While gardens produce lots of vitamins and minerals, most gardens lack serious calorie production because most of us don't have the space. Fish produce lots of calories, especially when you fish for food and not for sport. Using your garden to support your fishing seems complicated, but if you're already gardening the process is simple. Here are a few ways that gardening can help you save cash on fishing.
The principles taught here focus on live/cutbait fishing methods, not so much artificial lures. (The best way to save cash on artificial lures is to buy a fly tying vice and make your own.) It's the perspective. When fishing for sport or tournamant, the focus is on catch a few big fish. When fishing for food, the focus is on catching large numbers of medium-small, eating-sized fish.
Mealworms are darkling beetle larvae. While thier bedding is made of wheat bran, the main thing your garden can provide these little guys is water. They love watery bulbs, roots and stalks of plants like turnips that hold a lot of water. They primarliy get thier water through eating watery plants. Any garden can eaily provide this with most any green leafy plant. Whenever you pick a few eating green for your self. Feed the stalks and bulbous roots to your mealworm colony. They'll be happy and hydrated.
While mealworms won't catch many eating size fish, they can catch small bait fish that can be used to catch larger eating-sized fish. I mostly use mealworms for catching bream/bluegill. Check your local laws because it may be unlawful to use bluegill as bait. It's fine here in Alabama, but every state has thier own laws.
Earthworms are classic fish bait. In fact growing European nightcralwers is one of the reasons why I started gardening. Gardeners have cultivated earthworms for years becasue they make nutrient rich compost for the garden. You feed them garden and kitchen waste, they eat it, poop it producing rich compost, then they breed more worms. It never stops. They never sleep. They never take off-days. They work all the time.
The best worms for raising as both bait and composting are Eurpoean nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis). They're bigger than red wigglers, but about the same length. Again I use these for catching bait, but some people have had good success in using these for catching eating-sized channel catfish. I've also caught largemouth bass using them.
Fishermen often ask about rasing thier own minnows, shiners and goldfish as bait. Most of the time they're told to forget it because of the upkeep and maintenance. I recently read a book on "Aquaponic Gardening" where fish and vegetables are grown together. The fish eat and poop. Guess what? The poop is just as valuable to vegetables as worm poop. In fact some aquaponic designs incorporate worms into the growing medium further processing fish poop solids for more plant growth.
You can grow bait fish, worms and vegetables all in a closed, low-maintenace system because the system is deisgned ecologically; it's deigned to take care of itself. I really think the key to growing your own bait fish is in using aquaponic methods to lessen the work load.
Again check your local laws about stock certain kinds of fish. You wouldn't want the game warden knocking at your door.
Since the garden grows plants why not grow plant that can help in fishing? Herb have intense aroma. Catfish love anything with an intense aroma. For instance licorice is a classic aroma fish love. Grow fennal and anise to use as part of a marinade for what ever baits you use. Gairlic is another classic fish attractant. Garlic is easy to grow in buckets and raised beds, and they don't need much attention.
Most everything here in the southern USA tatses like salt. Herbs add intense flavor. However herbs bought in the grocery store are expensive. Herbs grow easily because they're basically shrubbs. They don't need a lot of time and care. Basil, oregano, thyme, and coriander seeds and cilantro leaves make will add lot of flavor to your next fish diner. Remember salt is used to enhance the flavor of the herbs. I think we've lost that in modern cooking.
Herbs are easiest to grow from already established plants. Most any nursery will have them; however, seeds cost pennies; plants cost dollars. It's much cheaper to start from seeds, but it takes more time. Herbs typically take 21 days to sprout. Once established they grow pretty well.
Gardens supply a lot of healthy things, but gardening to support something like fishing is a way of using your garden in an indirect way to support more of the kinds of basic life skills taught here at Greenhorn Gardening.