There is a huge, often overwhelming selection of baits on the market. A freshwater bait guide will attempt to explain which baits to choose and why. A great way to choose freshwater bait is to do your research and ask the right questions. Here are some examples.
What is your target species?
A common leading format for freshwater bait is grouping baits by species such as bass, pikeperch or trout. While there are some bait crossings, for the most part the best trout baits won’t be the best baits for the bass and vice versa.
Where do you fish
Lake, river or pond? This can affect the size, action, or depth freshwater bait may need to reach. Is it rocky or weedy? This can affect whether your bait has one or more triplets. How much fishing pressure or boat traffic is there on this water? Anglers may need to consider baits that are more of a “finesse” category, such as bait. B. Drop shot rigs.
What are the conditions?
Learning a lot about how to fish freshwater fish is recognizing and adapting to ever-changing water and weather conditions. If the river is cloudy from a recent rain event, the fish’s vision is impaired, so anglers may need baits with more vibration (e.g. spinner bait) or even noise (rattle). If the vegetation is dense, you may need to consider weed-free rigs made from soft plastic or topwater bait. Windy days often seem to activate fish activity near the surface. Quiet, bright days may require a deeper presentation of the bait.
When do you fish
Some freshwater fish lures can work year round, but there seems to be a seasonal shift in lure types. For example, the bite in colder months is more “reaction-related” than in warmer months when fish are actively eating. Jerkbaits with long breaks, lipless crank baits or fluttering spoons can provoke reactions from sluggish, cold fish, but they have to cross almost directly in front of them. However, in the warmer months, many soft plastics will work if they fall to the bottom and not move at all, as the fish are actively looking for prey.
A freshwater bait guide should help explain some of the “why” of bait selection, but much of the bait selection is based on experience. Personal preferences also play a role as many anglers eventually learn that they just enjoy catching fish with a certain type of bait more. When you renew your fishing license, a fishing regulations booklet often includes information about baits or restrictions.