Worms, and more specifically nightcrawlers, are a great live bait option for largemouth. (photo credit: Farm and Dairy)
The imitation of worms make up a huge sect of the artificial lure market, so going right to the original source can be beneficial. Specifically, nightcrawlers are great for largemouth due to the size and scent.
To enhance the look, you may need to use a Texas rig or some sort of jig setup. This will get the worm down in the water column quickly and into the strike zone.
The most interesting of the four is the peacock bass. These are only found in Hawaii, South Florida, and the Amazon River. So, the fishing opportunities are a bit limited for most people. However, if you can target peacock bass, here are the best live bait options.
As with many other subspecies of bass, peacock bass will eat minnows (as well as other native small fish). Due to the availability of minnows at most bait shops, these can be a great live bait option as well.
Musky fishing is one of the most challenging forms of freshwater fishing there is. Musky are apex predators with a very low-density population in most cases.
Musky (“muskie”, or “muskellunge” as they are also referred to) are more likely to follow your lure to the boat, inspecting it instead of attempting to eat it.
Musky can be difficult to catch, but if you put in the time following some basic tips, you can increase your chances of a big payoff!
There are times when a musky angler could spend days without contacting a musky and possibly weeks between catching them. But, using certain tips and tactics coupled with experience gained on the water, you can drastically increase your catch rates of this elusive predator.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important tactics to catch muskies.
Find the Food, Find the Fish
You cant catch a musky if you aren’t throwing your lures in areas where muskies are present.
Being a good musky angler means that you have great knowledge of the locations and habits of all other species such as panfish, walleyes, pike, and others.
Locating the panfish (like bluegill) is a great way to determine where muskies might be feeding. (photo credit: Ohio DNR)
You need to know the patterns and movements of prey species to best determine where muskies might be.
A good way to determine where a musky food source might be congregating is to pay attention to panfish anglers. Because panfish anglers will often congregate in areas where panfish are in abundance, this can be a good areas to consider locating musky as well that might be feeding on panfish like crappie, perch and bluegill.
Using the visible clue of other anglers, you can also then see what structure is in that immediate area on your GPS/sonar unit or map, and start probing the deep water while respecting the space of the other fishermen in the area.
It’s important to cover a large amount of area on the water to find actively hunting and feeding muskies, but it is also important to find the small precise locations commonly used by a musky to ambush prey.
While a weed line that ends with a steep drop-off is perfect musky hunting grounds, on many lakes they can be hundreds of yards if not miles long.
Within these long drop-offs or weed lines, there will be spots that consistently hold muskies, and these spots may be several yards in size down to the size of a vehicle.
Musky fishing often requires an angler to cover large amounts of area on the water to locate fish that are actively feeding. How to efficiently do this is key…
Points, inside and outside corners, sections of the drop-off that are significantly steeper than the rest of the drop-off; these spots will hold musky on a regular basis, because they are perfect ambush points for large predatory fish.
Once you find several of these small precise locations on the overall spot, you can skip fishing countless yards of structure and focus on fishing them with pinpoint precision and purpose.
Other key spots can be mid-lake structure such as humps, ridges, spines, saddles, or even areas in the open water basin.
When it comes to tips for musky fishing, it’s hard to think of a number that’s more important than the number 8…
Lack of figure-8 discipline is probably responsible for more lost fish for beginning anglers than anything else.
You need to focus on doing a proper figure-8 at the end of every single cast. Even if the water clarity is incredibly high and you don’t see a musky following your lure, you should still do it every time.
Muskies can follow far below and behind the bait, and you might not see them, or they could have followed up on a previous cast and are lurking beneath the boat, watching your lures approach again and again. Many seasoned musky anglers will attest to catching a musky boat side on a figure-8 while having zero clues that the fish was ever there.
When you do attempt to figure-8 a musky that is following your lure, you should do it with large sweeping “curves,” and when the bait crosses the center of the invisible 8 you should plunge it deeper in the water, and bring it near the surface on the outside of the curves while increasing your speed.
Don’t get stuck on one particular lure presentation. Mix things up for those finicky muskies. (photo credit muskyshop.com)
Some anglers will fish a bucktail all day and nothing else, even when they are getting little to no action on that type of lure. Don’t fall into the “one lure rut” because it’s a lure you favor, or because it has caught fish in the past.
