The best fishing baits

Fishing bait is very important, after all the concept of fishing is to encourage the fish to eat your fishing bait and swallow the fishing hook in the process. There are many different types of food items that can be used as fishing bait, but which one is best? The answer to this depends entirely on the size and species of fish you are trying to catch, the type of water you are fishing and the size of hook you are fishing with amongst many other things. Each angler will have his or her own opinion as to the best fishing bait however there are a handful of fishing baits that are more commonly used than other fishing baits.


Many anglers consider maggots to be the best fishing bait and it is easy to see why. There isn’t a fresh water fish that swims that will not eat a maggot. Roach, bream, tench, carp, barbel, perch and even pike will take a maggot if it is presented in front of it. The biggest advantage of using maggots as fishing bait is that all species of fish will eat them.  

Maggots make an excellent fishing bait. Here we have some 'mixed' maggots, which have been dyed various colours to be visually attractive to the fish as well  as smelling good.

Maggots - one of the best fishing baitsCredit: yackers1

The biggest advantage of using maggots is also viewed as their biggest disadvantage by some anglers. When fishing with maggots as fishing bait you will be plagued by small “nuisance” fish, such as minnows, very small roach and silver fish that will greedily suck the maggots. Many of these nuisance fish are too small to take the fishing hook and will never be caught.

Maggots are the best fishing bait for coarse anglers and pleasure anglers who are simply looking to catch fish, regardless of the size and species.


Casters are simply maggots in their chrysalis or pupae stage of their life cycle. Casters are delicate and you need to take care when baiting the hook as they will explode as you put the hook point through them. Many anglers will use casters as loose feed to attract fish rather than put a caster on the hook as fishing bait which is a shame as they make excellent hook baits if handled correctly.

Casters can be used as fishing bait on the hook, however they are fragile. The best use for casters is as loose feed in order to attract the fish to your swim where you will have a fishing bait on a hook.

Casters - maggots at the chryslais stageCredit: yackers1

Many anglers will throw the unused maggots away after a fishing session, however this is not the best use for them and it is better to take the box of spare maggots home and let them pupate and turn in to the chrysalis stage. Once at the chrysalis stage you can dry them out, which will kill the organism inside, and then put them in an airtight bag to use as loose feed on future fishing trips.


Worms make good fishing bait that will take a variety of different species of fish, although they are favourite fishing bait for anglers targeting perch, tench and bream. All species of worms can be used for fishing bait including the lob worm and brandlings amongst all others, so grab a spade and get digging in the garden for cost effective fishing bait.

Worms are another great fishing bait although they are difficult to hook and may entice eels, which you don't really want.

A worm as hook baitCredit: yackers1

In addition to earth worms blood worms also make great fishing bait, although these are often more problematic to get hold of. Blood worms are found in muddy river beds so locating and extracting these can take some time.

When using worms as fishing bait you need to match the size of the worm to the size of the hook. Large worms require large hooks, although you can chop worms up in to smaller pieces for smaller hooks if you want. You will catch fish on chopped worms but they are not as good as whole worms.

The biggest problem with using worms as fishing bait is they attract freshwater eels, which are a real nuisance and can create many problems. Eels will tend to swallow the hook, which makes them difficult to unhook, and will tie themselves up in knots and tangle the line.


Bread is also great fishing bait that is best used when targeting roach, rudd and carp. Bread is cheap, readily available and serves as a great back up fishing bait because you always have some type of bread laying around somewhere in the house.

Bread is cheap, readily available and makes an excellent fishing bait. Bread can be difficult to keep on the hook however there are ways around this.

Sliced breadCredit: yackers1

The main problem with bread is keeping it on the fishing hook. Bread is quite fragile and will tend to fly off the fishing hook when the fishing tackle is cast out, so you do need to be gentle to ensure the bread stays on the hook. To ensure the bread remains on the fishing hook during the cast you should make small dough balls by squeezing the air out of the bread and then mould them around the shank of the hook. Bread is too fragile to use as fishing bait for ledgering therefore it is fishing bait that can only be used when using float fishing techniques.

Trout food pellets

Historically, trout food pellets were used as loose feed to attract the fish and get them feeding confidently. However, times have changed and trout food pellets are now used as fishing bait used on the fishing hook. Because of their size, trout food pellets will not attract attention from the dreaded nuisance fish, which means the fishing bait will remain intact and ready for when the larger target species comes along.

Trout food pellets are an excellent fishing bait for larger species of fish such as bream, carp and tench. Trout food pellets cannot be hooked in the conventional way and are best used on a hair rig.

Trout food pelletsCredit: yackers1

Trout food pellets are hard and cannot be hooked therefore they have to be attached to the hook with a float band or a bait band. Alternatively, trout food pellets can be fished on a hair rig and this is the method favoured by many anglers in order to catch larger species of fish, such as carp, tench, barbel and bream.

Luncheon meat

Luncheon meat is a product many people would not think of as fishing bait because it is so unnatural. Despite this, luncheon meat catches fish and is the fishing bait of choice for anglers targeting chub, barbel and carp. Luncheon meat is a further fishing bait that is difficult to keep on the fishing hook although this is overcome by fishing it on a hair rig.

Luncheon meat can be moulded around the shank and bend of the fishing hook, although I would never fish it in this way. I want to ensure my hook is always baited when it is in the water and when I use luncheon meat I am never a hundred percent satisfied the luncheon meat is on the fishing hook after the cast. When I use luncheon meat on a hair rig I am always happy there is some bait on the hook and not a bare fishing hook.

In conclusion......

The above is not an exhaustive list of fishing bait and there are many others, however they do tend to be the most popular and the ones that will often bag you a fish when other fishing baits are failing to produce. Whilst the fishing baits above will give you a fighting chance of hooking a fish they will not guarantee a catch as there are times when the fish just won’t bite, regardless of what you stick in front of their nose.