Best Bait For Tilapia & Tips to Catching Tilapia

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Last Updated on December 18, 2022

When it comes to catching tilapia, you need to know the best bait for tilapia to make your angling rewarding. To be successful in fishing tilapia, you need to master some skills and be patient to boost your likelihood of catching fish.

Tilapia fish is mainly herbivores and they are a shy type of fish, making them tricky to entice or lure. We will give you the best bait for tilapia to increase your chances of successfully catching tilapia anytime you go out to fish. So, let’s explore.

Best Bait to Use for Tilapia

The best part is tilapias are herbivores therefore you don’t need to spend your money on costly bait such as minnows or nightcrawlers. Their collection of food comprises algae and other little aquatic plants. Below is some of the best bait to catch tilapia fish:

1. Pea: Peas are great bait for tilapia and we recommend using a frozen pea so they can stay well on the hook. You can easily purchase peas from the stores, online, etc. Whether you make use of shelled green peas or canned peas, they are all the same.

Best Bait to Use for Tilapia - Peas

2. Corn: Corn is the most common bait used by fishermen. The five types of corn used in angling include frozen corn, feed corn, canned sweet corn, imitation corn, and flavored corn bait. The most productive corn bait amidst this corn is frozen corn and canned sweet corn. Apart from luring tilapia, corn also lures trout, catfish, and perch.

3. Bread balls: if pea or corn is not easy to get, you can make use of bread balls. Also if the bread ball does not stay well on the hook, you can freeze the balls. This way, the balls get hard enough to let the hook penetrate and stay well.

4. Earthworms: you can also opt for earthworms for catching tilapia fish and you can obtain earthworms from vermicomposting. Ensure they are looking like little invertebrates to enhance the chances of these tilapia fish eating them.

Read more about Where to Buy Fish for Aquaponics Systems

Tips on How to Catch Tilapia Fish Successfully

Apart from obtaining the right bait, you need also to know and learn some tips on how to successfully catch a tilapia fish. Here are some tips for successfully catching tilapia fish:

  • Spawning Season, the Best Period to Fish for tilapia: the most productive time to fish for tilapia is during their spawning season. Spawning usually occurs when the water temperature drops 60 degrees Fahrenheit. During this period, tilapias are extremely territorial and they attack anything that comes in the way of their spawning beds. This will improve the chances of hooking down the fish increasing your catch.
Spawning Season, the Best Period to Fish for Tilapia
  • Shallow Angling: the shallow waters are ideal for angling. This is because, during the spawning period, tilapia prefers to spawn in shallow waters. This is because there is adequate vegetation and they can hide from predators and other fish.
  • Dodge their Spawning Bed: refrain from getting too close to their spawning beds. Tilapias are shy and can be easily spooked. You don’t want to chase them away and miss the opportunity of catching them. Instead, you can fish from the shore.
  • Time of the Day to Catch Tilapia: it is ideal to catch tilapia any time of the day. However, to increase your chances, fish during the early sunrise, evenings during sunset, and midday.
  • Hook Bait the Right Way: sometimes, anglers are not aware their bait has been mouthed by the tilapia fish. Use short lures rather than big lures so you can get a strong hook and ensure the tip of the hook is exposed. Some good tip if you’re a beginner is to take time to practice how to hook various lures.

Soft Fishing Lures, Bass Fishing Lures, 70 pcs Crawfish Baits with Sinker, Fishing Hooks

When you’ve successfully caught a tilapia fish, handle the hooked fish with care. You want to avoid tearing the fragile mouth of the tilapia off the hook. We suggest you delay about 5 seconds to set the hook as the fish fight before bringing up the fish rod.

How to Make Dough Bait for Tilapia?

You can use this simple recipe for dough bait to better your chances of catching big tilapia: 

The ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of water


  1. Mix the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Gradually add water to the dry ingredients. Stir it constantly. Mix everything until it forms a dough that’s firm and pliable but not sticky.
  3. Divide the dough into small balls. You can keep a golf ball in mind when thinking about size.
  4. Use the raw dough balls on your hook!

Note: Be sure to use fresh, high-quality dough balls as bait. Old or stale dough balls may be less effective at attracting fish. 

How Do You Catch Big Tilapia?

You can up your chances of catching big tilapia if you use the right bait, fishing techniques, and equipment. Here are some tips to help you:

Use The Right Bait: Tilapia are opportunistic feeders. This means they’ll eat just about anything they get! Dough bait, worms, and corn are all effective. 

