Cricket fishing is the latest trend here in the states, but it’s actually been practiced in parts of Asia for decades. Now it’s spreading quickly to North America, predominantly by people looking for an exciting new way to catch bass, panfish, and catfish. Since crickets can be raised and sold for less than a penny each, they add no overhead cost to your fishing experience.
But First, Why Fish With Crickets?
This type of bait holds in its tiny body a ton of merits that place it at the top of the list of preferable live baits for anglers anywhere. They’re just the right size to purposefully attract all types of freshwater fish.
Plus, they enjoy a wiggly movement and a potent odor; both highly enticing to the surrounding fish. Nonetheless, that’s not the end of it, rather the beginning!
An artificial bait, on the other hand, won’t offer you any of these characteristics. You’ll resort to enhancing your artificial bait using products; such as olfactory oils for glugging, and dyes for a pop of color.
1. Available and Affordable
As the warmer months start hitting, you’ll find that this versatile bait is present in abundance around waterfronts, as the crickets were flushed down by the rain. There, this live fishing bait will seek shelters in shaded areas, as they don’t survive very well in extreme temperatures.
Subsequently, you can end up taking them from nature for free, or you can buy them, and in this case, you’ll find yourself paying a maximum of a penny for a cricket with which you can snag 10-lb largemouth bass!
2. Enticing Bait
Crickets, along with maggots and grasshoppers, are some great choices of natural nutrition, and fishing bait, for a variety of fish species. Each one of them has their own merits, as for crickets, it’s mostly their pattern of movement, which the fish can’t escape.
They’re wiggly and full of proteins, subsequently, they produce a feeling of utter satisfaction when ingested by both small and large fish species.
3. Low Maintenance
When casting with crickets as your bait, you don’t need to tailor your fishing gear to suit that. All in all, crickets are low maintenance, no matter the species of fish you’re hunting.
That is as long as you don’t intend to keep them alive for too long. That is a whole other process that requires a lot of work to preserve their delicate lives.
But, if you’re only catching a cricket for the fishing adventure of the day, you needn’t bother with anything other than hooking it properly, which we’ll discuss later on. Other than that, you don’t need to purchase any rods, reels, or lines that would suit crickets exclusively.
Yet, some hooks are preferable to others, as they allow you to hook the maggot without killing it; courtesy of their slimness. Our favorites are the Aberdeen Hook, and the Long Shanked.
Now, How to Fish With Crickets?
Now that we’ve gone on and on about the benefits of cricket fishing, we’ll walk you through the steps of this process. We know it might seem a bit too complicated for beginners, due to the delicacy of crickets in general and their short lifespans once they’re hooked.
1. Obtain Said Crickets
But first, we must obtain the crickets one way or another. If you aren’t farming crickets by the hundreds in proper circumstances; such as a water tank, wet sponges for hydration, bread, sugar, and oatmeal for nutrition, and adequate temperatures, then you’ll resort to either buying or catching crickets.
You would be surprised at the number of outlets through which you can get crickets. Firstly, we have bait stores and tackle stores where you can get all these insects for very good prices, such as maggots, grasshoppers, and crickets.
Next, we have pet stores, which sell crickets as food to other animals; lizards and snakes. Last but certainly not least, there are so many avid anglers who choose to farm their own crickets so they have an endless supply for their favorite lakes.
Surely they won’t be able to use all these crickets, so they end up selling some of them to their fellow anglers. It’s like their own little bait shop.
Now we’re onto the fun segment. Surely everyone remembers going around the banks of lakes and collecting all sorts of organisms; frogs, rabbits, insects, etc. as children.
Let us rekindle this spirit in order to catch crickets. Just keep in mind they’re not to be found in the cold weather. Hence, don’t waste your time looking for crickets during the winter and the fall, no matter the technique, or the circumstances of the lakes.
As a result, it’s a much better choice to start this journey as a summer fishing adventure as the summer months approach. Your window will remain open till late summer, so have no worries.
Duct Tape Trap
This is probably the easiest way of catching crickets. You bring a piece of duct tape and lay it on its back, with its sticky side up in a spot that you know to be infested with the crickets. You can leave it there so that it interrupts their path and catches them, or you can sprinkle some bread and sugar on top to attract crickets.
Leave it overnight, and empty the crickets into a jar the next day. Don’t forget to make holes in the jar for the crickets to breathe, and if you plan on keeping them for a little while, add a wet sponge for their hydration and some food.
Plastic Bottle Trap
Bring a plastic bottle that you don’t need, preferably a 2-L one, and cut off the top part so that you widen the opening.
Clean any previous liquid that was inside of the bottle and replace it with some crushed bread and sugar. Just like the duck tape, leave it in a place where you’ve previously seen crickets marching overnight.
In the morning, you’ll find that you have a significant number of crickets trapped inside of the bottle as most of them can’t get out through the funnel end. The same precautions go here; make holes for the breathing, and ensure they’re eating and drinking adequately.
Take your mixture of crushed bread and sugar and sprinkle it anywhere you’ve seen crickets. Then take a single sheet of newspaper and place it over this mixture overnight.
Crickets will gather under the newspaper in order to feed, and in the morning, you’ll have a trophy catch of crickets that you can store in any container.
2. Learn How to Hook Them
Now, this is the messy part. Without any external threats, crickets have a very short lifespan; a change in the weather can easily kill them. If you decide to put a bowl for them to drink out of, they’ll probably fall in this water source, and drown.
So, keeping them alive is a challenging task, and anglers took that to a whole new level as they tried to poke a hole in these tiny creatures to hook them, and have them bait ready. So, let’s learn how to do that.
Grab the bait gently from its abdomen, and flex the crickets head to the front so that its back is exposed. Take your hook of choice and make a lean puncture in the hard external shell of the cricket so that it comes out of the other side.
Be careful not to cut the cricket’s body as that will kill it immediately, and you’ll have lost all the privileges of the live wiggling bait. Finally, move the cricket so that it lies on the shaft of the hook comfortably. The irony!
3. Determine What Fish You’re Looking For
This part is related to the fishes you’re going after. In general, some of these hungry fish are classified as top-feeders, which means they eat at the top of the water column on the surface of the water.
On the other hand, others are bottom feeders, which means that they feed amongst piles of debris on the floor. Either way, crickets are always a favorite bait amongst different species.
For instance, Bass, Yellow Perch, and Carp are all mostly bottom feeders, which means that you’d have to utilize crickets as dead bait. They’ll still be able to get the job done extraordinarily, thanks to the use of weights, which will hold the bait down while still allowing the cricket to float a little bit creating some sort of movement for the benefit of the unsuspecting fish.
We also have Crappie which prefers to feed below the surface of the water, but not at the button, so we have the middle of the water column to search for Crappie.
Finally, we have Trout, Bream, and Bluegill, which are all top feeders. These three species stick to the water surface, enjoying all of the water action brought on by the water current. Subsequently, they make the most out of the cricket bai, as it dances around.
Crickets are a part of the grasshopper family and are considered a great live bait for countless fishes; smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, striped bass, white perch, walleye, crappie, and so many more. Hence, choose your timing wisely, know your bait options, practice, unrelentingly, on how to properly hook crickets, learn to cast gently, and understand the steady water ahead of you.