How to Catch Different Types of Fish

We asked pro angler Tom Redington how he lands prizewinning fish — and how you can, too. Here are his hints for catching various species of fish.


bassTactic: Wacky Worm

Tackle needed: 4- to 7-inch plastic worm, size 1 to 1/0 worm hook, a few small nails (for weight)

Where: Shallow areas (5 feet deep or less) in ponds and lakes

Key spots: Near any “cover” or hiding areas like lily pads, cattails, laydown trees and docks

How-to: Tie the hook to your line and then run your hook through the middle of the worm. Push one or two small nails into the end of the worm. The slow fall of the worm makes an easy meal for bass, so use just enough nails to allow you to cast (fewer nails = slower fall = more bites). Cast your wacky worm and let it fall on a slack line when it hits the water. Once it hits bottom, let it sit in place for about 5 seconds. Next, reel up the slack in your line and hop the worm toward the surface with a couple of gentle raises of your rod, then let the worm fall back down to the bottom on slack line again. Let the worm sit in place each time for about 5 seconds, and repeat this 5 or 6 times each cast; then reel in your worm and cast it back out. When a fish bites, you’ll either feel a tick on the line or just see your line swimming off to the side. If either of these things happen, reel up the slack and snap your rod to set the hook and you’ll be hooked up!

Bonus tip: Use a weedless hook with a weed guard to help reduce snags.


troutTactic: Shallow Cranking

Tackle needed: 2-inch or smaller crankbait that runs 4 feet or shallower, in natural minnow or crawfish colors

Where: Clear rocky streams and rivers

Key spots: Areas where fast current meets slow or slack current — behind boulders and laydown trees, beginning and end of rapids

How-to: Trout and smallmouth bass live in many clear, rocky streams across the country. Trout are normally found in colder streams, especially those starting in the mountains. Smallmouth live in warmer streams and rivers. Small crankbaits look like minnows when moving near the top of the water and look similar to a crawfish when they are hitting rocks on the bottom. Cast your crankbait upriver and bring your bait down with the current, reeling it at a steady pace. Fish are hiding around changes in the current, so steer your bait directly through these spots. Slowly crawl your lure through big rocks and trees in the water, and then pause it for a second after it gets past them. Many bites will come as you stop and start it. With a little practice, the bill of your crankbait will help it come through rocks and trees without snagging.

Bonus tip: The larger the bill on a crankbait, the deeper it runs. Try a few different models of crankbaits, and
select one that occasionally hits the bottom.


crappieTactic: Jigging

Tackle needed: Small jigs that are about 1 inch long and weigh 1⁄32 to 1⁄8 ounces, in various colors and materials

Where: Shallow areas (5 feet deep or less) in ponds and lakes

Key spots: Near shallow cover like those for largemouth bass, spawning beds

How-to: Large groups of bluegill and other sunfish will spawn around cover in shallow water from late spring through summer, making for very good fishing. To spot spawning beds, wear polarized fishing sunglasses and look for groups of 10 to 50 dinner-plate-size dark circles in an area. Small light jigs work best on small fishing line, so tie them to 4- to 8-pound test line. Cast them around shallow rocks, weeds, docks and logs, letting them slowly fall to the bottom. Hop your jig off the bottom with small lifts of your rod, and work your bait halfway back to your boat or the shore with a hop-and-drop retrieve. Panfish and crappie are often aggressive and attracted to bright and shiny baits, so experiment with flashy jigs with some orange, yellow, pink or silver mixed in. Different materials have different actions, too; sometimes the fish like the subtle action of jigs made from hair or marabou, while other days the wild action of jigs with plastic or tinsel skirts is better.

Bonus tip: If the bite is tough, try putting a small section of a worm or adding a small minnow to your jig’s hook and let your bait sit on the bottom with long pauses.


catfishTactic: Worm and Bobber

Tackle needed: Bobber, hook, split-shot sinkers, earthworms

Where: Any river, pond or lake where fish swim

Key spots: Cast repeatedly to any place where you catch a fish

How-to: This technique is how most of us learn to fish and has probably caught more fish than all other baits combined. Tie a hook to your line and then attach a bobber 12 to 36 inches above the hook (shorter distance when fishing shallow and longer when fishing deeper). Crimp a small split-shot sinker on your line below the bobber. Depending on the size of the sinker and the bobber, you might have to use more than one. Use enough weight so the bobber will stand up, but not so much that your bobber will sink. Next, thread an earthworm on your hook, making sure to run the hook point through the worm a few times so it doesn’t fly off during the cast. Cast your worm out, and let it drift with the current or the wind. Cast up-river when there is current or upwind if not, and your worm and bobber will naturally drift down to the fish. The natural look, smell and taste of live bait like worms attract fish, and they find it hard to resist this combo. Fish will often nibble at the worm at first, so wait until the bobber goes under the water to set the hook. Big catfish and carp love this offering, which makes for a great battle. In addition, many different types of fish will eat a worm; you never know what you
might catch throwing this rig.

Bonus tip: Use a live minnow instead of a worm; this works for just about all types of fish.


  1. actually to catch big cats you don’t use a bobber u use a sinker then tighten the line my dad caught a 8 lb blue catfish that way

  2. I have fished with a worm and bobber since I was a kid. I always tried crazy techniques to catch fish as a kid found several that worked well. My husband made fun of me when he saw my fishing techniques, til I was catching all the fish!!!! He is always telling people what crazy fishing techniques I have, that actually work. LOL He now tries some of my techniques. Glad I was a kid who thought outside the box!!!

  3. I liked how it tells you how to fish for crappies and stuff. When i go fishing i do pretty much the same thing. Bass i make rigs that they sell in stores. They work and it think if you just try and fish alot you can find out about fish. If you live up by where it gets cold you could use little spinners early in the year. I would say that this was pretty good though.

  4. At Pineview reservoir (UT), I’ve been using that catfish tip for a few years before it was tipped, and I can attest that it works very well for mud cats. Another great bait for catfish is bloody dough.

  5. I am 54 years oil and am just starting to fish and I am glad there are still people out there that just will help no strings ill let you know how I do thank you very much for how to tie knots and tips.

  6. What else do you recommend for grass carb? They are in a farm pond and I couldn’t get them to bite on anything

  7. What do you recommend for these finicky trout that won’t bite my natural powerbait trout worms, inline spinners or kastmasters

    Note this pond hasn’t been stocked in a few weeks

  8. All of this is very strong advice. As a fisherman, we know that it is very important to know what different types of baits to throw when it comes to fishing for different species of fish. Well done.

  9. Something I tried out of desperation on a fishing trip that got some fish in the frying pan. Startled out bass fishing but had no luck and was about to leave when I thought about what I packed for a snack. I have seen bluegill caught with cheese ( didn’t have any ) but I did have something that most animals and people will eat – peanut butter. I caught 6 that were about 10 “ long in less than an hour and had supper when I got home. Just proves that sometimes you have to think outside the box- tackle box anyway. A good thick peanut butter recommended or cold so it will hold together on hook longer. May your cast be long and your string never break.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.