I have caught bass in the past but they have always been small largemouth bass or smallmouth bass. And this is with wax worms that I often use when fishing with my dad. My dad caught a big largemouth bass with an earthworm once. The day after I had fried bass for breakfast.

In case you would need to know where I often fish, I often fish at Alum Creek Lake because it is a decent place to fish for bass.

Going back to the worms that I use, I often get a bite from a small sunfish such as bluegill. I know that sunfish make up a large part of a largemouth bass' diet. I also know that wherever I find small sunfish, I am sure to find some bass.

So would leaving the sunfish on the hook if I get a bite attract a largemouth bass even more than the worms do, even though I am risking that I will lose either the sunfish or the bass this way?

  • Just random thoughts: I don't each LMB, they're not the best tasting but anything fried tastes the same. Alum Creek is great for crappie - my choice for eating fish. I live in Medina. MedinaFreemason on FishBrain. Take a 3/0 - 5/0 hook, put it through a small sunfish (about 3-5 inches long) and cast it out under a large bobber and get ready. May 9, 2017 at 20:37
  • youtube.com/watch?v=equT7OD56XM May 9, 2017 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


You can certainly use smaller panfish for bait, but you can't just leave it on the hook as you caught it and hope to catch that second fish. You will have to remove the hook and reset it where it will hook the larger fish and wont simply be ripped out in the energetic largemouth strike. Thread it through the meaty portion of the dorsal fin on their back. You might need a larger hook. The goal is to avoid organs so you don't kill the fish and give the hook a stronger place to stay in should that bass take it.

You'll want to use only the smallest baitfish you catch, typically well under 6". If the panfish is too large, you might be passing up some nice medium-sized bass who will likely pass it over for an easier meal.

But there is one caveat:

The Legality of Using Panfish as Bait

Some states have banned using certain panfish as a baitfish. Don't risk that hefty fine; check you local fishing laws. There is often a sign next to the main boat ramp at most major lakes listing the laws of the local waters.

Also keep in mind that if there is a length limit for keeping a panfish, that will also apply to your bait. And often, only fish caught in that water can be used as bait on that water. Live game often cannot be moved away from a body with a few very limited exceptions, so be careful with that. Also keep in mind that any fish caught and used as bait will count towards your daily limit. For example, if you can only keep 25 panfish, that will include fish that were used as bait. Any fish that is not released immediately must be counted toward your daily bag limit, even if you later release it or lose it to a bigger fish.


Don't use an intact sunfish as bait. cut it up and use the cut pieces on your hook.

But, as far as attracting and hooking big largemouths, while at the same time deterring other types of fish, what I have found to be the best are crawdad lures and buzz-bait. Both of these are excellent. The buzz bait are large and noisy, this tends to discourage the smaller fish from trying, and it tends to excite the predatory instinct in the larger largemouth bass. I have never caught a small fish on a buzz-bait. It's always been good, healthy sized ones. The crawdad lure is also excellent. Crawdads are almost ubiquitous in any type of lake, it's a natural prey of the bass. You will get some smaller bass on these, but you'll never get a sunfish.

Getting bass on nightcrawlers also works, but not as effective as the lures I mentioned, and in my experience you need to be reeling in the nightcrawler in order to attract the bass.

  • I didn't downvote, but I'd have to say that cut sunfish is great for catfish, but would suck for Bass as they like something that moves unless they're really hungry. Your answer has great tips for fishing for LMB but it expands the scope of the question - he just wants to know if he can use bluegill as bait. Imagine if I asked, "Can I use a Huffy Bike to ride to work?" and you answered, "Use a car" May 9, 2017 at 20:46
  • @DanAndrews makes sense. May 10, 2017 at 2:51

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