When most people think of fishing, they think of worms, bobbers, bank fishing, and tranquil evenings with their grandpas at farm ponds. I often see people trying to bass fish with live bait, or cut, preserved bait. Many local retailers, such as Walmart, offer preserved shiners or cut eels in their bass fishing sections, along with the crank baits and spinnerbaits, and many beginner bass fisherman buy them. The question about these baits is: do they work?
The short answer is: Yes and no. Yes, because some live baits, such as live shiners or minnows, work great for bass. In fact, they may be even more effective than soft plastics. No, because, cut bait doesn't attract bass. Bass are attracted to movement, and cut bait doesn't move. It stinks to high heaven though, and that's why is intended for catfish and other fishes that find food through smell. Also, nightcrawlers on a hook don't work for bass for the same reason; they just don't move.
Above: Small stream fishes, when hooked live, work great for bass. To keep them alive and moving, hook them near the air or near the spine.
Live bait works for those days when you just can't seem to catch anything, or when the bass are very cautious. I like to go to my nearest creek and net out 2-3 dozen creek chubs. Chubs work great as live bait, as they are soft finned yet hardy. Bass prefer them over bluegill, which are a bit hard to swallow and have sharp fins. You can also take your ultralight spinning setup with 4lb mono and some worms.
I like to keep my live bait in a large bucket with an aerator to keep them alive. I would recommend using your bait the same day you catch them, unless you have a larger tank. If one fish dies, remove it immediately; otherwise, it will pollute the water and kill the surviving fishes.
Hi. I am Ian, an extremely avid bass fisherman living in Howard County, MD. I like to bank fish and fish at local ponds and small creeks. I will explore budget friendly options for people to use in this blog. I hope I can teach you something.