How to Use Crayfish for Bait

by Richard Toole
Crayfish can be used as fishing bait for various kinds of fish.

Crayfish can be used as fishing bait for various kinds of fish.

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Crayfish, also known as crawfish or crawdads, are small aquatic freshwater crustaceans. Crayfish look very much like tiny lobsters, with a similar body shape, and two front pincers. There are well over 100 species of crayfish, all of which live predominantly in freshwater streams and creeks. Crayfish are often used as fishing bait, and are a favorite meal of largemouth and smallmouth bass, catfish, carp and pike. Crayfish can be acquired at most fishing or bait shops, or you can catch them yourself at a local creek.

Items you will need

  • Dip net (if needed)
  • Live well or cooler
  • Knife
  • Fishing hook
Step 1

Acquire some crayfish. Buy some crayfish at a local bait shop, or catch some yourself with a net. Look under rocks in a creek, and watch for the crayfish to swim backward in a quick, jerky motion. If you are purchasing crayfish, buy only those that are 3 inches in length or smaller or they will be too large for some fish to try to eat.

Step 2

Place the crayfish in a live well, or a Styrofoam cooler. Keep the water temperature around 50 degrees F. If the water gets too warm, the crayfish will not survive more than a few hours. Go to your fishing spot.

Step 3

Hold a crayfish in one hand, with its tail pointing forward. Grasp a fishing hook with your other hand. Hook the crayfish through its tail, about 1/2 inch from the very end of the tail. By hooking it through the tail, it will allow the crayfish to move around after you cast your line, which will attract more fish.

Step 4

Loop the hook through the back of the crayfish if fish are stealing your bait before you can set the hook. Hooking through the tail allows the crayfish to move around more, but also make it easier for fish to eat them without getting hooked. Slide the hook shallowly through the back of its shell, just behind its head. Do not slip the hook into the body too deeply or you will kill the crayfish.

Step 5

Cut the tail off and just use the tail for bait. Use a knife to cut the meaty part of the tail from the rest of the body. Slide the tail over the entire length of the fishing hook to secure it. Using the tail makes it difficult for fish to steal your bait, but it will not provide any additional movement like a live crayfish will.

Photo Credits

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