3 key characteristics of the best live bass bait

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Andy Whitcomb

“Bass fishing” refers primarily to trout, small mouth, and to a lesser extent the spotted bass. Each of these species are missing teeth, but live bass baits can be almost any prey that can fit in that relatively large mouth and be swallowed whole.

Consider these three characteristics when choosing the best live bait for the bass:

1. Size of the bait

There seems to be an optimal bait size for the bass. It’s almost like the bass is quickly doing a rudimentary cost-benefit analysis while feeding. A predator may not want to waste energy on bait that is too small and evasive, or too big and difficult to catch. To some extent, you’ll also want to customize the hatch for the best live bait for bass fishing. Be careful on the water and try to determine what size bait the fish are feeding on. Timing can also play a role in bait size. In the fall, the bait size tends to be larger as the bass prepares for winter. In winter, a small bait can be enough to catch sluggish bass.

2. Castability of the bait

Once you have determined the correct size for live bait, remember that fish will not be caught if the bait comes off the hook during casting. Using the correct live bait will help with just enough weight to get the bait to the target area. Throwing live bait is more of a broad, gentle sweeping motion than a quick overhead snap with a bait.

3. Action of the bait

Pay attention to the hook size and hook placement for the best methods of upgrading live bait for bass. The hook should be just big enough to provide a good set of hooks but not interfere with the bait effect. Consider thinner wire hooks if conditions allow, especially for subtle finesse techniques like night crawlers or grasshoppers. Shiners, hanging behind the dorsal fin, swim upwards. You should hook a shiner near the nose, however, to keep it facing forward in the stream or during slow retrieval.

Consider circular hooks with live bait to increase the catch and release success rate when fishing bass. When you get your fishing license, get a copy of the state fishing regulations and carefully follow them. For example, in Pennsylvania, an unsupervised minnow trap must have some form of owner identification and phone number on it. As you learn how to fish, keep in mind that there are also strict rules about transporting bait or using bait that can be threatened or invasive. So do your homework for times when bait won’t hit, as live baits will work consistently for bass.

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fishery research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and in the US state of Michigan.