Fishing & Boating Tips

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The Best Live Bait Options for Beginner Fishermen

Fishing is an enjoyable hobby for many people. It gets you outside in the sunshine and on the water, allowing you to take in the fresh air, relax, and have fun. Many avid fishermen take pride in passing this hobby along to a younger generation, often taking their kids or other beginners along and teaching them the ways of the sport.
When just beginning, it’s important to keep things simple, so that the newbie doesn’t become overwhelmed. A simple hook and sinker suspended under a bobber is the best gear for a new angler, as it doesn’t require any advanced skills. You’ll also want to focus on fish species and baits that will allow the beginner to see a lot of action. Otherwise, they may become bored quickly and give up. Panfish and catfish are both great choices for the beginning fisherman, and live bait is the best way to see quick action. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular live bait options. Read on to learn which option is best for your beginner.


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Earthworms: The Go-To Fishing Bait

Earthworms are the most popular bait for freshwater fishing, as they attract many different kinds of fish. You can find earthworms at your nearest bait shop, or you can go on the hunt for your own simply by digging in moist, fertile soil. These baits keep well, provided that you keep them in cool and moist soil. The soil shouldn’t be cold or wet. Many new fishermen catch their first fish with an earthworm.

Nightcrawlers: A Bigger Worm for a Bigger Catch

Nightcrawlers are a larger form of earthworms. Though you can buy nightcrawlers at any bait shop, an added adventure for young fishermen can be finding these guys in your garden or lawn. Rainy nights are the best time to discover them in the soil. Since this bait is larger than the average earthworm, you’ll likely attract larger fish. But if you’re using them to lure panfish or using a smaller hook, you’ll often have to segment the crawlers, which some new anglers may not enjoy.

Make Sure Live Minnows Stay Lively on the Hook

Many beginners mistake minnows for baby fish, but this is not accurate. Minnows are actually just tiny, full-grown fish; however, some can reach up to 12 to 14 inches long and be used to catch large fish like muskies. You’ll want to choose the size of the minnow based on the species you’re after and the method you plan to use, but it’s always important to ensure the minnow stay lively on the hook.

Wax Worms, Mousies, Grubs, and Maggots

Larval worms and grubs make great fishing baits. There are many different kinds to choose from, but most all are lighter in color than earthworms or leeches and are often much smaller, usually measuring only up to one inch. Your choice of larval worms and grubs will vary greatly by region, so it’s always a good idea to ask your local bait shop which one works best in your area.

Leeches: One of the Best Freshwater Baits

Many new fishermen may have an aversion to using leeches as bait for the first time, but they are often one of the best baits to use in freshwater fishing. Ribbon leeches are the ones to choose here, and while they do have suckers than can latch to the skin, they are not the same as the “bloodsucking leeches” many people fear. For best results, the ribbon leeches should be hooked through the middle of the large suction cup.

Artificial Fish Baits Sometimes Work Just as Well

We know we said live baits work best for the beginner, but there are many artificial options out there that can do just as well. Many manufacturers make realistic waxies and soft bait products that can hook you some decent fish. These types of baits often include natural scents and flavors, and some are even designed to look like real bait. These types of products have some advantages over live bait, as they often stay on the hook better and last longer.

Crickets & Grasshoppers: Natural Bait for Freshwater Fish

For many freshwater fish, crickets and grasshoppers are a natural part of their diet, and this is especially true for trout. While you can attempt to catch your own insects to use as fishing bait, this method isn’t very efficient. You’ll save time and get more hours on the water if you purchase them at your local bait store or pet shop. When you pick up the insects, be sure to have them demonstrate the best way to hook the hoppers to keep them lively on the hook.


Pass on Your Knowledge Today

Are you ready to pass on your fishing skills to the next generation? Teaching your hobby to another individual can be a great bonding and learning experience. And at Franzwa’s Marine in Millville, NJ, we have the supplies you’ll need to have a fun day on the water. Stop by today to see our selection of fishing gear and baits and get everything for your next adventure.