What Can Be Used As Bait for Fish?

There are many different types of fishing lures designed to entice the fish into biting. But, you don’t have to buy different kinds of fishing baits to hook fish as you can make fish bait from items you have at home.

So, what can be used as bait for fishing? Anything from bread to cat and dog food can be used as fishing bait. Every species of fish has individual feeding habits and preferred baitfish. For example, carp are more likely to bite sweet and fruity baits like cereal, whereas catfish are attracted to meaty and smelly baits.

When people think about fishing, they often imagine they’ll need lures or worms. This article will tell you about other effective things that can be used for fishing, many of which you already have at home. 

Types of Baits for Fishing

Types of Baits for Fishing

There are many different types of fish baits, depending on what type of fish you’re trying to catch. With so many options available, it’s hard to know what live bait does and what type of fish it is used for. 

Listed below, you’ll find the most common types of fish baits for freshwater fishing found at tackle stores:

1. Worms

Live worms are the most common bait type across the US. Red wigglers and nightcrawlers are the two most common types of worms sold in fishing stores. You can also raise these worms at home or dig them up from your backyard.

2. Leeches

Leeches are a popular fish bait for deep water fishing and larger game fish like walleye. Leeches can also be a good alternative for worms if you’re fishing for panfish. 

Ranging in size from small to extra-large, leeches can be found at local tackle stores and used with basic and advanced rigs. 

3. Minnows

Minnows are the most challenging type of baitfish but will help you catch larger predator fish. Using a minnow as bait is all about presentation, so you’ll have to make your bait look lively in its natural location in the water. Minnows should be stored in a bucket full of water at all times.

4. Insects

Insects are the least common type of fish bait but are readily available in tackle stores. Insects like grubs are a go-to option for ice fishing, while grasshoppers and crickets are mainly used when fishing for trout in small streams. 

Homemade Baits for Fishing

If you don’t have access to live bait or fishing lures there are many other things you can use to catch fish. 

Please note that regardless of where you decide to fish, you’ll have to adhere to the state fishing rules and regulations set to protect the fishery. Always check to see if you’re allowed to use the following homemade baits for fishing at the waterway of your choice.

1. Leftover Fish

Leftover prawns and shrimp can be used to entice catfish and perch or as saltwater bait to attract an array of fish species. While you can find shrimp bait in many bait fishing stores, you can have as much success reeling in a fish using regular shrimp or prawns. 

The prawn’s fishy aroma and soft texture make it an excellent bait for perch and other predatory fish.

2. Bread

Bread has been an effective fish bait for a long time. Over the past few years, the popularity of bread as a fish bait has skyrocketed, making it one of the go-to methods for catching fish.

Stale pieces of bread are excellent for attracting carp. You can also add a fishing liquid attractor and smush the bread into compact and tiny balls. 

3. Cereal

Crush cereal flakes, add a small amount of water, and make small balls that you can fit around the hook. This type of bait is favored by carp, roach, rudd, and bream, which have a sweet tooth and are more likely to go for sugary baits.

4. Corn

Corn is another readily available bait that is effective for many different types of fish. Canned corn, in particular, is effective for reeling in perch, carp, bream, and trout. 

Throw a handful of corn into the area you want to fish in before lowering the hook threaded with three or four corn kernels. Keep an eye on the kernels in the water. If they move or disappear, you’ll know that fish is there, lurking beneath the surface.  

Keep in mind that some fish species can’t digest corn, so always check the fishery’s rules and regulations before using corn as bait. 

5. Chicken & Turkey Livers

Chicken and turkey livers are good bait for predatory fish. The pungent smell makes chicken and turkey livers enticing to catfish and freshwater bass. Chicken livers are a bit more popular than turkey livers, but both work well for attracting fish.

Other Things that Can Be Used as Baits

While worms make excellent bait for an array of fish, their gooey and slimy bodies make them unappealing to some people. If touching worms isn’t your cup of tea, here are some other things that you can use to bait fish:

  • Hot dogs
  • Bologna sausage
  • Cat or dog food
  • Canned meat
  • Raisins
  • Bread and cheese balls
  • Gummy worms
  • Marshmallows
  • Peanut butter
  • Dough balls
  • Nuts
  • Biscuits
  • Egg noodles
  • Cheese
  • Bacon


You don’t need fancy lures or live bait to catch a big fish. Many other things make effective bait for fish, and chances are that you already have some of these items at home.

Whether you’re planning to catch carp, catfish, or trout, you can make an enticing bait using items from your kitchen. Things like canned meat, marshmallows, bread, cheese, sweet corn, cereals, and chicken livers are tried and tested homemade fishing baits.