BAITING THE HOOK AND OTHER BASICS

Baiting your first hook may be uncomfortable, but once you have done this a few times, it will become easier. When fishing, it is important to make sure your bait will not only attract fish, but is secure enough on the hook that the
fish cannot take it off and get away. Below you will learn the fundamentals offishing. These include:

• Types of bait
• How to buy bait
• How to bait a hook
• How to cast
• Storing fish after they have been caught
While there are many skills you can learn in addition to other styles of fishing, you should learn the basics of fresh water and salt water fishing.

TYPES OF BAIT

The type of bait you use will depend on the types of fish you want to catch and if you are fishing in salt water or fresh water. Common bait includes:

• Earth worms
• Types of larvae
• Centipedes
• Beetles
• Artificial bait (rubbery plastic)

If you are unsure about the types of bait to use, you should ask when visiting the bait and tackle shop. Regional bait may also be available for certain types of fish.

Many times, live bait is used in both fresh water fishing and salt water fishing. Conducting a little research will help you choose the right bait for your fishing trip.

HOW TO BUY BAIT

While most fish and tackle shops carry fresh, live bait, you need to be careful when buying it. Always look to see the color of the bait. If the bait appears dry or discolored, then it may be too old to use. Worms should be flesh colored and not gray or blue. Other types of bait should look healthy.

The movement of the bait is also a factor to consider when buying bait. Bait that is moving will attract more fish. Bait that is dead or dying will not move around as much. Only buy live bait if it is live.

Bait shops also sell frozen bait. While this bait is similar to live bait, it is not longer alive. Frozen bait is better for salt water fishing because you will be using weights and other items to attract fish. Frozen bait does not smell as bad and may be easier to get on the hook if you have issues baiting a hook with live bait.

Only buy enough bait for that day. While you can always freeze bait at home, most people want to fish using the freshest bait possible.

You may find bait machines outside some bait and tackle shops, gas stations, and convenience stores. Be aware that these machines are not always cared for the way they should be which could result in bad bait.

HOW TO BAIT A HOOK

Baiting a hook is not as hard as people may think. After you buy your bait (live or frozen) and you get to your destination, follow these instructions on baiting your hook:

  • Use a small knife to cut your bait into small pieces. Worms will regenerate when cut and will essentially become two when cut.
  • After cutting up your bait and attaching a hook to your fishing line, insert the hook through the piece of bait longways (through the body). This will help keep the bait on the hook even when fish are pulling at it.

If you bait your hook by pushing it through the bait in a horizontal manner, the bait will more than likely fall off or be eaten by a fish.

After baiting your hook, cover remaining bait. This will keep it from drying out.

Bait should last until a fish is caught. Even after you unhook the fish, the bait may still be attached. Use the bait for as long as you have it.

HOW TO CAST

Casting will take some getting used to if you have never used a fishing pole before. When casting, the most important thing to remember is to keep your fishing line taut. This will allow you to know when a fish is biting and caught on the line, and will help you reel it in quickly. While you don’t want the line
to snap, there should be very little slack.

When casting, pull your pole back and watch out for others, snap the pole and release the line into the water. This may take a few tries, but once you learn how to control your fishing pole, it will become easier. Adjust your line using the reel.

This type of casting is different from fly fishing. While some people will argue it is easier to cast a fly than use a pole, the concept is similar and requires practice.

STORING FISH AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN CAUGHT

You have three options after catching your fish:
• Throw them back into the water
• Put them in a water filled bucket
• Put them on a nylon line and let them swim on a tether
If you are not planning on eating the fish you catch, or the fish are too small, you should throw them back into the water. Removing the fish from the hook requires you to grab the head of the fish and angle the hook out. Be careful when doing this with catfish and other fish that have sharp pierces on their
faces.
If you are planning on eating the fish, you will want to keep them alive until you get home so they are fresh. Filling a bucket with water and storing fish in it while you continue fishing is one way to keep them alive. Make sure your bucket:
• Big enough to hold fish that are at least a foot long
• Can hold more than four fish at a time
• Has a lid to keep fish inside
• Has a handle that is easy to carry
• Does not contain any holes or cracks
• Can be tied down when on a boat

Buckets are inexpensive and easy to find at most grocery stores and home improvement stores.

Another option is a nylon cord that has a spike on the end of it. After catching your fish, run the cord in through their mouth and out through their gills. Put the spike into the ground near the waters edge and let the fish swim in the water. The cord will keep the fish attached and the water will keep
them alive.

This option only works for those who are fishing on land or who have a designated spot when on a boat in the water. If you are planning moving around a lot, then this option may not be the right one for you.

After bringing the fish home, they will need to be scaled and filleted in order to be cooked. Preparing a fish dinner from the fish you caught is a rewarding experience that you and your family will appreciate.