Leeches, I know, if you've seen the Stand By Me movie, you cringe at THAT scene in the movie. Leeches take up residence in stagnant waters such as ponds, small lakes and ditches. And while you may still shudder to think of them, they make excellent bait for bass and catfish as well as some of the larger game fish. If you are ill equipped and underfunded right now, but you have access to a stinking stagnant pool of water, you have a resource that could be used to barter your way to food.
Visit your local print shop or newspaper office and ask if you can have some of their discarded printing plates. These are thin metal plates a little larger than a sheet of paper. Clean them off with some hot water and mild soap, rinse the soap and ink residues off.
Place a chicken or beef liver just left of the center of the plate. Fold the right edge over the left edge and crush the liver inside the fold. Make one more fold as if the plate was a letter you wanted to place in an envelope. Secure the edges by stretching a rubber band on each side of the plate. The leeches will enter from the creases on the sides and feed for hours.
Insert a piece of paracord or rope through the trap and tie it tight, the length of the cord will determine how far you can throw the trap and how deep it will sink. Toss them in at dusk and tie the other end of the cord to a stake and be ready to pull out a few dozen leeches in each trap in the morning. These traps can be reused until they are corroded which can take some time.
Large leeches sell for more than a dollar each at bait shops. The plates are free, rope is cheap, chicken livers come in a neat little surprise bag inside every chicken. So far, it's all stuff you can get and do for FREE.