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By Dan Beard

Fig. 94. 
The Caddis

Butterflies, moths, caterpillars, bumblebees, Mayflies, caddis-flies (Fig. 94, E), blue-bottle flies, and meal-worms, all make good bait at times. Meal-worms are to be found around old floor-mills, an with little trouble may be reared at home in musty meal.

Bottom Bait-Bran and Bread

The buffalo-fish of the Western rivers, the German carp, lately introduced in many of our lakes and ponds, goldfish, and many other small fish, are fond of bread or dough, but these articles are difficult to manage, for the water washes them off the book.

I have seen fishermen on the Ohio River mix cornmeal with cotton, or roll it into balls, and tie them up in bits of mosquito netting, and bait their book with these balls. Another method is to soak some bread until it is thoroughly saturated, then squeeze the water out and knead it with bran and meal until it become, tough, like putty.

Other Bait

Boys, as a rule, are all fond of fishing, and, furthermore, are almost without exception bait fishermen leaving the use of artificial flies, spoon-hooks, and other like devices to their fathers and older brothers.

The almost universal bait of the small boy is the earthworm, garden-worm, angle-worm, or fish-worm, as it is variously called; but there are other equally as good, if not better baits named in this chapter, so that the boys may not be at a loss for lack of knowledge of what to use as bait.

As a rule, almost any small live creature will serve in an emergency. Even live mice make good bait for large trout, and I have known fish to swallow small birds that fell in the water while fighting. Cheese is a good bait for chubs, and boiled shrimp for perch and even salmon. Paste made of bread or dough and mixed with mashed shrimp, or sweetened with sugar or honey and colored red to attract attention some writers claim is good for dace, carp, etc.

Fish-spawn is called a poacher's bait. Caddis-worms, to be found in the bottom of ponds and brooks, are a killing bait. Caddis-worms build themselves little log-cabins or houses of stone, which they carry around, as a snail does its shell. They may be picked off the underside of stones and plants, and kept in a can with wet moss or aquatic plants (Fig. 94, A, C, B, and D).

Fish bite when they are so inclined, and no bait that I have ever used is certain to tempt them. I have used live hellgramites and minnows with no luck, while a boy beside me caught a four-pound bass on an angle-worm. Experience, observation, and an assortment of bait are what fill your fish-basket.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.