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America’s Relationship With its Bait Shops
From fishing at a very early age to running my own fishing business, I’ve visited more bait shops than most anybody around. There’s something about walking in there and smelling a combination of a cricket box in the background along with the water the minnows use. In many cases it seems, there’s an old dog in its golden years that will barely look up at you upon entrance, just to lay back down to enjoy the cool concrete floor!
While nowhere as prolific as before, bait shops are where we can still find snacks, grab a little bait, and perhaps learn a few techniques if the shop owner is an avid fisherman willing to divulge a few secrets!
If you’re wanting to go fishing for the first time but aren’t comfortable with people knowing you’re new to the game, no worries! I gotcha covered!
What You’ll Need For A Day Of Fishing
For this article I will assume you’re just wanting to catch what bites so we will put you on an easily targeted fish, bluegill/bream.
Going on your first fishing trip you’ll need…
I recently did an article entitled Pan Fishing With A Cane Pole Vs. Rod & Reel which you’re welcome to refer to for further questions, but in it I recommend starting out with a cane pole. Most bait shops will have these in stock but it’s a good idea to call ahead. Price’s range between twelve and thirty dollars depending on the quality.
Most bait shops stock a good selection of a variety of lines and in different forms. They are:
What you’ll need…
Bluegill fishing doesn’t require strong line so you can save money by using a monofilament in the twelve-to-twenty-pound range and if possible, buy a spool of under one-hundred yards as this will last you many trips!
Want to sound slick around the bait shop owner? Just say you’re looking for mono between those ranges of pound test!
A split shot serves an important purpose. It is the clip-on lead weight just above your hook which will help allow your bait to sink and stand your bobber up so that your rig can perform at its best!
Buy number 7s and smaller for this purpose, but you can find really good deals on bulk lead packages.
I did a very detailed article on Corks which helps you in determining what to use with each fish species. I have my favorites of course but if you’re fishing with a cane pole a simple float will work just fine!
This one can be variable depending on your current weather, but I will simplify it for you…
If the weather’s been warm for several weeks you will want to go with either red wigglers or crickets (crickets will require the additional purchase of a cage from the bait shop).
If the weather has been cold stick with mealworms or better yet wax worms when available!
Also if you’re really adventurous you can always catch your own bait!
Your hook selection will be completely dependent on your bait selection. The reason being that a tiny hook will not accommodate a larger bait like a cricket or worm.
If you’re fishing with Wax Worms use as small of a hook as you can get away with! A number 3 hook is most desirable when using wax worms to catch bluegill!
If using the cricket or red wiggler you will want to go with a hook a little larger than the #3. I recommend using an eagle claw live bait live wire style hook!
Considering trying one of our delicious recipes on the site??? You’re going to want to preserve those fish alive as long as possible to enjoy their fresh taste! If you have a 5-gallon bucket that will hold water than opt for this instead. If not however you’ll want to purchase a stringer or a fish basket! These work by running the pointed end through the eye circle to begin with. After you catch a keeper fish you will run the hook from the back of the fish’s gill up out the front of the mouth allowing it to slide all the way down to the eye. You can then stick the pointed end into the ground keeping the fish from swimming off with it!
It’s hard to beat a homemade poor boy sub, some Doritos, and a green tea. When the bite is slow it’s a great idea to remember some food and drinks. After all there’s no guarantee you’ll end up with a mess of fish. By bringing snacks, there’s a guarantee you won’t come home hungry!
Being new to fishing, I understand if you don’t want to go in looking foolish. I’ve asked more “dumb questions” than then next person, so I feel your pain! If you’re open to learning and are patient (both musts in the world of fishing) then don’t be afraid of going in and talking to a local bait shop owner. They make a living by selling you products and know they can keep your business returning by helping you achieve your goals.
If you still aren’t too comfortable then no problem! Click on any of the pictures I’ve added which will take you to my amazon affiliate link. I will get a small commission.
While I do enjoy making money off of this, and thank you for any click I get, I would still rather you support a local bait shop if it’s possible. I see fewer and fewer every year, and it’s upsetting to see!