There is nothing better than a day spent fishing in your favorite fishing hole. Most anglers know that feeling and once spring and summer roll around, they start to get that itch. Every angler fishes a bit differently and has its own secrets, but they all utilize the same basic tips and tricks. One of them is live bait.
Using live bait is sometimes the best way, if not the only way to go when trying to land a stubbornly smart trout or big old bass. Utilizing fish’s natural food source is a great way to find success. There are all kinds of live bait to use, but the one we are going to talk about is using live crickets.
A vast amount of fish species prey on insects and insect larvae, so live crickets tend to make great fishing bait, especially for freshwater fish. In this article, we are going to go over the tricks of the trade when it comes to using crickets. It will involve how to properly bait crickets, what fish species you’ll have the most success with, how to catch, raise, or buy crickets, and much much more!
Table of Contents
Crickets As Fishing Bait
It should really come as no surprise to hear how good crickets are to use as fishing bait. They are a significant food source for many fish species, especially around late summer and early fall or when rainwater flushes them down into the streams and lakes. Though, using live crickets or even dead at any time will likely produce fish. They are a favorite meal for such species as Bluegill, Crappie, Yellow Perch, and Trout.
Fortunately, crickets tend to be rather plentiful and there are a few different ways that you can obtain live crickets to use for fish bait the next time you go fishing.
Where Can I Buy Crickets For Fishing?
Believe it or not, you can purchase crickets from a few different places. Since they are popular baits, you can buy them from your local bait and tackle store. You can also obtain them at pet stores since those places will sell them as food for your pet lizards or frogs, or some people like to keep them and farm them themselves so they have a whole colony of crickets to use for bait or whatever else.
You can even purchase crickets or other insects online and have them delivered right to your doorstep. Yes, you read that right. Just try looking it up and you will see what I mean. There are a plethora of places online that farm crickets and will sell and ship whatever amount you order to your house. Talk about convenience!
Tell Me The Best Way To Catch Crickets
It’s a familiar sight to see kids running around to find crickets and grasshoppers that they happily catch by hand or net to collect. We all know we’ve done it at one point in our lives. But now, we can be a little more efficient and creative in catching them because it’s not just for fun, it is out of a certain sense of necessity.
Whether it’s to trick and catch that one big Brook Trout who stubbornly hides in the cover of submerged timber, or to fill a pail with Bluegill and Yellow Perch for dinner. A single cricket can be enough, but what if it’s not?
Remember that when you are setting your cricket traps during the summer season, that they are nocturnal creatures and avoid direct sunlight. The only times you see them during the day are deep in the shade under rocks, leaves, or dead or hollowed-out logs. Choosing the proper location will determine the success of your traps!
Here are a few different tricks you can try to catch crickets:
- mix a cup of plain breadcrumbs with a cup of granulated sugar to sprinkle outside in places you’ve seen or heard crickets. Be sure to do this in the evening before the nocturnal small insects begin their symphony. The warmer months are the best time to do this!
- Place a layer of newspaper over the top of your makeshift mixture. Only one sheet will suffice so the crickets can crawl their way under.
- While the crickets feast on the meal you’ve provided, you can capture them in a jar or container with a lid, usually by morning. Be sure to poke holes in the lid so they can get fresh air. You can sprinkle some of the bread crumb mixtures so they have food while you keep them and use what you need as fish bait.
Soda Bottle Method
- Cut the top off of a 2-liter bottle and turn it upside down so the detached top faces inward. It will look like a funnel placed inside the bottle body.
- Pour a fine layer of sugar into the bottom.
- Lay the bottle on its side in an area where you’ve seen or heard cricket activity.
- This kind of trap works because the crickets are drawn in to eat the sugar and once they get through the funnel created by the inverted top, a surprising amount won’t be able to get out of the bottle.
Duct Tape Method
- Take a strip of duct tape and lay it down with the sticky side facing up. Place it in the area you’ve seen crickets around.
- Leave it for a day before going to check on it. When you return you will find crickets caught in the glue of the tape as they attempted to walk on it. Then simply pluck them off, and place them in a sealed container that you have holes poked into.
- You’ve caught your bait, now it’s time to go catch some fish!
If you want to know more information on these methods or need further instruction you can click here. You will also find a couple of other methods not mentioned above. We listed the three we believe work the best and gain you the most success quickly.
How Do You Hook A Cricket?
So, you’ve obtained your bait either by catching them or purchasing them. Now, it is time to head to the fishing spot and prepare to wet a line. If you’re going to bait crickets live then we’re going to need to go over how to appropriately hook them. As with all insects and grasshoppers alike, hooking them can be a very delicate process. Once you do it right though you’ll find they make a good fishing bait.
Before we get right to it, we need to make sure you have the right fishing equipment for using crickets to catch the many species you can get using this kind of bait. You must choose the right kind of small hook that will work best with such lightweight live baits.
Long shanked No. 4 to No. 10 are the best style and sizes to use for crickets. There is a wide range in the sizes because, as you may know, you could be using very small crickets or huge black ones that you may find or catch. You can use these hooks for even grasshoppers too. They may also work for artificial baits and other small live baits.
