There are about as many baits as there are fish. Some fish like to feed from the bottom, some fish take bait from the surface, while still others eat smaller fish, including members of their own species. Fishermen have been noticing this for a long time and have taken advantage of it.
Fish, Worms, Larvae and Others
These natural larvae are inexpensive or indeed free, and they are what the game fish eat anyway. They include maggots, such as the maggot of the bluebottle and the housefly. These maggots can be live, dried and even dyed. Maggot pupae, called casters, are also good for drawing in larger fish, as are caddis fly larvae.
Many fish find different types of worms, including earthworms and brandling worms irresistible. For people who do not know what to do with the slugs they find in their garden, they can use them for bait to catch carp and roach.
Many fish are, to be blunt, cannibalistic. Pike especially will go after just about any other fish that it can handle. Other small fish that are favored by other fish include herring, sardines and sprats. Eel can be cut up, put on the hook and offered. Shrimp is also a good type of bait, especially when they are peeled. Unpeeled shrimp is attractive to salmon.
For people who find handling live bait distasteful, there are many types of bait that are already in most people’s kitchen. They include processed and strong-smelling cheeses, corn, bread cubes, crusts, flakes and balls and canned meat. Some fish love dog and cat food, while others are fond of grains and seeds. Carp pellets can be used in certain areas but not all, so the fisherman should check with the authorities before using them. High protein boilies are made of milk, eggs, proteins and flour. They are fairly tough to bite through, so are good for baiting larger fish.
Chum is a collection of different baits that are placed in swim feeders or even introduced into the water via slingshot. They are not attached to the hook, but draw the fish to the area, and keep them eating until they notice the bait on the hook. The trick with chum is to give the fish just enough food to get them interested but not enough to leave them so sated that they ignore the hook.
These are artificial bait that mimic the natural bait that the fisherman can’t easily catch and hook. Among them are flies that mimic mayflies, caddis flies and nymphs, which are the larvae of mayflies and dragonflies. Other artificial flies mimic water scuds, scuppers, shrimp, sedges, craneflies, black ants, beetles, stoneflies and damselflies. Making these flies is an art form, and some are quite beautiful.