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Best Tilapia Bait (Catch’em All Guide)

Best Tilapia Bait

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Tilapia is a freshwater fish popular with many anglers because of its mild-tasting flesh. This species is a native of the Middle East and Africa, but they are now naturally found in some parts of the United States which have warm waters. Catching tilapia would require an angler to be skillful and patient because it is rather a shy type of fish. It is also largely herbivorous, so it is quite tricky to lure. While knowledge and skills in fishing are necessary for successful tilapia catching, it is also important to learn about the best tilapia bait that one can use to lure them.

The best tilapia baits include Corn, Peas, Bread balls, and Earthworms to name a few. Since tilapia are known to be herbivores, they prefer feeding on plants instead of artificial and expensive baits like nightcrawlers and minnows. In this article, we will share several tips for catching tilapia and a detailed list of the best tilapia bait.

Best tips on catching tilapia

Tilapia is a favorite fish to catch by many anglers not only for its delicious mild-tasting meat but also because it is fun and challenging to lure. Targeting this fish species is tricky, and it tests the angler’s skills in fishing, especially the professionals. However, if you do not enjoy tilapia’s herbivorous and shy nature, below are some tips to aid you in your next tilapia catching experience.

Catch tilapia during spawning season

The first tip on successfully catching tilapia is to bait them during the spawning season. Usually, tilapia mouth the bait because they are hungry, or they are feeling territorial. During the spawning season and fry and fingerling rearing, they manifest the later to protect their territory, so they attack anything that comes to sight.

Fish in the shallow waters

The majority of tilapia varieties spawn in shallow waters, which has a lot of vegetation since it hides them from predators. They also like spots with slow-moving waters or near the banks. Another area where they are usually found is near sea structures; however, it is somehow dangerous for anglers to go to these sites, so fishing for tilapia in ponds and lakes is still suggested.

Avoid getting close to the spawning beds

Since tilapia is easily spooked, it is best to avoid getting close to their spawning beds if you choose to fish during the spawning season. Tilapia’s shyness ruins the strategy of most anglers, so learning how to distance from their beds would help in successfully catching them. The ideal option is to fish from the shoreline, where they cannot see even the angler’s shadow.

Learn how to hook baits properly


Some anglers do not notice that the tilapia already mouthed the bait because they did not hook it properly. Learning how to hook baits is a primary skill needed to catch any fish. To ensure that the bait is correctly placed, the tip of the hook should be exposed. As always use a good quality hook for fishing tilapia.

Use light tackle

Choosing light tackle for tilapia would already work because they are not that big and heavy. A rod that is 6 to 7 feet in size, which also has a spinning reel is recommended. Use a monofilament line to spool the reel and a number four hook to put your bait.

Best tilapia baits

Best tilapia bait for fishing

Tilapia eats a wide range of food, but they are generally herbivorous. In other words, they prefer plant-based food over meat. Tilapia diet often includes algae and other small aquatic plants, according to This is why the best tilapia bait that is suggested by most anglers is corn. Peas, bread balls, and earthworms are also found successful in helping catch tilapia.


Corn is a favorite bait of many anglers not only in catching tilapia but also in luring catfish, trout, and perch. There are five types of corn that are usually used in fishing: canned sweetcorn, frozen corn, feed corn, flavored corn bait, and imitation corn. Among these types, the canned sweetcorn and frozen corn are found to be more successful.


Peas are also a good alternative to corn as tilapia bait. They can easily be bought from supermarkets, or they can be delivered to your doorstep if you choose to purchase them from Amazon. You can also use canned or shelled green peas, and they would rear the same effect to the tilapia. However, frozen peas are more recommended since they stay on the hook longer. 

Bread balls

Another option in baiting tilapia is using bread balls. But to clarify, some bread balls don’t stay on the hook well, so this should only be a stand by in case every other bait doesn’t work. Bread is rolled to form tight small balls to lure tilapia. You can also put catsup to make it tasty for better results. If you are not up to rolling bread to create baits, you can source this type of dough bait from online stores like Amazon or other fish feed suppliers.


Some anglers claim that they have had success in catching tilapia using earthworms. Instead of nightcrawlers and minnows that are expensive and are not commonly used in tilapia fishing, earthworms can be collected from the backyard through vermicomposting. Just make sure that they look like small invertebrates, so the tilapia will quickly mouth them. If you rather just quickly purchase some there are great options online.


Tilapia catching is considered tricky but fun by most anglers. To successfully catch tilapia, knowing when to catch them, where they usually spawn, and how to hook baits properly are essential things you should learn. In terms of tilapia bait, corn tops the list since this fish species is primarily herbivorous. Peas, bread balls, and Earthworms are the other options in luring them. 

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