategy to discover reside bait is by merely asking. Subsequent time you need to catch bait, swing by the native deal with store and ask for pointers. Most of the time, you’ll save your self numerous effort and time.

How one can Catch Dwell Bait

You’ve discovered your reside bait, nice. Now all you’ve bought to do is catch it. Relying on what you’re after, there are a number of methods in which you’ll be able to catch reside bait. We’ll clarify each beneath.

Utilizing a Sabiki Rig

Sabiki rigs are extremely efficient bait-catching contraptions. For these of you who don’t know, a Sabiki rig is a setup of 6 to 10 small hooks tied to a single line, with a weight on the top. This rig can get you something from threadfin herring and minnows to pinfish and grunts.

Sabiki rigs are available in a wide range of completely different designs, every made for a unique sort of bait fish. Listed below are a couple of primary ideas for utilizing a sabiki to catch reside bait:

  • Bait up. Small slivers of shrimp will do the job. In case your Sabiki already got here with flies, use these.
  • Use a lightweight rod. You’re catching small fish right here, so that you need to really feel each peck and nibble.
  • Use a sinker. This can make your line go straight down, and in addition forestall it from tangling. Relying on the kind of line, you’ll want 1 or 2 oz.
  • Imitate the fish. When you’ve deployed your rig, use gentle jigging motions to mimic pure motion. Experiment with completely different depths till you discover your candy spot.
  • Don’t reel on the primary chew. Sabikis have a number of hooks for a motive. Permit a couple of seconds for them to do their work.
  • Have a de-hooker prepared. A de-hooker considerably cuts the time you want to deal with your bait fish. This not solely will increase the bait’s probabilities of survival, but in addition retains their protecting slime, and lessens your individual odor on the fish.


Utilizing forged nets is a extremely popular reside bait catching approach, and for quite a few causes. Primary, you need to use them nearly anyplace. Quantity two, you possibly can catch an amazing quantity of bait fish without delay. And quantity three, utilizing a forged internet is affordable.

A forged internet might be your greatest pal if you understand which one to make use of. Listed below are a couple of tricks to get you began. 

Measurement issues. When you’re catching bigger bait, you’ll want a bigger internet, and vice versa. Typically talking, internet sizes vary between 3–10 ft in diameter.

Get the appropriate mesh. A denser internet will hold smaller fish inside the web, however it would additionally weigh extra, and thus be more durable to throw. Mesh sizes vary between 3/16 of an inch and 1 inch.

Final however not least, you want to select the appropriate weights. As a rule of thumb, heavier weights will sink your internet sooner, and catch extra fish. However, they are going to be more durable to throw correctly, so it’s essential that you just discover a good center floor.

Internet measurement, mesh measurement, weights, what does this actually imply? Nicely, for baits 2–3 inches lengthy, a 5′ and 1/4″ mesh will do high quality generally. Nets like this one can get you loads of smaller bait fish like sardines. For a 9″ mullet, alternatively, you’ll want one thing like an 8’1″ mesh internet. 

This isn’t actual science, after all. You continue to have to contemplate issues like water depth, currents, your power, and different components. Most of all, you want to attempt, and fail, after which attempt once more. Nothing beats expertise, and that rings true for forged netting, similar as for every other bait catching tactic.


Trapping is probably the best strategy to catch bait fish. There are a variety of the way you possibly can entice bait fish, however for the sake of simplicity, we’ll persist with this one, easy-to-do technique. To arrange this bait entice, you’ll want a 1 gallon water bottle, a rope, a knife, some frozen bait, and a stone. Right here’s what you want to do:

  • Utilizing your knife, make two perpendicular cuts (a cross) in the midst of your water bottle. The 2 cuts ought to kind 4 triangles, with ideas going through the identical method. 
  • Push the triangles down into the bottle, in order that they kind a funnel. 
  • Tie your rope via the bottle. Make holes within the bottle if vital. 
  • Place your frozen bait and your stone contained in the bottle. 
  • Throw your bottle into the water, and wait. 

Relying in your timing and site, it’s best to have a bait fish or two in your bottle inside minutes. When you’re trapping in shallow waters, you possibly can prod the underside to stir the waterbed and appeal to bait fish earlier than you lay your bottle down.

Preserving Your Bait Alive

You bought your reside bait on board, good work! However don’t put your victory hat on simply but. All the hassle you made will imply little in case your bait dies earlier than your first forged. Preserving your bait alive and kicking is essential if you wish to have a beautiful providing. Listed below are a couple of methods to maintain your bait fish swimming.

When you’re fishing on a high quality fishing boat, likelihood is that you just’ll have a bait nicely onboard. In that case, fortunate you. No matter whether or not you might have a bait nicely or a bucket, there are a number of issues it’s essential to do to maintain your bait fish swimming.

Get Some Air

Fish want oxygen to outlive, and as soon as they deplete all of it, they’ll die. For that reason, you want to hold a gentle circulation of oxygen coming into your nicely or bucket. To do that, you want to get your self an aerator. 

An aerator is a small pump that’s used to power air down into the water the place the bait fish are swimming. As soon as the aerator forces the air down, among the air bubbles out, however the remaining dissolves within the water, thus turning into obtainable for fish to “breathe.”

Maintain it Cool

Fish have a tendency to enliven when the waters are hotter. You’d assume that warming the bait nicely can be a good suggestion, however that’s not the case. Bait fish deplete extra oxygen when the water is hotter, and die sooner as a consequence.

To maximise your bait’s survival time, you need to hold your bait water barely cooler than the temperature of the water you’re fishing in. Placing a frozen water bottle on the underside of your bait container is a straightforward and efficient method to do that. Alternatively, you possibly can simply chuck a couple of cubes of ice once in a while. Don’t overdo it, nevertheless. Stunning your bait with a drastic temperature change is sure to kill them.

Maintain it Flowing

When you’re planning an extended outing, you would possibly need to change your bait water a few times throughout your journey. This can make it possible for any toxins that construct up within the tank are thrown away for clear water. Identical as with the temperature, you don’t need to change issues an excessive amount of. As a substitute, change round half of the water you might have on every go-around.

Catch ‘Em All

Fishing with reside bait is by far the best strategy to catch fish. Simply ask 90% of the IGFA All-Sort out file holders. Utilizing the tips we confirmed you at this time, you’ll not solely have a great deal of enjoyable, you’ll have a full cooler to brag about, too.

So there you might have it. Now that you understand the ins and outs of catching reside bait, nothing stands in the best way of your angling journey.

Now let’s hear it from you. Is there something about catching reside bait that we forgot to say? What’s your favourite bait catching approach? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

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