As all bass anglers know, crayfish are some of most favorite foods of bass (and many other fish too!), both largemouth and smallmouth. In fact, they are the most favorite food of smallmouth bass. Their shells and pinches do not seem to deter hunting bass - in fact, it seems to entice them more. Crayfish are found just about anywhere there is a population of bass, and are sometimes the staple prey item in the diets of some bass populations. Crayfish are a normal food item for bass, and fishing a crayfish is a surefire way to land a decent fish.
Above: You can catch crayfish in creeks and ponds with homemade traps or by net.
Bass anglers often fish imitations of crayfish - soft plastic lures and jigs, hopping the baits along rocky bottoms to imitate fleeing crayfish. While that method does produce, nothing quite beats fishing a real, live crayfish. Plastic can't exactly copy the living texture and feel of a live crayfish, and shaking your rod can't beat that erratic, fleeing motion. Simply hook the crayfish in the tail with a bait holder hook (the size depends on the size of the crayfish you
If you are a beginner bass angler, struggling to catch his first fish, then live-lining a crayfish or live shiner is your best bet towards catching a first bass. The natural movement and texture of those live baits will negate any problems you have with presenting artificial lures. Catching a first bass is a great confidence booster that will send you onto your journey of being an expert bass fisherman.
Acquiring live crayfish is quite easy. Simply go to your local creek or pond with a net, or you can use traps. You can buy crayfish traps online and at sporting goods stores, but you can also make traps out of chicken wire or plastic bottles. Here are the instructions for one that I use. For bait, I like to use bits of stale meat or cut up bluegill (the crayfish especially love the scent of the blood and guts), but any meat you have on hand can work.
You can also go to a local Asian market and buy crayfish. The ones sold in stores are massive, larger than the ones you catch. A pound is usually $3-4. If you live down South, where crayfish is more commonly consumed, then the price is usually cheaper. If you buy live crayfish at a store, make sure to only buy the most lively and feisty ones. The crayfish endure a lot of stress during shipping, and the more lethargic ones may be half dead.
To store crayfish, simply put them in a bucket with an aerator. Don't crowd them too much, or otherwise they may fight or dirty the water too much. You can also store them in a fridge, wrapped between sheets of wet paper towels. They don't need water to breathe, but their gills must be kept moist.
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.