A painting of a fish about to swallow bait on a hook.

You’re ready to head out on the water for a fruitful day of bait fishing. You have your rods, your lines, and, of course, your snacks. Only one item left on the list: fishing bait. 

When it comes down to how to choose bait for fishing, we find that experimenting can be an exciting way to figure out what works best in your particular body of water. 

That being said, at Smooth Moves we’ve assembled our favorite fishing bait ideas so you sit back, relax, and enjoy a beautiful day on the water. 


Worms are a perfect ‘catch-all’ bait option because they can be used to bring in a variety of fish. Plus, nightcrawlers and leeches are two of the most popular baits out there!

  • Nightcrawlers work best for rock or sand bars and after dark when the temperature of the water is around 65-80 degrees.
  • Leeches are ideal for May through October. Good news: smallmouth bass and walleye both love leeches.
  • Earthworms are an excellent fishing bait, as long as you can keep them alive until you’re ready to use them. Use a cooler to keep them in a dark and cool place. Pro-tip: if you live in a place that allows for a compost, you can grow your own earthworms!


Minnows are a tried and true bait that will catch almost any type of fish and are great for bottom-feeding fish like carp and catfish. They are a great cold-water bait, so use them earlier in the morning when the water is colder or during the chillier months. 

Small Fishes

Fish can be used as either strip, chunk, or whole parts of the fish, depending on what you’re chasing! A good rule of thumb? Match the size of the bait with the size of the fish you’re hunting. Small fish baits include anchovies, herring, and menhaden, which can prove to be pretty successful in catching larger game fish.


Because shrimp can be a primary food source for fish, they’re a great option to put at the end of your line. Try shrimp for saltwater fish including shook, speckled trout, and redfish. If you’re used to using frozen shrimp, give fresh shrimp a go. They’re a bit more expensive but can reap excellent results. 

Where to Get Fishing Bait 

When it comes to acquiring fishing bait, you have two choices: buy it in your local bait shop or set out to capture it yourself. While one is more convenient, the other is more cost effective and can be a lot of fun. 

Smooth Moves Seats Makes Boating Better

Alright, you’re ready to start your next fishing adventure! When you want to spend all day on the water, you want to be comfortable. Smooth Moves boating suspension seats allow you to be on the water for hours without pain to your back, neck, and joints. Get comfortable and get fishing!