Fishing with live bait is an effective way of catching fish; especially in areas with very cold water. When the water is cold, the fish can tend to be a little more sluggish, and they will be lured in by live bait quite readily. There are a few considerations with live bait, however, that you might not need to take into account with lures. Making sure that you have the right equipment and the facilities to keep the bait live until you need to fish is essential.
Live Bait Is Not Legal Everywhere
Before you start fishing with live bait, make sure that it is legal to do so in your area, and that the owner of the waters you are fishing is happy with it too. Live bait is not permitted everywhere, so it is vital that you confirm this.
Once you know that you are allowed to use live bait, your next consideration should be the equipment:
If you are fishing in a relatively small watercourse, then you will need a relatively short rod. In most cases, a 3.4m rod will do. If you are fishing in much bigger rivers, then you will want a rod that is 4m or longer, to allow you to cast out further.
Choosing A Reel
When you are fishing with live bait, you should use a small reel with a shallow spool. The spare line that is on the reel is just there to be used while you are playing the fish ready to draw it in. A thicker, more bulky reel with a large spool will just get in the way. This may not be what you are used to, but you will quickly come to find that lighter reels are just more comfortable to use.
Using Weights And Sinkers for Live Bait
You will need two lines. A lot of people make the main line a brightly colored one so that they can keep track of it as the line drifts in the water. The leader, on the other hand, is the line that goes to the bottom of the river and that has the bait on it. This line needs to be transparent. You can use nylon or fluorocarbon that is invisible when in the water. The line should be strong enough to take the fish but fine enough not to be seen.
You will want to attach a sinker to the leader so that it will drop to the bottom. Choosing a good sinker and positioning it appropriately will make your bait drift in a realistic way, which means that the fish are more likely to bite. When fishing in still waters, space the weights out a bit. Put them closer together if there is a strong current. Experiment with different distances depending on the depth of the river.
If you are carrying live bait with you, then you will want to keep it in cold water and have the water well aerated if possible. Live bait can cope with very cold temperatures. In fact, cold temperatures are often better for live bait because they slow the metabolism of the bait so that it uses less oxygen and will be less agitated. Using a pump helps to keep the oxygen levels in the water high enough to keep the bait alive until you are ready to use it. When you have standing water, it will become stagnant and unable to support life rather quickly.
Some people keep their live bait for a couple of days before they use it. The logic here is that in this time period you will be able to weed out the ‘weak’ bait. When you are ready to fish you will use bait that is more likely to attract the nice big fish you are hoping for.
Choose a hook that will hold the bait in place properly and allow the fish to go for it while still ensuring that the fish will get caught on the hook. The last thing you want is for the fish to get the bait but then swim off well fed and happy. Make the bait as attractive as possible while still ensuring the catch.