Now, let’s go over the steps on how to actually hook a cricket:
- Pick up the cricket gently and hold it between your index finger and thumb.
- Position the hook below the cricket’s head, so that when you puncture it will go through its abdomen.
- Once hooked, tie the hook to your fishing line and rod.
- Now you are ready to go!
You may be wondering if you should be using a particular type of line, but that is more or less up to you, the angler. If you are fishing in streams or clear water to catch trout, then fluorocarbon line is typically the go-to to use.
That is because the line is clear and will blend into the crystal clear waters and prevent the fish from spotting them. If you are fishing in murkier ponds, lakes, or rivers then you can use regular braided lines without much concern.
But it is really up to you what kind of fishing line that you prefer to use. For more tips on how to hook a live cricket, check out the following video:
How To Fish With Crickets As Baits
You can catch many species of fish with crickets because really any hungry fish will go after a live cricket bait since it is a natural food source for them already. You don’t have to trick them like you do when using artificial bait. That aside, you can fish a cricket a couple of different ways depending on the kind of action you want or the style of fishing you prefer.
Probably the most popular way is having the cricket hooked on a line and using a bobber to cast it out to float. If you do it right the cricket should still be alive after you hook it and while it floats on the water surface it will create its own movement by kicking and twitching. This is similar to fishing with a worm and bobber because you are just casting it out to let it sit.
The best locations to do this would be in areas of structure, like weeds and weed edges, dock pilings, submerged timber, or fish beds during the spawning season. Not only could you potentially catch bass this way, but you will more than likely catch bluegill, crappie, yellow perch, and other panfish.
You could also go without the bobber and just use the cricket, which is light enough to float on the water surface by itself, this way you could reel it in slowly instead of letting it sit.
Fly fishing with a live cricket is also possible and it would be considered like using dry flies. It is a great way to catch brook trout and rainbow trout in those crystalline creeks and streams where the fish tend to be more cautious.
You can fish with crickets underwater too. It is very simple to turn it into a sinking bait, but this also means that you will then be fishing with dead crickets, but that isn’t a problem. All you would need to achieve this feat is to have split shot weights. It shouldn’t take more than a single split shot to sink your cricket, but if you want it to go further down faster then you can apply a couple.
All that you have to do is crimp this small weight to your line and you’re ready to go. This method would be especially great for fish like crappie, bigger perch, and even smallmouth bass.
By using a weight you can also use this method for fly fishing and it would be much like using wet flies. Again it is a fantastic way to catch those stubborn old brookies or rainbow trout.
Fishing with this great bait will be productive no matter if you are using live crickets or dead crickets, the fish aren’t picky especially when they can smell or see that it is in fact real rather than artificial. You can’t beat fishing with live bait, it is something that may often require patience, but is very rewarding.
Key Insights & Takeaways
If you love fishing and are looking for fishing tips and tricks to add to your arsenal, then this is one for the book. Who would have thought that insects would be so popular, but they make artificial lures of them for a reason. Just try out the real thing once and see what you think, it is easy enough to purchase crickets at your local pet store or bait shop, or it can be just as easy to catch them at home.
During those summer months when you may spend the most time on the water and love to catch things like crappie, perch, bluegill, and trout then using crickets is the way to go. They are a plentiful and natural food source. You’ll find that really most species of fish will eat crickets. It’s a great fishing bait and could be your secret go-to when the bite is tough!
Have some fun and fish with crickets!
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of fish can you catch with crickets?
All kinds! Most fish eat crickets, especially in freshwater environments. It is common for crickets to be washed into streams and ponds after rains in the warmer months, and the fish gobble them right up! They are especially popular for panfish like bluegill, pumpkinseed, and trout love them too. They’re great baits for things like crappie, perch, and bass too.
Can you fish with dead crickets?
Yes, fish aren’t too picky when the bait is real. Even if the cricket is dead, the smell will get out into the water and the fish will be drawn to it. If you’re in the right place with lots of structure and you can see the fish activity of panfish swimming around, then I’d bet they would bite almost as soon as it went in the water. So, it really doesn’t matter if they’re dead or alive.
How do you catch crickets fast?
There are several different traps you could make to catch crickets, but the two that seem to work the best are the soda bottle method and the duct tape method. In the soda bottle method, you are luring them into the trap by putting a fine layer of sugar at the bottom of the bottle. Once they pass through the inverted top, they can’t find their way back out.
The duct tape method is great if you know the area where the crickets like to be so that you lay out a strip of tape with the sticky side up in that area. You leave it overnight because crickets are nocturnal, and when you check it in the morning you should find several crickets stuck to the tape when they tried to walk across it.
Will largemouth bass eat crickets?
The largemouth bass is an aggressive predatory fish that will attack almost anything that moves. They are also opportunistic and will definitely suck down some crickets if they find them struggling on the surface. It is a popular meal for most fish, and bass is no exception to that. You’ll likely find that you will be able to catch both large and small bass using crickets.
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