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How to Bait a Hook

Different types of bait require different methods of getting them onto the hook. Follow these steps.


  • Step 1: Bait with worms Cut a worm into pieces and push the point and barb of the hook into the end of each piece when using a small hook. On a large hook, run the hook lengthwise through the worm’s body, covering the hook.
  • TIP: Earthworms are commonly used for freshwater fishing. Bloodworms are commonly used in saltwater.
  • Step 2: Bait with insects Tie an insect to the hook's shank with thin wire. Insects such as grasshoppers and crickets work best, and are most effective when they're alive.
  • TIP: Hook an insect by pushing the point through the rear of the insect’s body to avoid killing it.
  • Step 3: Bait with minnows Hook a minnow through the upper and lower lips or through the back below the spine. This gives the appearance that the minnow is swimming naturally. Minnows are more effective if kept alive.
  • Step 4: Cut bait If you're in an area with fish that are more attracted to scent, cut bait works better than live or whole bait. Cut fish, eels, or minnows, into chunks for still fishing, or strips for trolling.
  • : Throwing extra bait into the water can cause environmental damage. Live bait like minnows can spawn and eat foods meant for fish that are native to the region.
  • Step 5: Make doughballs Make doughballs by mixing flour, cornmeal, and sugar in a pot, and then adding enough water to create a doughy texture. Add more water and molasses to maintain a doughy consistency. Bring the mix to a boil; then cook for a few minutes. Let it cool and roll it into balls. Mold the balls around the hook, completely covering it.
  • FACT: Did you know? Carp will bite on almost any type of food baited on a hook – from hot dogs to marshmallows.

You Will Need

  • Worms
  • Insects
  • Minnows
  • Cut bait
  • 1.0 c flour
  • 1.0 c yellow cornmeal
  • 1.0 tsp sugar
  • 1.0 qt water
  • 1.0 c molasses
  • Fish hooks
  • Thin wire
  • A minnow bucket
  • A pot

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