Introduction to Fishing Bait and Lures

The United States has been blessed with numerous fishing havens from coast to coast. With thousands of lakes, rivers, and other waterways dotted across the country, fishing can be done nearly anywhere.

Most anglers have learned the trade from their family or friends, but not everyone has been lucky enough to have a mentor to show them the basics of fishing. However, there is good news: learning to fish is not difficult.

Though learning to fish is not difficult, the trade always presents new information to learn and challenges to overcome. Because each fish species has its own preferred baits, lures, and habits, there is not a “one size fits all” fishing technique. Even the most experienced anglers can benefit from learning about new types of tackle, baits, and lures.

If you’re a novice angler, this is a good place to start.

What’s the Easiest Freshwater Fish to Catch?

These freshwater fish are easily found in lakes across the United States, and their numbers don’t typically fluctuate with the weather. This means that these freshwater fish can be caught in nearly any season.

Some of the easiest fish you can catch include:

Largemouth Bass

Bass are the most common prize that many anglers seek out. These fish are found in abundance in most waterways across North America. Their aggressive, predatory behavior makes them prone to biting nearly anything that crosses their path.

Largemouth bass are attracted to the color red, so opt for lures in this hue. However, be wary of using the same lure repeatedly. Bass are smart enough to recognize fishing patterns and won’t bite a lure they have seen multiple times in the same area.

Best Bass Lures:

  • Bass Jigs
  • Plastic Worms
  • Spinnerbaits
  • Crankbaits
  • Topwater Lures

Bluegills

Unlike bass, bluegills aren’t able to recognize fishing patterns. This means that they can be caught with the same lure over and over again. These fish are prone to overpopulation, which makes catching them even easier.

Bluegills can be found all across North America-- their range spans from Canada to Northern Mexico. The ideal habitat for bluegills include quiet streams, ponds, and small lakes.

Live bait works exceptionally well for bluegills. Opt for nightcrawlers if you are looking to catch these fish.

Crappie

Crappies are social fish that tend to school in waterways that offer cover, such as under a fallen tree. Their range spans across the United States.

Crappies love live bait. They are especially fond of minnow fish bait, but nearly anything will catch a crappie’s attention. These are not picky fish.

Best Crappie Lures:

  • Jigs
  • Grubs
  • Spinners

What’s the Easiest Saltwater Fish to Catch?

There are typically seasons for catching saltwater fish. Certain times of year are much easier for anglers to hook these fish. Other times, it’s almost impossible to catch them.

With that being said, some of the easiest saltwater fish to catch include:

Flounder

Flounder have a wide range and are fairly common saltwater fish. Although flounder can be fished throughout the year, many expert anglers recommend fishing for them during the summer since they tend to head toward shallower waters during that time.

Piers, bridges, edges of jetties or most man made structures that provide a current break are ideal places to catch flounder. Yet, many anglers choose to take a boat out to sea in search of these fish.

It is essential to use live bait when fishing for flounder.

Best Bait for Flounders:

  • Shrimp
  • Crabs
  • Smaller flounder
  • Sardines
  • Shad
  • Mullet
  • Mud minnows

Spotted Sea Trout

The spotted sea trout, or speckled trout, is generally very easy to find and catch-- especially along the Atlantic coast in deep channels. These fish do not migrate and are able to tolerate temperatures ranging from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees. However, expert anglers state that the best time to catch these fish is between May and July.

Another pro tip: if you are able to catch a big spotted sea trout in one area, keep fishing that same area. These fish like to congregate in large numbers in small areas.

Spotted sea trout can be caught with both live bait, such as shrimp, and artificial lures. These fish are not particularly picky.

Best Lures for Spotted Sea Trout:

  • Soft Plastic Shrimp
  • Plastic Tail Grub Jigs
  • Soft Plastic Jerk Baits
  • Topwater Plugs
  • Spoons

Advice on Fishing Bait for Beginners

As a novice angler, don’t worry yourself too much about trying to master all of the different types of fish bait. Starting off with nightcrawlers is a great way to get your feet wet in the world of fishing. In fact, many freshwater fish prefer live worms over fancy lures anyway. (It’s rare for a bass, bluegill or crappie to pass up a big, juicy nightcrawler). As you gain experience, you will find what works best for you and which fish prefer your preferred bait.

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