How do you Fish for Bass? 6 Incredible Baits

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through links. I will only recommend products that I have personally used! Learn more on my Private Policy page. Affiliate Disclosure



Bait fishing for Bass

How do you fish for bass? You know sometimes I just love to have my feet on dry land and just wait for that rod to arch over bait fishing for Bass.

I love lure fishing and fly fishing because you’re constantly on the move looking for fish or just standing in the water casting out whatever lure or fly you think is going to take the fish fancy.

But sometimes it’s nice to put your feet up and relax.

Bait fishing for bass
Bait fishing for bass

Carp anglers will camp out for days just waiting for that monster carp to show itself. I have done a bit of Carp fishing myself but struggled with that waiting game, to be honest.

I have had some fantastic Carp fishing days but I’m not going to camp out for the night.

Lure fishing versus bait fishing?

There is a massive advantage as far as lure fishing goes against bait fishing. Especially around the rocky areas where we live.

The problem that we have really experienced over the last few years is the abundance of dogfish. Now I really don’t mind catching them, but they drive the bass Man insane.

Hence why you’ll rarely see him with a bucket of peeler crabs anymore. No, it’s strictly lure fishing for him.


I mentioned in a previous post about bass Fishing not being so good in the daytime. But with bait fishing, I think you increase your odds of catching a bass rather than night because the dogfish seem a bit more active at night.

Night fishing for bass
Doggies ahoy!

Then whatever your chosen bait is will stand a better chance of reaching a hungry bass, before that greedy doggie nails it. Remember, this is my opinion, it may be completely different where you come from, don’t take it to heart if you beg to differ.

Choosing The Right bait for Bass

Well, my number one here has got to be Peeler Crabs. To me, this is the best bait for bass as far as I’m concerned. One advantage is that other crabs don’t seem to eat your bait up like they do lugworm or ragworm.


Our top 6 baits for Bass

  • Peeler Crabs
  • Yellow Tails (lugworm)
  • Sandeels
  • Ragworm
  • Live Prawns
  • Whole Squid


How to get peeler Crabs?

Well, my number one here has got to be Peeler Crabs. To me, this is the best bait for bass as far as I’m concerned. One advantage is that other crabs don’t seem to eat your bait up like they do lugworm or ragworm.

Well, the first thing to bear in mind is that they do not peel all year round. Normally, around our waters, they’ll start their moult around the May period. This is obviously when things start warming up as we progress into summer.

Peeler crab
Peeler crab

When the sea temperature rises the crabs will start to peel. I reckon this is when the bass start to move in numbers around our shorelines because of the abundance of crabs that are peeling.


You can find peeler crabs in rock pools usually under kelp or weed. Peeler crabs will also burrow in the sand in the gullies. I’ve found the siltier the sand is, the better chance peelers will be hiding.

So sieve through the sand with your bare hands to find those crabs. Also look under rocks too, having said that I’d always wonder why I never got so many years ago and that was why.

They can also be found amongst weed that is washed up against the sea wall ( if there are anywhere you live). Like anything, practice makes perfect and the more you search for peelers the more you will find the areas where they tend to hang out.

Tackle shops

Fail that, most tackle shops will have peelers crabs either alive or frozen but be prepared they are not cheap. So don’t be lazy, get down at low tide and find them yourself and save some money in the meantime.


Crabs that you find that have already peeled (softies) for me are the ace card of baits for bass. The bass seems to love softies over peelers for some reason.

I would have thought the more juicy peeler would win over a softie but this definitely is not the case. And normally a take on a softie can be instant when the Bass are feeding in the area you’re fishing, they love them.

what are sea bass feeding on

Pungas and Velvets

Also, crabs like Pungas(Edible Crabs) and Velvet crabs are absolute killer baits for bass too. Pungas and Velvets tend to start their moult a little later than the shore crabs but if you’re fortunate to find either of them happy days.

Lugworm (Yellow tails)

Apart from the yellow slime that stains your fingers, these bad boys are another killer bait for bass. A lot less hassle than the peelers that you would have to peel, just thread a whole worm up your hook on a Pennel rig and you are good to go.

How do you fish for bass

The only downside is digging the bleeding things. They can be a couple of fork lengths down and are quite hard to find. If you do plan on breaking your back digging them I would suggest going with someone who has experience digging them.

Bait pump

There you go, there had to be an easier option didn’t there? Yes, you can pump those deep-down yellow tails but still takes some practice to master the knack. But well worth the investment if that’s the route you want to take.


Ultimately people do go digging for them, but my preferred method would be to order from the tackle shop. bass love Ragworm probably as much as some of the other baits, but it’s all about those pesky crabs munching on everything you cast out to them.

This is why it pays to fish where there is a strong tide run, fewer crabs, it’s that simple. As for baiting up, some anglers thread the worm completely along the hook shaft. Then Pennel the other end of the worm to hold the ragworm up the line.

The other method is just to nick a single hook through the Ragworm head, probably more suitable for lighter fishing like with afloat, that we will cover in another post.

Live Sand eels

Probably better from the boat as most anglers will tell you. But if you manage to get hold of some live Sandeel you could be on the money for catching bass. There couldn’t be a more natural food for the bass.

Live Sand Eels
Live Sand Eels

The ideal way to fish Sand Eel from the shore is to free-line the Sandeel down the side of the harbour wall, again a strong tide run is recommended. Just lip hook the Sand eel and drop it down the side of the harbour wall, then hopefully hang on!

How do you fish for Bass?

Whole Squid

Believe it or not, the Bass Man has caught a squid from the shore on a lure of all things. You can see the squid in the picture. I had only just remembered about this as I was going to say that around our shoreline, I wouldn’t consider squid to be a natural food source for a bass, but out in the boat, I should imagine squid would be as good as any bait.

So obviously  I was wrong. However, the squid would not be my first choice of bait by any means. But if you’re stuck for bait, and want to have a go with squid then so be it.

How to fish with Squid.

Even though I have tried this but not had any success. The way to fish squid is to Pennel rig the whole thing. Thread the hook through the body two or three times, then the final thread through the head so the hook lies along the squid’s body.

Squid best baits for bass

Then wrap the line around the free hook to hold it in place then nick through the top of the body. This way it should still look like a whole squid on your line. Make sure you use a bait clip-through when casting. You don’t want to see that squid fly off when you cast do you now!

Live prawns

Live prawns
Prawns For Bait

Well, I tell you now I’ll be experimenting with this method a lot more in 2018. Last year my friend had got his shrimp net out and turned up fishing with a bucket load of prawns.

Although most of the bass were small schoolies it still seemed a great way to fish. The only problem with fishing with live prawns with your standard lead weight is the actual prawn or prawns falling off when you cast. No good whatsoever.

However, we can bung out a bubble float and fish that way. I’ve watched videos on YouTube using this method so it’s got to be a winner.

 How to fish with live prawns.

All you need to do is nick the hook once through the prawn’s back. about halfway down. This way the prawn can still flip its tail, so this will attract that greedy ass we are all looking for. You could even use two on the same hook for even more appeal.


Scroll to Top