bait n2, also attrib [Attested also in Cheshire dial (EDD bate sb.1 4), but further connections are unclear]

A fulcrum. Note: The precise sense of the mass-noun use in the example sentence of quot 1975 is not clear.

1877 Bartlett Americanisms 26 NEng, Bait. A fulcrum. A term common in New England. 1887 Locomotive Firemen’s Mag. 11.338, A lever of the first class is one where the weight to be moved is at one end, the power is applied at the other end, and the fulcrum or “bait” is between. 1930 Chr. Leader 33.1191, Lifting a heavy stone with a bar, one may hear a man call, “Hand me a bait.” . . What the men call “bait,” the professor calls fulcrum. 1931–33 LANE Worksheets seMA, Bait /beɪt/ . . A piece of wood used for a fulcrum. 1958 McCulloch Woods Words 6 Pacific NW, Bait. . . A block used for leverage in prying something. 1975 Gould ME Lingo 3, Bait is also the Maine term for the fulcrum in leverage, meaning a block of wood or a rock placed under a crowbar or pole in lifting: “Give me a little more bait and we’ll h’ist this still into place.” 1982 Powers Cataloochee 265 cwNC (as of 1922), A large maple sapling about sixteen feet long was cut and a bait rock, as it was called, was used, and they pried from every angle with other poles before they released the body.