Live Bait Guide for Beginners – How to Keep Bait Alive

Live Bait Guide

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The best way to keep bait alive is to control the temperature and oxygen levels of the water through aeration and an insulated live bait tank.

Hard lures and artificial bait can certainly be effective and are a valuable piece of tackle in any angler’s tackle box, but there’s nothing quite like fishing with live bait. Fishing with live bait is a unique experience and a surefire way of reeling in a ton of fish! This is a beginner’s live bait guide to help you improve your fishing success.

There are a lot of great reasons to fish with live bait over lures. Fishing with live bait is easier, you don’t need to worry about presenting it as though it were the real thing… it is the real thing!

When you fish with live bait, you are giving your prospective catch exactly what they are looking for food – real food. The smell, the enzymes released, movement, color and texture are what fish are instinctively attracted to, you are giving them what they need.

While lures can be effective, nothing beats fishing with live bait.

With live bait, there is a unique chance to be able to tap into the natural rhythm beneath the water’s surface.

Although it can be difficult to keep alive, particularly for extended fishing sessions. This live bait guide is designed to help you to catch more fish for longer.

Live Bait Guide for Beginners

While lures have their definite advantages, they are fun to use and avoid more unwanted catches than live bait, there are times when live bait is the obvious choice.

Live bait is by far the most effective method of fooling the most amount of fish, that is for the simple reason that live bait is exactly what the fish want. They are also free – get yourself an easy to use cast net and you can get as much bait as you can use.

Many species of fish feed throughout the night, meaning they are not relying on their vision. Their scent becomes their dominant sense. During these times, lures are not very useful, as the fish are not able to see them visually. But with a live baited hook in the water at night, the scent and pheromones released by the bait will attract your catch.

Another situation where live bait is the definite winner is in over-fished areas. In these waters, fish have become accustomed to onslaughts of artificial lures, so the sight of another lure is not appetizing. In these waters, live bait is by far the best option.

When fishing with live bait you can cast out and let the scents of the bait attract fish. Whereas if you are fishing with a lure, there is a lot of maneuvering you need to do in order to get the fish’s attention. So in areas where you do not want to be constantly moving the lure, live bait is the best option.

Keeping Live Bait Alive

Live bait is the best fishing bait you could use, but while it will generally yield a bigger catch and result in a more enjoyable fishing trip, there’s a little more maintenance involved, as you will need to keep the bait fresh until the time it is threaded onto the hook.

When you take live bait out fishing, you need to keep it alive. There are a few factors that will determine the lifespan of your live bait, they are important to take note of.


Keeping Crawfish in clean water is the most important step in keeping Crawfish alive. Tap water is not good enough! The best water to use is water from a creek or a pond, distilled water is another option if this isn’t available to you.

Make sure there are air holes in the bucket you are storing them!

They are not fussy eaters and can be fed any kind of veggies, meat and fish. But do not feed them greasy food. Feed them once a week and change out the water the day after you feed them to keep their water clean.

If they molt in the bucket then remove their old shells. Also remove as any dead crawfish as quickly as you can so they don’t pollute the water.

Blood Worms

Using a worm box is the best way to keep blood worms alive and well. All you need is a rubber tub, fill it with worm bedding or potting soil. The soil should be moist but not too wet.

You will want to keep the box in a shady cool place.

Blood worms can be fed a diet of eggshells, coffee grounds or worm food, they don’t need a lot, just a small amount every week. Once the food has been eaten you can add more.

Keeping Blood Worms Alive for Fishing


Keeping minnows alive is essentially like keeping your goldfish alive, they need clean water, oxygen and food. If you plan to raise minnows long term then you should invest in a proper fish tank setup, which would include a quality tank, aerator, filter, and a place of shelter like some coral or an object with enclosed spaces.

The tank is best kept with gravel and rocks in the bed of the tank, giving the fish more places to hide keeps them happier and less stressed.

Minnows should be fed about twice a day with fish flakes. If you notice excess fish food floating to the bottom of the tank, this is an indication that you are overfeeding them.

If you are looking for a dedicated live bait tank then please read our specific buying guide.


Different species used as live bait will be more comfortable and survive longer in different temperatures. Usually, if the temperature is a factor that negatively affects your bait, the majority of the time it’s due to overheating. So as a rule of thumb, for most species, you want to try and keep them cool.

Minnows, for example, do best at temperatures of around 12 degrees Celsius, or 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Likewise, blood worms love the cool, their normal habitat is deep beneath the soil, in cool and insulated environments. So best to keep them in an ice cooler or refrigerator. Worms will start going bad at around 20 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit.


If you don’t allow enough air into your live bait’s container, they will die. As simple as that. Extremely stressful environments can also contribute to early deaths of your live bait. So do everything you can to make sure they have enough air, and ample space.

Take care of your live bait and they will take care of you.

Quality of Life

No matter what live bait you choose, you need to keep it alive. You must be sure that you are providing your bait with enough aeration and suitable temperature, as well as keeping a general eye on them and making sure they are healthy overall.


That is all of our live bait guide. Please add your own comments below and share your secrets with the world.

Happy fishing!