Bait Fish – Check out these helpful tips on using small fish for bait
The art of fishing smaller fish for bait is not much of a secret, but you should learn which bait fish work best and how to use them for different game fish. Minnows are probably the most popular and widely used type of live bait around the world for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Freshwater anglers use minnows to catch small 6-inch freshwater fish, such as bluegill or yellow perch, up to large sturgeon. Saltwater anglers use bait fish to catch marlin, sailfish, and Spanish mackerel, just to name a few. Most saltwater predatory fish can be caught using a combination of some type of small fish. Most freshwater anglers use smaller fish as live bait, but these baits can also be cut into pieces called cut bait. This is a very good fishing method for multiple subspecies of the catfish. Many saltwater anglers also use live bait fish, but using bait fish as cut bait is very common and preferred by many saltwater anglers.
Many of the larger predatory game fish feed primarily on smaller game fish, for example bluegill or yellow perch, or even small fish within their own species. As game fish grow to trophy size, their diet becomes almost 100 percent smaller game fish. The reason we mention this is because you can use this information to your advantage. You should make your bait selection based on the size of the game fish you want to catch. Most game fish will look for baits that are close to the size of the baitfish they normally eat in their natural food chain. One thing we should mention is checking with your local state or providence department of natural resources to see if it is legal to use fishing fish such as bluegill, sunfish, or yellow perch as live bait. In some states and provinces it is not legal. Another factor when selecting your bait is liveliness and stamina. You are probably wondering why this makes a difference, but this is a very important factor because most game fish, especially predatory ones, will not attack dead baits.
Typically the following small fish are very hardy as live bait and will stay alive for long periods of time. they include fathead minnows, pinkish reds, American eels, and madtoms. The following bait fish are known to be hardy and with a little care they will also last for long periods of time. They include daces, stream chub, redtail chub, stone rollers, white suckers, goldfish, sculptures, bluntnose minnows, and bluegill. All listed resistant bait fish must be kept cool and have fresh air in the bait container. The following list is delicate bait fish and probably a poor choice for live bait unless you catch them and use them intermediately as bait, or have a very good bait tank on your boat that circulates water from the water source. you are fishing in your tank bait. They include common shimmer, golden shimmer, red shimmer, yellow perch, killfish, emerald shimmer, spotted shimmer, ciscos, shad, and smelt.
Hooking baitfish the right way is often overlooked and is probably the main reason many people have lost fish they thought they had hooked. If you are targeting smaller game fish such as Crappie, Bluegill, Yellow Perch and using small fish, there are literally dozens of different hooking methods. As a general rule of thumb, as your baits get bigger, your rigging options get smaller. Also, the body size of your bait can give you different hooking options. For example, a long, slender-bodied baitfish, like a sucker, gives you more hooking options than a deep-bodied baitfish, like a bluegill. Don’t overlook the way you hook your bait, it is a very important part of using bait fish to catch game fish correctly.