Bait fish are small fish caught for use as bait to attract large predatory fish, particularly game fish. Species used are typically those that are common and breed rapidly, making them easy to catch and in regular supply.
Examples of marine bait fish are anchovies, gudgeon,halfbeaks such as ballyhoo, and scad. Some larger fish such as menhaden, flying fish, or ladyfish may be considered bait fish in some circles, depending on the size of the gamefish being pursued.
Freshwater bait fish include any fish of the minnow or carp family, sucker family , top minnows or killifish family , shad family, sculpin of the order Osteichthyes or sunfish family, excluding black basses and crappie.
Baitfish can be attracted either via scent, or by using light which actually works by attracting zooplankton, a primary food source for many baitfish, which are then drawn to the light.