How to Choose Bait for Fishing – Things To Consider

From knowing the type of fish you want to catch to choosing your bait based on weather and temperature, there are very important factors when choosing bait.

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Choosing the right bait can be the difference between a superb day out on the water and going home empty-handed.

Knowing exactly what to put at the end of your fishing line can have a huge impact on the success of your fishing adventure. When looking at how to choose bait, there are so many alternatives to choose from.

And despite this wide variety, they all have one common objective: getting the fish to bite!

As an angler, it’s important to try out with various options to find what works and what doesn’t. This is perhaps one of the main things that make fishing so gratifying.

Choosing the right bait for fishing has never and will never be an exact science. Well, that’s because there are a lot of factors that you should put into consideration when choosing fishing bait. From knowing exactly the type of fish you’re trying to catch to choosing your bait based on the weather and temperature, these are some very important factors that shouldn’t be downplayed. Other factors such as the size and color of the bait are also of great importance.

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To help you out, we’ll offer some tips on how to choose bait for fishing. At the end of this read, you’ll, at least, understand the significance of choosing the right bait for your fishing endeavor.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Bait

Very few things can hold acclaim to being more enjoyable than fishing. And while this is quite true, fishing can be a challenging adventure, especially when it comes to choosing the right bait. This is because there’s no single bait that will work perfectly for all fish species, weather conditions, and situations. But even with that, the importance of choosing the right bait can never be underestimated. Your fishing bait is, without a doubt, one of the main things that make the difference between success and failure.

Your Bait Must be Appealing to Fish

As we noted earlier, the main goal of all fishing baits is to get the fish to bite. It doesn’t matter whether you choose natural or artificial baits (more on that later), you’ll go home empty-handed if the fish doesn’t bite.

When choosing bait, it’s worth remembering that fish are unpredictable creatures. They’re not only finicky and picky, but they are also hard to please and understand. This is why choosing the right bait is important and of course, a never-ending encounter. Remember; what works for you today may not work tomorrow even in similar conditions. That being said, you should try figuring out the best bait whenever you go out on the water.

So How Do You Choose the Right Bait for Fishing?

There are a couple of factors that you must take into consideration if you want to choose the right bait that increases your chances of success while out there.

Identify the Type of Fish you are Looking to Catch

Before you start dealing with the headache of choosing the bait, it’s crucial to choose your fish first. What type of fish are you looking to catch? How big is it? Does it have a small or largemouth? What is its main food source? Is it a bottom feeder or a surface feeder? Is it a predator and does it have teeth? These are some of the questions that you might want to answer if you’re going to choose the right bait.

Your work in choosing the right bait will be a lot easier if you first identify the type of fish you’re looking to catch. You’ll be in a better position to determine whether to go with natural or artificial bait, the size, the color and everything else. The general rule is to always go with baits that mimic the type and size of prey that the fish you’re targeting feed on.

For instance, if you’re targeting largemouth bass, you should do some internet research and discover that they’re carnivorous predators that will only eat animals. This means that there are no vegetables. You’ll also notice that they prefer chasing down their prey before eating them. On the other hand, you should know that other types of fish such as carp, bluefish, and carp are omnivorous and will eat both animals and vegetation.

In this regard, knowing the type of fish you’re targeting and their food will play an integral role when choosing the right bait. All this information is available on the internet, so it shouldn’t be hard to find out.

Choose Your Bait Based on the Weather Conditions and the Surrounding

The weather conditions always have a huge influence on fish behavior and of course, on what they’ll eat or even if they want to eat at all. For example, fish will generally not eat if it’s raining heavily so your bait will count for nothing if you find yourself out there during such times.

Generally speaking, fish tend to eat closer to the water surface when it’s cool, say in the morning or evening. On the contrary, they’ll retrieve to the bottom as the temperature rises. As such, the weather conditions should be central to the type of bait that you choose. When it’s cool, you should go with top-water baits or smaller baits since fish are lethargic. You can then switch to worms and jigs when it’s hot. You can also use larger baits in windy conditions to ensure that you can detect when fish tries to make a hit.

You should also choose your fishing bait based on the surrounding. Is the water dirty? How much vegetation will the bait be exposed to? These are some of the questions to ask when choosing the perfect bait. Fishing in clear water will attract most bites while dirty water may be perfect for brightly-colored baits.

If you’re fishing in vegetation dense water, you may not want to go with a lure that will easily get entangled in the vegetation. Again, go for slow-moving baits if you’re fishing in cold water and fast-moving baits if you’re fishing in warm water.

In essence, choosing your fishing bait based on the surroundings and the situation at hand will increase your chances of catching fish.

Know the Different Types of Baits

There are different types of baits both natural and artificial. They can vary in color, shapes, and sizes, so putting all this into consideration will be of great help. Here are a few tips.

Natural Baits – Most anglers consider natural baits the best given that the fish will naturally be familiar with their appearance and smell. They include crayfish, worms, grasshoppers, eels, crabs, shrimp, crickets, minnows, and leeches. You can, therefore, choose natural baits based on the type of fish you’re looking to catch.

You should, however, keep in mind that it can be a bad idea to transfer natural baits from one place to another as this can be disruptive to the ecosystem and the fish might entirely avoid your bait. So when choosing natural bait, go for something from the area where you’ll be fishing; something that your targeted fish is used to.

Artificial Baits – The idea here is to mimic the look and movements of the natural baits. The best thing about artificial baits is that they’re readily available in fishing stores, require less maintenance, and will last longer, which makes them quite economical. They include jigs, soft plastic lures, spoons, spinners, popper, crankbaits, and flies.

When it comes to choosing artificial baits, here are the three critical factors that you should put into consideration.

  • Color – A good rule of thumb is to select fishing bait that looks exactly like the prey of the fish you’re targeting in terms of color. Again, you can use natural colors of the prey when fishing in clear waters and brightly colored baits when fishing in dirty or muddy waters. The logic here is that the visibility of fish is hindered in dirty waters so brighter baits such as yellow and orange might increase your chances.
  • Shape – This is a crucial factor when choosing bait. As we’ve said a couple of times, the shape of the bait should mimic the prey of your targeted fish.
  • Size – The size of the bait should correspond to the type of fish you’re trying to catch. For instance, you should go with larger bait if you’re targeting bass, striper, and larger catfish. Go with smaller baits if you’re targeting smaller fish with smaller mouths.

Check the Fishing Regulations

Another important factor when choosing bait is to always stay up-to-date with the fishing regulations in your fishing area. This is to ensure that you choose baits that are legal in the area. You don’t want to be out there fishing and risking arrest or heavy fines just because you used illegal baits.


One thing that makes fishing an enjoyable adventure is the challenges that it always presents to anglers. And because there’s no single science to choosing the right bait that will work for all types of fish and conditions, it’s essential to become creative. In short, choosing the right bait is all about making informed choices and presenting to your targeted fish the bait that they’ll most likely bite. It is only then that you’ll stand a chance of walking home with a catch! You should, therefore, consider the type of fish that you’re targeting, their preferred prey, the weather conditions, the type of bait (natural or artificial), and also the fishing regulations.

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