Once you accept the premise that fish will eat about anything, it makes it a lot easier to find bait. Of course the classic fishing bait is worms, and worms can be gathered while working in the garden and saved for later use. Worms like darkness, they like moisture, and they like rich loose soil. In the spring and summer I keep a plastic bucket in the shade next to my garden. I poke holes in the bottom of the bucket and put a few rocks in the bottom, then I fill the bucket about half full of dirt, compost, and manure and then I wet the contents down. When I come across a worm or a grub, I throw them in the bucket; not every worm, because earthworms are good for the garden. When I water the garden I water the worm farm as well. When I want to go down to the pond and go fishing, it's a simple matter to grab a few worms or grubs and drop them into my bait can with a little dirt. Pictured below: A grub worm, and my mini worm farm.
Another good source of bait is wasp larvae. My granddad used to grab a bunch of broom grass, light it with his cigarette lighter, and hold it up to a wasp nest to chase the adult wasps off. He'd then knock the nest down and carry it with us to the pond. We'd remove the larvae from the nest as needed and use them for bait. Looking back on it I don't know how he kept from getting stung. Pictured below: top, a red wasp nest; bottom, a black wasp or dirt dauber nest.
Grasshoppers are another good bait. It is best to gather grasshoppers in the early morning when the temperature is a little cool. This way the grasshoppers are not as active and are easier to catch. Crickets, roaches, water bugs, and other assorted insects also make good bait. We used to carry these critters in a little cage with a strap on it. I'll show you how to make a cricket cage in my next post. Pictured below: Grasshopper.
If you are gathering bait in the wild, look for old rotten logs and bust them open. You will often find bugs or grubs in these logs. If you see a log that an armadillo has been digging on, it is a sure sign that there are bugs or grubs in the log. Pictured below: a log that an armadillo has been digging in, and the same log busted open to show a beetle inside.
You can also turn over rocks, and you will often find something to use for bait under them. Pictured below: Worm under a rock.
Don't forget your refrigerator or the dinner scraps when you're looking for bait. Any small scraps of meat, fat trimmings, unused organ meats, fish guts, spoiled lunch meat, or etc. will make good bait.