Switch lures on occasion and chooses the best ones for the situation and spot you are fishing.
The musky fishing community, while it has grown substantially over the last decade, is still incredibly small compared to other species-specific fishing like bass fishing, much of the reason for this is the challenge it represents and the time and dedication involved to catch a single fish.
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for time on the water pursuing these predators, so just get out there and fish!
One of the best species out there that can bring an incredible fight, and even a tasty meal, is the catfish. Although often overlooked by the bass fishing space and others, catfishing can be super fun and create lifelong memories.
We will be breaking down the best baits for catfish. So, whether you are a new angler, or just want to learn more about catfish presentations, this is for you.
Knowing what the best options are will put you in a spot for success. Here are the best baits for catfish!
Night crawlers and worms are affordable and easy to find, making them a great live bait for catfish.(photo credit: DMF Bait)
When it comes to catfish bait, it doesn’t get any more traditional than worms and nightcrawlers. These baits can be super effective in many circumstances.
The first reason why nightcrawlers are a great option for catfishing is that they are easily accessible. Nightcrawlers can be bought at any bait shop and can also often be found at many gas stations that are near fishing locations.
You can even dig them up in the backyard if you want.
If it stinks to you, chances are, catfish will love it… which is exactly the case with stink bait. (photo credit: Smokey’s Listing)
Catfish find food with their sense of smell. So, when you use something like stink bait, there is a good chance that you can get hooked up with a trophy. Stink bait is usually man-made and can be bought in a bait shop or made yourself.
The key attribute to stink bait is the smell, as the name implies. It is infused with natural scents that will grab a catfish’s attention. Although it is not an enjoyable smell to humans, it does a really good job in the water.
Stink bait is pretty affordable and reliable. And, because you can just go pick some up at the store, the convenience is there. If you want to get creative and save money in the long run, you can learn to make your own at home.
Bluegill can be a great live bait option for catching catfish, as long as it’s legal to use them in your area. Be sure to check your local fish and game regulations. (photo credit: Ohio DNR)
Although live bait is not a preferable catfishing method in many cases as it is with bass, bluegill can and do get eaten by catfish. Especially with blue cats and large channel cats, they will eat bluegill, as long as it is affixed the correct way.
In some areas, hanging trotlines is legal and very popular. Trotlines are fixtures of rope or line that have hooks and bait on them. So, it is a way to passively fish.
Where it is legal, bluegill are fantastic bait options as they will still be alive and can be a good snack for a hungry catfish.
If you cannot use trotlines, bluegill can still be a good option. The key is to either hook them through the mouth or right behind the back fin to let them move around in a natural way. This keeps the presentation as real as it gets.
Whether live or frozen, shad can be used for bait to catch catfish. (photo credit: Game and Fish Magazine)
Shad and minnows are two baits that can bring some huge bites. Whether they be alive or frozen, shad can be an especially interesting bait. Especially with big catfish in big water bodies, shad can be a majority of that fish’s diet. The key to using shad is targeting an area where they are found naturally.
If you can find an area where shad are naturally swimming around, this is an obvious choice for bait. If you want a more lively approach, you may be able to buy live shad. But, if buying live shad is not an option, you can buy packaged or frozen shad at bait shops.
All of the above bait options can yield some great results on the water. So, you should really take your selection seriously. This means “matching the hatch” and doing research about specific waterways. (by “matching the hatch”. we mean using baits that resemble what the fish in the area are already naturally feeding on), When you can zero in on baits that are native to the fish’s body of water and time of year, the bites will increase.
A popular way to catch catfish is sitting out all night and trying your luck. If you are going to play the waiting game and fish for longer periods of time, you should bring extra bait. The more bait the better. The thing you want is to get into a mess of fish and not have enough bait to keep catching them! Better to bring too much than too little.
Unlike other freshwater fishing, casting and being active with the approach is not always the best way to fish for catfish. Try casting your rig and waiting for a bite to happen rather than constantly moving around and recasting. The more patient you can be, the better. This increases the chances of you catching a monster.