In general the novice fisherman is eager to get his or her fish on the line as fast as possible. That being said they probably care less about what species of fish they catch as long as they don’t go home empty handed on their first trip out. A bait that is very versatile that catches probably the largest variety of fish would be the classic “Night-crawler” or “Earthworm”. There are other baits you may want to consider for your fist trip (I will discuss them later), but worms are probably your best bet for your first trip out. They offer the beginner fisherman the best chance at landing a fish, it may not be the largest fish but it will be the easier way to get yourself “hooked on fishing”. When fishing freshwater the earthworm can land you the following species of fish.
- Bluegill or Sunfish
- Large-mouth Bass
- Small-mouth Bass
- White Bass
This is why I mention the "Night-Crawler" or "Earthworm" as the best bait to use to the beginning fisherman. There are few species of fish that can resist the wiggling piece of protein that appears to be an easy prey. The movement of the earthworm in the water also helps to attract a wide variety of fish. Bluegill Fishing is a great way to start out if you are a novice fisherman, as they are generally found in vast numbers around the shorelines of numerous ponds and lakes. It is a great species to target if you are trying to teach a youngster how to fish or if you are just heading out for the first time.
When using earthworms or Night-crawlers it is best to thread the worm as best you can on the hook, otherwise it will most likely be eaten off by a hungry bluegill. By threading the worm on the hook you are increasing your chances of the fish actually putting the hook in its mouth. I also prefer to use smaller hooks when I am not too concerned about what I am going to catch.
Another bait that I would recommend would be the “Shiner” or “Pinhead”. They are a small fish that’s fairly active in the water. It takes a little bit more work to keep them alive and healthy, but they can produce very good results in a bass or trout filled pond. It may take some more patience, but if you can find where the larger fish are you will be in for a real treat. With both the Earthworm and Shiner I generally place a float dobber a few feet above a hook which I will bait with either the earth worm or shiner. The shiner will pull around the dober a little bit, so don’t be deceived by its little tugs on the dober.
You will know when a larger fish comes by for a meal. It will definitely pull your dober under the water. By using shiners however you will definitely be limiting your options in terms of fish species that you may be able to catch. Here is a list of what you could potentially catch using shiners.
Some of my best fishing experiences when I was younger was when I was using either of these two baits described above. You can almost some degree of action when using worms, even if you are just catching small bluegills. Generally when I go fishing with a youngster I will get them started on worms while I use shiners. The bluegills, perch and crappie generally keep the youngster busy as I am on the per-suit of the larger predators by using shiners. I have found when the action starts getting good, if I switch to larger shiners if I have them I can land a more substantial fish.