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The Best Bait for Bass Fishing Success

Let’s discus the best bass bait to use for your next fishing trip so you can catch more fish.

Fishing for bass can be a struggle for some people. There are so many things to consider while you go fishing. Where should you go, what time should you go fishing, what rod to use for bass, and what bait to use.

bass eating a minnow bait

Bass can be picky with what they want to eat and when they make their move to grab it. With a little time and research, you can decide which bait will work best for you and your bass fishing style.


Best Live Baits for Catching Bass

If you want to catch bass, live bait is the best option. Bass are traditionally seen as opportunistic feeders. Even though they are curious about any bait they see that they can fit in their mouths, they do have their preferences about what they want will bite.

These are the Best Bait for Largemouth Bass:

  1. Golden Shiners
  2. Shads
  3. Night Crawlers
  4. Bluegill
  5. Crayfish
  6. Frogs
  7. Minnow Bait
  8. Leeches



Golden Shiners

golden shiner

This live bait is the best to use if you are trying to catch largemouth bass. Bass find them irresistible. They are a good size and they are very shiny which catches the attention of the bass who see them. The most trophy bass have been caught using golden shiners. Since this live bait works so well, they can be on the expensive side if you buy them at a local bait shop.



shad roach minnow

Shads are probably the second best bait for largemouth bass because they are larger in size and shine in the water. They are similar to golden shiners so they also grab the attention of bass. They can be used in any situation, whether you want to keep them in shallow water or dive straight to the deep end, this bait will work.


Night Crawlers (Worms)

nightcrawler worms

Night crawlers, also known as live fishing worms, have a special place when it comes to bass feeding habits. Bass also have a preference about worms, this is why plastic worms are popular. The only thing better than plastic worms are the real thing. Bass cannot get enough of them. When using worms you must be precise with where you cast them. Night crawlers have a better success rate if you use them near solid structures like the shore line, fallen trees, rocks, etc. This bait is also cheap and can be found at any bait shop.




This works so well for largemouth bass because they are natural prey in the wild. Bluegill are easy to catch so they make perfect bait for bass. They are best used near vegetation to lure bass to them. Since bluegill are natural prey, it is important to use them in places that would appear natural to the bass so they actually go for the bait.




Crayfish aka Crawfish depending on where you live, are one of the best baits to use for bass fishing.  Resembling a tiny freshwater lobster, these crustaceans are abundant in bass waters and on the dinner menu. 

To find some live crayfish just turn over some underwater rocks in the river or lake and you’ll probably find one hiding underneath.  Hook it through the tail and cast out to where the bass might be hiding.



pond frog

Nothing excites a bass more than a frog swimming from the lilypads across open water.  Ever cast a frog lure into the pads and the water explodes from a big bass crushing the surface?  Well, if you are up for it, try using a live frog if you can catch one.


Minnow Bait

minnows in a creek

Minnows are small fish that are commonly used as bait. There are over 250 species of minnows in North America. Since minnows tend to be great bait, people think all species work. Sadly that is not true for all of them depending on the fish you are trying to catch. Out of all the types of minnows, the best ones for smallmouth bass are fatheads and shiners.

Fathead minnows are the most popular and universal baitfish that are used. They typically reach 2 or 3 inches in length. Their size makes them ideal for many different types of fish, especially smallmouth bass. Shiners are also good for smallmouth bass. They can range from 2 ½ or 4 inches. The smaller shiners are ideal for smallmouth bass because the shine they have grabs their attention of the bass.



leech in pond water

Another good bait for smallmouth bass are leeches. Use the medium sized leeches for the smallmouth bass, it will be easier for them to eat. If the leech is too large, it will discourage smallmouth bass from trying to go after them. Hook the leech right behind the suction cup and cast it into the water. Cast the line near wood or rocks. The leech will sense them and try to swim to them for safety. The motion of the leech swimming will become very enticing to the bass watching them.


Other Common Bait for Bass

There are plenty of types of bait to catch largemouth bass with. They are opportunistic predators. The only thing that limits what they will eat is how wide the can open their mouths. As long as the bait is small enough for them to eat, bass will investigate the bait and try to bite.

Smallmouth Bass Bait

Smallmouth bass tend to be less picky when it comes to bait. You can use plastic bait and lures to see results or you can use live bait. If you want to pick live bait, then you need to know the difference between what they will feed on compared to largemouth bass. Smallmouth bass are drawn to smaller bait. These are some of the best live baits to use to catch them.

Best Freshwater Bait for Bass

When fishing in freshwater, it is important to bring multiple types of bait. By having many options to cast, you will have a better chance at catching more bass. Mottled sculpins, white suckers, gizzard shads, leopard frogs, and crickets also work very well in freshwater. Some of these might be more difficult to grab the attention of bass, but they are always worth the chance.