Fishing with natural bait is the most productive method of fishing in saltwater. These creatures have a sixth sense that humans do not. The lateral line running down each side of a fish is filled with tiny hairs that can detect movement in the water. They can pick up a moving object even in the dark, making fishing lures or baits so effective.
These creatures use their sight to check out their victims and use their sense of taste to know if the thing they discovered is edible. Fool all their senses and you can fool a fish.
Large predatory fish are fools for small fish. Anchovies, halfbeaks, and scad are their favorites. Because baitfish typically have populations that can potentially sustain significant recreational and commercial fisheries, regulations may exist to prevent overexploitation. Read on to know more about the top saltwater fishing baits.
Squid and Octopus
Squid and octopus are preferred by many saltwater species, including croakers, sea bass, amberjack, dolphin, and bluefish. They also work well for trolling, bottom fishing, and float fishing setups. You can use small ones whole as bait or you can cut these creatures into strips or chunks.
Saltwater game fish like striped bass, cod, pollock, flounder, and fluke love feeding on sandworms, ragworms, lugworms, and other available worms in bait shops. Whether live or preserved, saltwater fish love them! However, live worms are sometimes better, either as a whole or as pieces.
Clams and Mussels
If there are clams and mussels available in your area, you can catch native fish with them. Keep them fresh by gathering the mussels and clams from shallow waters before or while fishing. Crack them open, cut out the clam, and allow the bait to harden a bit in the sun so it will stay on the hook. You can tie mussels on to the hook with thread, taking care not to pull too tight.
Shrimp is also one of the best lures for seawater fishing. They are not only saltwater fish’s favorites but are also a great bait for fishing from a bridge, pier, bank, or boat. Remember that the size of shrimp depends on the size of the fish you are trying to catch.
To use it as bait, place the hook under the shrimp’s head so the barb comes out on top, avoiding the black spot. The shrimp will immediately be killed when you hook the barb spot. Action is important for attracting fish. You can also insert the hook from the top of the shrimp, work the point beneath the black spot and bring the barb out on top again. This method is considered best for bottom fishing.
Another method stops bait-stealing fish. Insert the hook from the tail of the shrimp and thread the body onto the hook, passing the barb beneath the black spot.
Aside from shrimp, other crustaceans like fiddler or blue crabs, sand fleas, lobster make quite excellent baits. Sheepshead and drum usually feed on these species. To use them as bait, hook live crabs through the point in the side of the shell. Shrimp are easy to rig live with a hook through the tail. Anglers can also fish crustaceans dead, whole or in pieces.
Sardines and Other Bait Fish
Saltwater baitfish include menhaden, sardines, mullet, ballyhoo, pilchards, eels, and herring. All of them make excellent baits to catch saltwater game fish.
There are many ways to rig them. First, try passing the hook either through the lips, nose, eye sockets for trolling or the base of the tail for freelining. Baitfish also work well as cut bait. Strips, fillets, sections or steaks of baitfish are very attractive to game fish such as snapper, grouper, cobia, and tuna. Many anglers also add cut bait to artificial lures to add a level of scent attraction.