How to Get the World's Best Fishing Baits for Free
By Larry M. Lynch
• Use imitation or artificial baits and lures
• Use hardware such as traps, nets, etc.
One of the most efficient and productive of these three methods is to use live, natural baits. This is especially true if the waters and area you’re fishing are new or unknown to you. These live, natural baits are proven effective when acquired locally. Their price is right since they’re available for free. You “spend” only the time to gather them. Be sure to check local and regional regulations on the use of live baits.
The world’s all-time favorite. You can dig them up from your yard or garden or a wooded area near your fishing grounds. If you’re not that energetic, get some kids to do it for you. They’re available most of the year (winter might be tough), easy to find and gather. Leave the smaller ones. Use the larger earthworms or night crawlers.
A technique I like involves using an old window screen. We used to walk along in the surf of the Chesapeake Bay with a framed meter-square piece of window screen to trap all kinds of small salt water fish, crustaceans, sand worms and even small crabs. It made for an interesting series of “catches” and provided endless hours of simple fun for me and my siblings. Minnows swim in fairly large schools so you can scoop up a bunch of them fairly quickly. Walk a few feet with the screen in the water. Lift it up quickly to scoop up your catch. Then dump it into a bucket. Repeat the procedure as you walk along the beach or shore. Keep them alive and fresh in a bucket partially filled with the same waters you collected them from.
To catch crabs you can use a crab pot or home made traps. Be sure to check local regulations. These can be used in brackish and salt water shallows baited with a chicken wing tip or other bony meat. At a beach fronting a wooded area more than one kind of crab can be caught. I designed a simple “drop in” trap that I set into the sand near the edge of a coconut grove and caught hermit crabs, fiddler crabs and sand crabs. I even got a small snake once, but that’s another story.
Crickets, grasshoppers, beetles and other insects can be caught in a meadow, wooded area or park using a butterfly-type net. Lightning bugs (which flash their tail lights at night) are a good bet too. Crawling insects, grubs, maggots and larvae are good too. They are often found under rocks, fallen logs or other materials which have been on the ground for some time. Again, you could just get a bunch of kids to do it for you if you don’t have the time or need the exercise. Cockroaches make good live bait too if you can stomach using them. Not the small North American varieties that plague households mind you, but the large, three-inch long ones common here in South America and in Asia.
So, look into what live, natural baits are available locally near your favorite fishing grounds. It never hurts to have a variety of presentations for those “dog days” of fishing. Fishing with some new offerings can add an extra dimension to your next fishing trip. Getting them might even be a bit of fun too, especially if you “involve” the kids. On vacation, abroad or simply “away” from your usual fishing haunts, it’ll put more than an extra bit of enticement into your presentations. Good luck.
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