Fishing in Maryland-Outdoor Recreation Maryland Dept of Natural Resources
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My First Fishing Trip: How Do I Rig a Line?

Natural Baits & Baiting Your Hook
As you learn more about fish behavior you'll learn more about how to choose the best bait for different situations. Several types of live or natural bait will help you catch fish. Always check the fishing regulations to make sure the bait you choose is legal for the lake you are fishing.

Some of the best baits for freshwater fishing include worms, leeches, minnows, crayfish, crickets and grasshoppers. Good saltwater baits include sea worms, eels, crabs, shrimp, strips of squid, and cut-up pieces of fish.

If you need to know how to tie knots for lures or hooks, you can click on Knots.

Worms are good bait for nearly all freshwater and saltwater fish, although sea worms are often used in saltwater fishing. You can find enough worms for fishing from a few shovels of dirt in your garden or from a shaded, damp area. Worms can also be purchased in fishing tackle stores and bait shops.

If you have small worms, thread the hook through the side of the worm at several places along its body. For bait-stealing fish such as sunfish, thread the worm on the hook until the hook is completely covered.

Minnows must be stored in a minnow bucket with plenty of cool water to keep them alive. Never crowd them.

One way to hook a minnow is through both lips, beginning with the bottom lip. You can also hook a minnow through the tail, behind the head, or through the back.

Crickets and Grasshoppers
Both land and water insects can be used for bait. When using small insects, you should use hooks made of thin wire.

Bait Leeches
Leeches are excellent bait for many fish. They should be hooked through the sucker in the tail.

Clams, Mussels, and Sea Worms
These baits are good for perch, drum, sea trout, and rockfish. Completely remove their shell and thread onto the hook.

Shrimp can be used either alive or dead for saltwater fish. Hook the shrimp through the tail. You can also peel off the shell and thread cut up pieces of shrimp on the hook.

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This page Updated on April 21, 2005