Use a Heavier Weight: Tilapia are not the strongest fish. Typically, using heavy weights is not necessary. But if you want to catch the big ones, you need to get your bait down to the bottom where the bigger tilapia roam. 

Use a Longer Rod: You do not need a heavy-duty rod to catch tilapia, but a long one can give you more leverage. 

Use The Right Fishing Techniques: Tilapia are more active during the early morning and late afternoon. These are the best times to go after the big ones. You should also use moving bait. A slow, steady retrieve can help you catch bigger fish. 

Note: Be patient when trying to catch tilapia, especially the big ones. Keep your bait in the water for as long as possible, and be ready to set the hook when you feel a bite. 

How Do You Fish for Tilapia in a Pond?

Fishing tilapia in a pond slightly differs from fishing in a lake or river. While you can still use the same bait and technique, your fishing equipment will change:

Use a Lighter Weight: Ponds aren’t as deep. You don’t need a heavyweight to sink your bait. Light weights will help keep your bait flowing more naturally in the water and make it appealing to the fish. 

Use a Shorter Rod: A short rod will be easier to maneuver in a pond and allow you to quickly set the hook if you feel a bite. 

How Big Is The Tilapia Fish?

There are many tilapia species. Each varies in size. The environment they live in and their diet also greatly influence how big they grow. Typically, these fish range from 6 to 12 inches. Some species are known for being bigger, and lengths of up to 2 feet have been recorded. 

How Much Does a Tilapia Fish Weight?

Tilapia fish vary in weight. Generally, these fish weigh between 0.5 and 1.5 pounds. Species that grow larger can weigh up to 3 pounds. Factors like sex, age, and overall health influence this. 

Can You Use Tilapia as Fishing Bait?

Tilapia is not a good fishing bait. It’s also not typically used. This fish is not known as an effective fish in attracting other fish commonly sought after by anglers. 

When used live, tilapia is bony, and predators prefer easier meals. If they do attack, they usually go for the stomach and miss the hook. You can use cut-up tilapia pieces or fingerlings if you want to give this bait a go. 

Better yet, use the bait known for attracting your target species. This usually includes worms, insects, and smaller fish species. 

Tilapia Fishing Bait – Take Away

The best baits for tilapia as we outlined are peas, corn, bread balls, and earthworms. Apart from these baits, we recommend you follow our tips on how to successfully catch tilapia to increase your chances of catching tilapia.

Also, the best time to fish for the delicious tilapia is their spawning period. You should as well avoid getting close to their spawning beds so you don’t spook them. Remember they are the shy type of fish

An important note is to be aware if there is public free access to fishing in a particular fishing spot. In the United States, not all fishing locations are permitted angling.


What is the best bait for catching tilapia?

Tilapia love to eat shrimp, crab legs, and worms. They are also known to eat some lures.

The best bait for catching tilapia are live minnows, because they are small and move in the water. The only problem with live minnows is that they must be cleaned and gutted before using them as bait. I usually use live minnows for night fishing, because it's easier to find fish that come after night feeding. For day fishing I use dead minnows.

What will tilapia eat?

Tilapia are usually fed a diet of live food such as insects, worms and flake food. Some tilapia are also fed brine shrimp or blood worms. The food should be fed at intervals so that the fish does not get bored. Feeding Tilapia should be fed on a regular basis, but not every day.

Tilapia can survive for up to 4 months without food. However, the average lifespan of a tilapia is around 6 months. The food should be mixed into a specific proportion of water and poured into the aquarium. It should be added on top of the water. The food should be eaten by the fish within 30 minutes of being added. Tilapia should never be fed dry food as it will cause the tilapia to have stomach problems.

Is bread good fish bait?

Bread is a good bait for catching tilapia. It will keep the fish interested in the bait. You can use whole wheat, white, or any other type of bread.

Bread is an easy bait to make. Just cut the bread into pieces and put them in a bag with some cornmeal. Shake the bag until the bread is mixed together with the cornmeal. Tilapia are native to tropical and subtropical regions. They prefer to live in shallow water and they do not like to be too deep. The water temperature should be between 65 and 70 degrees. They are mainly nocturnal feeders and they can be found near the bottom of the river or lake.

Can I feed rice to tilapia?

The answer is yes, if you are a true believer in the theory of fish-meal substitution. It will help keep your fish healthier and give them the nutrition they need to grow at their full potential. It is not recommended to feed your tilapia more than twice a week.

How do I clean tilapia?

Tilapia is a fresh water fish and therefore has no "fishy" smell or taste. The best way to clean them is by brushing away any dirt or debris. Then rinse the fish well under cold running water.

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