Is Bacon Good Fishing Bait? A Comprehensive Guide

Bacon is one of those divisive foods that people either love or hate. But whether you’re a bacon fanatic or think it’s overhyped, most anglers agree that it makes surprisingly effective fishing bait.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using bacon as bait to catch more fish, including:

  • Why fish find bacon irresistible
  • What types of fish it works for
  • How to rig it on your line
  • Bacon grease and other alternatives
  • Tips from experienced bacon bait anglers

So if you’re looking for an inexpensive, easy-to-find bait that catches fish, keep reading to learn why bacon should be in every angler’s tackle box

Why Fish Love Bacon

To understand why bacon makes such great bait, you first need to know what fish look for in a meal. Fish are attracted to baits that have these characteristics

  • Strong Scent – Fish find food through their excellent sense of smell. Baits that give off an appetizing aroma will draw fish from a greater distance.

  • Oiliness – Oily, fatty baits create a flavorful slick in the water that appeals to fish’s taste buds.

  • Texture – Soft, mushy baits that easily fall apart are preferable since they’re easy for fish to eat.

As you may have guessed, bacon has all three of these attributes in spades. The salty, smoky, fatty flavor produces an oil slick that stimulates fish’s sensitive olfactory and taste receptors. And the soft, fatty texture is as close to a live bait as you can get with prepared bait.

In essence, bacon triggers all of a fish’s feeding instincts, making it almost irresistible as bait. While live baits like worms or minnows may work better in some cases, bacon is hard for fish to pass up.

Best Fish Species to Target

While oily, pungent baits like bacon work for most popular game fish, some species find it especially enticing. Here are the top fish to target with bacon bait:

Catfish – No fish loves bacon more than the whiskered catfish. Catfish feed primarily by smell, so bacon’s rich aroma is a dinner bell for them. They’ll also devour the fatty meat once they find it. Channel, blue, and flathead catfish will all readily take bacon bait.

Carp – Like catfish, carp rely heavily on scent to locate food. They also feed off the bottom where bacon bait sinks. And as omnivores, they’ll happily accept meat-based baits. Carp fishing with bacon can produce some trophy-sized fish.

Bass – While not as scent-oriented as catfish and carp, bass can’t resist the smell and taste of bacon. The oily slick signals an easy meal, while the soft texture is perfect for their powerful jaws. Bass may sample the bait more lightly, but will often still get hooked.

Trout – Normally picky trout will bite bacon, especially oily salmonid species like rainbow trout. The strong flavor masks any unnatural smells and makes the bacon hard for trout to ignore. Bacon works well for trout under most conditions.

Sunfish – Scrappy panfish like bluegills, crappies, and perch attack baits boldly, even unusual ones like bacon. They swarm oily baits in particular. Bacon gives you great action when targeting these feisty biters.

Those are the top targets, but bacon can also work for walleyes, pike, gar, stripers, and other aggressive game fish. Don’t be afraid to test it out on the species in your local waters.

Preparing Bacon for Bait

To get the best results, there are a few tips for prepping bacon as bait:

  • Use raw bacon – Cooked bacon loses much of its oil and scent. You want raw, uncooked bacon.

  • Choose fatty strips – Opt for bacon from the fattier areas like the belly rather than leaner back bacon. More fat equals more flavor.

  • Refrigerate until using – Keep the bacon cold to prevent spoiling but take it out ahead of time to warm up before threading on the hook.

  • Cut into 1-2 inch chunks – Long strips tear off too easily. Smaller chunks stay secured to the hook better.

  • Thread onto hook well – Make sure the bacon is pierced through several times so it doesn’t pull loose under pressure.

  • Consider adding bait scents – For extra attraction, you can soak your bacon chunks in bait sprays or scent solutions.

Follow those tips, and your bacon bait will be irresistible to fish. The only drawback is that you’ll go through bacon quickly when the fish are really biting!

Using Bacon Grease and Lard

One way to make your bacon last longer is to bait hooks with bacon grease or lard instead. This oily byproduct of cooking bacon can be just as effective for a fraction of the cost.

There are a couple ways to fish with bacon grease:

  • Rub on soft baits – Bread balls, corn, and prepared fish baits will all soak up bacon grease. The scent boosts their appeal.

  • Use in bait bags – Add bacon grease to mesh bait bags, lip hooked bags, or scent wafers for a diy fish attractant.

The sticky grease can also be molded into small balls or cubes by placing in the fridge or freezer. The solidified fat melts once back in the water, dispersing scent.

Bacon lard works similarly to grease. Stir lard into ground bait or chum to send oily particles downstream. You can also add lard to soft plastics to make your own scented lures.

So even if you don’t have raw bacon handy, the leftover grease and drippings can still help you catch more fish.

Field Tested Bacon Bait Tips

Over the years, anglers have discovered many clever ways to fish with bacon more effectively and reap the benefits of its fish-catching prowess:

  • Cut slits into chunks of raw hotdogs, then insert small strips of bacon into the slits for a smelly, meaty bait combo. The hotdog stretches out the bacon so you need less.

  • Dust pieces of bacon with garlic powder, anise powder, or other strong spices for extra scent dispersion in the water. Powder adheres well to the greasy bacon.

  • Wrap chunks of bacon around mini marshmallows to make a very soft, sticky bait that keeps the bacon securely on the hook. The sweetness masks human scent too.

  • Weave bacon strips through holes drilled in shelled peanuts for a nutty flavor and more rigidity to prevent bait loss. The peanuts also absorb the smelly oil.

  • For catfish, clip a small circle of bacon around the shaft of a treble hook near the bend. The extra scent coming off the treble helps trigger strikes.

As you can see, there are all kinds of innovative ways to bait up with bacon. Don’t be afraid to experiment to see what works best on the fish species in your local waters.

Drawbacks and Precautions

While bacon can absolutely catch fish, it does have some limitations anglers should keep in mind:

  • Messiness – Bacon is greasy and can be messy to handle and store. Keep wet wipes or paper towels handy.

  • Durability – Soft bacon falls off hooks easier than tougher baits. Check your rigs frequently for bait loss.

  • Scent Diffusion – The smell dissipates more quickly compared to manufactured baits. Re-bait every 15-30 minutes.

  • Purists Objections – Some anglers frown on using food items like bacon as “unnatural” baits for game fish.

  • Cost – Buying packs of bacon specifically for bait can get pricey if you go through a lot of it.

As long as you understand these downsides and work to minimize them, none are deal-breakers for using bacon. With the right precautions, bacon’s upsides far outweigh the drawbacks.

Final Take – Bacon is a Great Bait

If this guide has convinced you to start keeping some raw bacon in your tackle box, you’re bound to be pleased with the results. Pound for pound, very few baits work as universally well across different fish species as humble bacon.

Its convenience, affordability, and fish-catching prowess explain why bacon has become a staple bait for seasoned anglers. Once you try it, you too will understand why bacon has earned a reputation as one of the best baits for catching more fish of all types.

So tie on a greasy chunk of bacon the next time you’re fishing and see how well it produces. You might just find that basic bacon is all you need to fill your stringer. When it comes to fishing baits, bacon sizzles!

Using BACON as Fishing Bait (Does it work?)


What is the best food for fishing bait?

There are many foods in your kitchen that also work well as bait, particularly for catfish and carp. Chicken and chicken skin, hot dogs, corn, dough (for pastries or bread), bread and biscuits, bagels, and chic peas are just a few. Dry animal chows (pellets), such as those fed to rabbits, are also good.

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