Types of Bait Fish: What You Should Know

common types of baitfish

Bait fish are typically small species of fish and are used as bait as their name indicates.

Also called baitfish, these are chosen because of their ready availability.

They breed rapidly and bring in the real catch. Let us find out more about various baitfish species.

Common Types of Bait Fish You Should Know

An Overview of Baitfish

At the lower end of the aquatic food chain, bait fish are found in lakes, rivers, ponds, and other water bodies.

They usually feed on algae and other aquatic plants for their survival.

For recreational anglers, there is a wide variety of baitfish available.

It is important to pay attention to the type of baitfish you choose.

Some species might be deemed illegal for use as bait because they play a role in aquatic conservation. For more detailed information, click here.

One may buy live bait fish from neighborhood pet shops.

There are many options of packaged bait as well as bait scents available for use.

These can be used in case live bait is not available.

They are particularly useful for fishing bass in shallow waters.

Healthy baitfish are an indicator of a healthy and balanced aquatic ecosystem.

They help in the conservation of aquatic life.

Do bait fish make it easy to catch fish?

Catching big game fish involves many steps. Having a ready supply of good bait is one of the vital steps.

Bait can be live bait in the form of worms, minnows, clams, or other fish called baitfish.

Alternatively, it could be meat, more specifically luncheon meat that absorbs all flavors really well.

It can also be in the form of lures, which are plastic artificial objects made to look attractive to fish.

Baitfish play a crucial part in netting a big haul.

Knowing exactly which species you wish to catch will guide your choice.

The right bait fish ensures good results for you and gives results worth your money.

Either way, lures or baits are attached to appropriate hook types depending upon the variety and size of fish you are aiming for.

Choosing the right kind of baitfish from bait shops is key to a successful fishing expedition.

Are Forage Fish The Same as Bait Fish?

Essentially serving the same purpose, forage fish is actually a fisheries terminology.

These are found in the wild and are small in size.

Forage fish serve as food for bigger fellows out in the waters. In keeping with their role in fishing, they are also called feeder fish.

Baitfish are those caught alive by humans and then used as bait for catching bigger fish.

However, most baitfish are forage fish and vice versa.

These grow in abundance and breed rapidly to keep up with fishing bait requirements.

They are crucial to maintaining the circle of life and aquatic food chain.

Some Popular Bait Fish Species

There are saltwater baitfish and freshwater baitfish.

Among the many different kinds of bait fish, listed below are some of the most popular ones:

   1) Saltwater Baitfish

  • Pilchards – Most popular baitfish used to catch snappers. They are also good to bring in tuna, mahi-mahi, and tarpon.
  • Ballyhoo – Popular for offshore fishing, they are good for tuna, sailfish, and wahoo.
  • Mullet – Perfect inshore bait, it brings in barracuda, redfish, and tarpon.
  • Bunker Menhaden – Schools of this variety are used to catch striped bass, sea bass, and fluke.
  • Goggle eyes – One of the most expensive baitfish, they are highly effective in fishing mahi-mahi, tuna, and wahoo.
  • Herring – Popular in North Atlantic regions, it is used to catch halibut, salmon, and rockfish.
  • Sardines – Found in big schools, these are used as live bait for marlin, mahi-mahi, dorado, and sharks.

      2) Freshwater Baitfish

  • Fathead Minnow – These are freshwater fish that thrive in temperate waters of North America.These are voracious feeders themselves and are favored by northern pike.
  • Golden Shiner – Found in North America, they can grow up to 5 inches in size. Feeding on zooplankton, algae, and insects, they are food for trout and bass.
  • Creek Chub – A species of minnow, these are found mostly in Canada and the eastern USA.They grow up to 6 inches in size and are food for northern pike and trout.
  • White Suckerfish – These are found extensively on the east coast and Midwest regions of the USA.They are food for predators like trout, large mouth bass belonging to the sunfish family, catfish, and northern pike.
  • Finescale Dace – Found in river channels and cool lakes, this fish grows to a size of 3 inches.Others of its type include the Pearl Dace and RedBelly Dace. Beaver ponds are a favored habitat. It is widely used as baitfish.

With all of this information, you now know which type of live bait will attract the biggies to take a bite. Go for it now!

Ensuring Your Own Bait Fish

The first thing to do is to create the right habitat for your baitfish.

The water temperature should be cool and there should be an adequate supply of oxygen. Use a bubbler to ensure this.

There are two options for your own bait fish:

  • Get supplies from your local pet store and release them into your pond.
  • Keep baitfish in a fish tank for use when you are fishing.