POPPERS: Also known as topwater lures and stick baits. They float and appear like fish prey that floats on top of the water, they can create a pop, burbling, or perhaps a buzzing noise.
CRANKBAIT: Also referred to as plugs or minnows. Crankbaits look like fish and swim through the water in odd ways to mimic injured fish due to the bib at the front under the head.
I have personally been catching various species of fish using various forms of bait for more than a quarter of a century and in that time have learned many tips and tricks relating to the types of bait as well as tips and tricks to help me when fishing with bait. When you are new to the world of fishing with bait, getting off on the right foot is of the utmost importance and that is exactly what this simple article will do. Truth be told, the information that I will outline below isn't just for beginners, as even experienced fishermen will probably find a "nugget" or two that will help them to catch more fish as well.
The first thing to consider when it comes to bait fishing is what type of bait are you going to employ amongst three main choices; live, dead, or synthetic. Depending on the species of fish that you are trying to catch, one (or more) of these choices will come into play. For example, many species of catfish will readily bite live, dead, and synthetic baits, whereas rainbow trout can be caught on both live and synthetic baits and will almost always completely ignore the "dead" variety.
Below I will outline some of the aspects of each bait type and some tips and tricks for putting said bait into action on the water the next time that you head out to go fishing.
Dead Bait - Dead bait would include fishing baits such as chicken or beef liver (s), preserved minnows, dead bait fish such as smelt, etc. For the more popular species of freshwater game fish, I have never found these baits to be all that effective, but dead bait nonetheless has it's place when it comes to bait fishing. For example, a chunk of beef live rigged on a circle hook and "still fished" in a river or lake that contains channel catfish, can be an extremely effective bait fishing tactic.
Live Bait - Live baits are very popular and would include baits such as the live worm, live minnows, leeches, frogs, and even crayfish. Some anglers even like to use live insects such as crickets and grasshoppers when fishing with live bait. No matter which type of live bait that you choose to employ when bait fishing the biggest key is that you present that bait in the most natural way possible. In other words, you want your bait to appear to the fish that you are trying to catch just like it would without a fishing hook hidden in it. Various types of rigs are an excellent way to accomplish this task in many cases.
Synthetic Baits - Everyone who is new to the world of fishing needs to be aware of synthetic baits, which are extruded baits that are manufactured with fish attracting scents and extruded in the same shape as live baits. These baits are rigged and fished in much the same way baits that are and in some cases are more effective than their live counterparts. Berkley is a company that is at the forefront of these types of bait and is a company you should look up if you are in search of any synthetic baits.
The bottom line is that if you are going to be bait fishing, you will more than likely be using one of the aforementioned bait choices. Make sure that your hook(s) are as concealed as possible so that the fish that you are attempting to catch won't see the hook(s) and become weary of your offering. The easiest way to accomplish this task is to downsize the size of the fishing hook that you use. Do this and you will experience more success on your next fishing excursion.