I like crickets and small leeches during the Summer and early Fall. Giant redworms, leaf worms and small nightcrawlers from early Spring until ice up! I like waxworms and spikes for ice fishing. Small minnows work well, too! My son caught a 10 inch Bluegill on a small minnow.
In different parts of the country, certain baits are more available, and more productive, than others. Crickets are big in the south and nightcrawlers and earthworms ar big in the Mid-Atlantic and east. I have done well on waxworms, mealworms and, at times, Gulp! products as a tipping bait. My day in, day out favorite would have to be small nightcrawlers.
Nightcrawlers, as they are called in TX. In CA we always called them earthworms. They seem to stay on the hook long enough to catch the fish. I have no success at all with white bread (breaks apart) grasshoppers (nibbled away),or artificial lures (I can hear the fish laughing underwater). Also, I got a new reel today as the very very old one I was using kept knotting up.
Leeches is expensive but when you put leech on a hook and put it in water! Look good and big 'gills can't resist it! Many bass, catfish and walleye on leeches for me while fish for big bluegills. Leech is not good bait in the coldwater and it rolling up as a ball around the hook!
Always carry several kind of baits with me to go out to fish!