One of the most enduring images of outdoor nostalgia has to be the opening scene of The Andy Griffith Show wherein Sheriff Taylor and a barefoot Opie walk past the “fishing hole” carrying their fishing poles. Fishing trips are enjoyable whether you are alone or with friends and family members - from shore or on a boat. Beginners can try their hand without spending a fortune.

Planning a great fishing trip involves identifying the locale, the regulations and license requirements, the type of fish you want to catch and the rod and reel. Finally, you will choose the bait you think will be the most successful. Your first consideration will be whether you want to use live bait or artificial lures. Let’s briefly discuss each.


Jigs have weighted metal heads and flexible tails

Poppers get their action from cupped face and work well with fish that feed on the surface

Spoons are metal lures designed to mimic swimming and come in a wide variety of colors and shapes for types of fish

Spinners have blades that revolve around a straight shaft

Soft-plastic baits come in many sizes and colors, are available with or without weights and some even have a scent

Surface Fishing Lures are a large category that are made to imitate things like mice or frogs and can be especially useful to snagging sizeable fish

Vibrating lures contain programmed microprocessors that emit sound-producing vibrations

Live Bait

Always check local regulations to ensure the bait you choose is permitted. Not only is live bait cheaper than artificial, there are also opportunities for you to find your own and save even more.

Cut bait should be scaled, but not skinned and will attract species that are sensitive to scent

Leeches are readily available at bait shops, will swim naturally and will last several days in a refrigerator

Dough balls are commercially-made, canned and  are labeled for specific fish

Grubs and worms are readily available from bait shops or soil

Minnows are readily available from bait shops and they will move on their own if you hook them without damaging their spinal cord

Insects (you knew they had to be good for something!) – Ants, beetles, grasshoppers crickets and caterpillars for example

Crayfish, alive or dead, bought from a bait shop or captured with a fine mesh net

Eels are tough bait and are especially good for trolling

Homemade dough balls are good for catfish and carp and we have provided the following recipe:

  • Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup yellow cornmeal and 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl.
  • Take a 1-quart container of water and pour just enough of it into the mixture to make a heavy dough.
  • Roll the dough into balls about ½-inch to 1-inch in diameter.
  • Mix the rest of the water with 1 cup of molasses and pour it into a pan.
  • Add a flavoring agent, such as garlic, licorice, anise or strawberry gelatin.
  • Put the pan on the stove and bring the molasses, water and flavoring to a boil.
  • When the mixture is boiling, drop in the dough balls, but don't overcrowd them.
  • Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Cool before using.

As they say - "A bad day fishing is better than a good day doing anything else". Pick up your pole, choose your bait and .....

Remember the Great Outdoors!

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