One of the most highly effective methods to catch fish in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina is placing dead or live bait on a hook. The dead or live bait can be presented at the water’s surface, mid-water column, or dropped to the bottom with weights. It is essential to understand how to bait a hook and present the bait properly to increase the likelihood of catching freshwater or saltwater gamefish. 

What Does Bait A Hook Mean

To bait a hook means adding dead or live bait to the sharp point in hopes of attracting a larger fish to strike.

Bait varies in forms and is used when targeting different types of fish species. Here is a list of the most commonly used fresh or saltwater baits through Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. 


Crustaceans are most frequently used in saltwater and include fiddler crab, shrimp, and blue crab. Although the squid is not a crustacean, anglers also widely use it. 

Bait Fish

Varieties of baitfish roam both salt and freshwater. Freshwater minnows and fish used for bait include shad, herring, shiners, and more. In saltwater, anglers pitch live or dead ballyhoo, pilchards, mullet, goggleyes, mud minnows, etc. 


The family of worms used for fishing is large. The most frequent and most giant worm is the nightcrawler. Other smaller varieties include the mealworm, blood worm, and wax worm. 

Why Would You Use Bait Versus An Artificial Lure

There are numerous reasons why anglers use bait versus an artificial lure. Here are the most common reasons. 

The Cost

The next time you stop at a tackle shop, check out the cost of fishing lures. Lures are expensive, and the price tag is shocking upon checkout. Rather than spending money on lures, anglers buy bait because it comes cheaper. 

While bait must be purchased in greater frequency, consider when the lure becomes snagged and lost to the structure beneath the surface. Most anglers spew a few offensive words from their mouths. In the long run, buying hooks, weights, floats, and bait is low in cost. Stocking a tackle box full of lures is incredibly expensive. 

The Smell And Appearance

Artificial lures are manufactured in plants and do not replicate the smell of bait but share similarities in appearance.

The smell and appearance of a live or dead bait appeal to fish because it is natural. Furthermore, the bait is its food source and therefore is more likely to strike. 

The Skill Level

One of the most common reasons anglers use bait versus lures is because little to no skill is required when fishing live or dead bait. 

Young children are easily taught to catch fish by using bait compared to lures. We all know we don’t want a first-time caster whipping a multi-hook lure and risk injuring themselves or others in the vicinity. Also, working a lure requires practice and skill. 

Anglers fishing live or dead bait have the opportunity to cast, sit back, relax, and monitor the tip of the rod or the float and reel when a fish strikes. 

Where Can You Buy Fishing Bait

Fishing bait is readily available at multiple locations, including big box stores and small mom and pop bait and tackle shops.

When purchasing live fish or crustaceans, the store must be equipped with circulating equipment and positioned on the banks of the water. On the other hand, dead bait is available at the most inland locations. 

Do an internet search for live bait near me or bait near me. A list of local bait shops will display on the screen. However, Walmarts will offer some form of live bait in the fishing department in most situations. 

Lastly, consider purchasing live bait online. The bait is delivered fresh to your front door. Best Bait offers a wide selection of worms. 

How Do You Bait A Hook

It is crucial to understand how to hook bait to increase the likelihood of live bait surviving and appearing natural for the fish to bite. 

How Do You Bait A Hook On A Small Fish

When baiting a live fish, always avoid the brain above the eyes. Place the hook through the lips or beneath the spinal cord near the dorsal fin when hooking dead or live baitfish. 

Hooking through the lips is most often used when bottom fishing than hooking through the back when the fish is present beneath a float. 

How Do You Worm A Hook

There are multiple varieties of worms and two common approaches to placing worms on hooks. The first is simply pushing the hook through the center of the worm allowing it to dangle. 

Small worms such as meal and wax worms only require the hook to pierce the body one time compared to nightcrawlers which require several.

Another option is worming a hook. A wormed hook is when the worm extends along the shank in its entirety.

To worm a hook, run the point through the top of the worm and thread it over the barb, around the bend, and up the shank. The process requires patience and skill to avoid tearing it into pieces. When done correctly, the appearance is natural. 

Bait A Hook Now You Know The Ins And Outs

Fishing with live or dead bait through Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolinas fresh and salt bodies of water is highly effective. Bait is readily available and is simple to place on a hook and present to fish waiting below for their next meal. Experienced and inexperienced anglers will have a good chance at catching fish. Remember to purchase a fishing license before casting.