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Saltwater Bait

The Best Saltwater Bait Can Make The Difference When Ocean Fishing

Best Saltwater Baits

Best Saltwater Baits Anglers Love To Fish

The saltwater bait you use can be the difference between a good day of fishing and a great day. When it comes to targeting species in the ocean both inshore and offshore its not about the fishing equipment but more about the bait you are using. Fish are very smart creatures and will only eat certain things during specific times of the year. Figuring out what the fish are feeding on will help an angler determine which saltwater fishing bait they should be using. One of the key senses that fish have is smell. It's high sensitivity to smell and taste allows for them to track down their next meal. There are a few things you should remember when saltwater fishing with live or cut bait.

  • Always fish with what the fish are eating. This makes perfect sense. Why fish with a bait that isn't what the fish find naturally in the wild. If they are feeding on shrimp then fish with shrimp. It's really that simple.
  • If your bait goes for 15 minutes without a hit then change spots or the kind of bait you are using. One thing we often see is someone who will fish long periods of time without a bite. This either means there are no fish there, your fishing with the wrong kind of fishing bait, or the presentation is wrong.
  • If you can catch live bait always use it over dead cut bait. There is something about live bait that will out fish any cut bait on the bottom. We are in no way saying that you will not catch fish the other way. It is a preferred method if an angler can secure nearby baitfish. Several great techniques for doing so is throwing a cast net or buying live from your local tackle shop. 

In order to be more successful when fishing lets look at the baits in more details.

Types Of Saltwater Fishing Bait

 Fishing baits come in a variety of different kinds. Many species of fish love to feed on a diet bait fish. 

So What Exactly is a bait fish? It can be summed up, any smaller fish that attracts predatory fish to feed. Your large species of game fish will be the most common lovers of baits that are small fish. There are many species that come to mind, but the most common will be mullet, anchovies, blue runners, pilchards, sardines, menhaden and many more.

Live Fishing Bait For Saltwater

Saltwater Live Fishing Bait
Types of Saltwater Live Fishing Bait 

If you polled 100 anglers, you would find that the best saltwater bait is live bait. One thing that is always a challenge when fishing with anything live is keeping it alive. Once you have mastered how to catch it and keep it fresh, fishing with it will come easy. There are a few ways to catch live bait:

1) Cast Net - A net that an angler throws on nearby baitfish. 

2) Hook - When it comes to catching bait you will need a very small hook.

3) Bait Trap - Depending on the bait, you can often use a trap to catch them. Once they go in to feed they become stuck.

There are a few other ways that they catch it but these are the most common. After you successfully catch your live bait you should try to avoid excess handling of it. This can affect a fish for the negative and lose its life spark. Make sure where you storing it whether it's a livewell or bucket, it has an aerator to oxygenate the water.

Mullet (Fish)

Mullet (Fish)

Live Mullet (Fish) On A Live Bait Rig For Saltwater Fishing

If there is one species that every fish feeds on it is mullet. Mullet are one of the best saltwater fishing baits that you can catch and use while fishing. They are great to use live or out on the bottom as cut bait. They are silver in color and can range from finger size all the way over a foot in length.  Often times when inshore fishing you will see baitfish jumping out of the water. That is one way to know when mullet have moved into the area.

Blue Crab

Blue Crab Chunked For Saltwater Bait
Rigging Blue Crab For Saltwater Bait

One of the best baits for saltwater fishing is a blue crab. The blue crab is a well known bait for many species like redfish, black drum and even tarpon. You can chunk them up and fish them on the bottom or use the whole crab. Many species of saltwater fish have the right teeth to break up a blue crab shell. When we fish the whole crab make sure to break off both claws and legs so it is not walking on the bottom. This will also give off more scent in the water attracting nearby fish.

Fiddler Crab

Saltwater Bait - Fiddler Crab

Best Saltwater Bait For Sheepshead Is The Fiddler Crab

Another great saltwater bait is the fiddler crab. There are many species of fish like redfish and sheepshead that love feeding on them. They are about the size of a half dollar and most species love them. They are found in marshes and around the docks running on the land. Catching fiddler crabs can be the biggest challenge of fishing with them. Once you get a bucket of fiddlers its almost a guarantee you will fill a cooler full of fish that day.


How to rig live shrimp

How To Rig Live Shrimp

Everything in saltwater eats shrimp, including the anglers fishing with them. This makes them the best saltwater bait available to anglers. The beauty of using shrimp is you can fish them from anywhere. Fish them at the jetties, from the beach, off a pier, on the boat or offshore, but be ready to catch a lot of fish. One complaint that many anglers have is how to keep your shrimp alive. They can be fragile so handle with care and keep your shrimp bait fresh. The other thing all anglers must know how to do is hook the shrimp. Hooking them wrong can result in killing the shrimp. Hooking them correctly so they can swim on your fishing hook will result in more hits and hookups.  

Shellfish Bait: Clams, Oysters, and Mussels 

Another saltwater bait that most species of fish love is shellfish like clams, oysters and mussels. Depending on what are you live in, you may find some more easily than others. Do not be afraid to buy them from your local grocery store, if you can not harvest them in your local fishing waters. When using shellfish for saltwater bait you should clean them on the boat and throw the shells in the water for added chum. One thing that makes them hard to fish with is keeping them on the hook. Species of fish that love to eat them are really good at stealing it off your hook. They make a bait sac to put them in or you can allow for them to toughen up in the sun briefly. Once you learn how to keep the shellfish saltwater bait on your hook you will start to catch more fish.

Cut Bait

What is Cut Bait And How To Use It

What is Cut Bait And How To Use It

If you do not have way to get live bait then the next best thing will be cut bait. By cutting it up if will give off natural aromas and smells in the water. The fish will keen on this and be attracted to it. When fishing dead bait its best to use fish or shrimp that are fresh. Fresh saltwater bait will be better than bait you have had in your freezer for 6 months. Many time bait shops will sell off newly dead bait as fresh bait. If you plan to keep dead bait for future trips make sure to vacuum seal it to prevent freezer burn. Remember you want a bait on the bottom that smells fresh, looks good and will catch you fish.

Frozen Squid Bait

Frozen Squid - The ultimate Bait For Saltwater Fishing

Frozen Squid - The ultimate Bait For Saltwater Fishing

Like shrimp, most saltwater fish love eating squid. Anglers love frozen squid bait because it stays on the hook 100x better than shrimp and allows for you to catch multiple fish before you have to re-bait your fishing hook. Squid can be easily cut into strips for easy baiting or can be fished whole for bigger fish. Rigging squid for offshore trolling or bottom fishing is important for presenting it in a life like manor. One thing about squid is if you leave it out of the water or in the sun it will dry up fast making it not fishable. Get use to using squid on your next fishing trip and make it one of your go to saltwater bait.

Artificial Bait For Saltwater Fishing 

best artificial bait for saltwater fishing

Best Artificial Bait for Saltwater Fishing

We can not talk about saltwater baits with out mentioning artificial bait. Scented saltwater baits have become a popular option for anglers and seem to attract fish to them. You can find artificial saltwater bait in various shapes and sizes for any kind of fishing you will be doing. These scented saltwater baits act as a fish attractant to bring in nearby fish to your fishing lure. One reason anglers chose to fish artificial baits is because you actively fish them and entice a reaction strike. Plastic baits last longer on the hook then traditional cut baits or live baits. Every year they get more advanced and better for catching fish so who knows what the future holds for artificial baits.

Best Equipment For Saltwater Baits

One thing that every angler must remember when fishing with saltwater baits is to have the right gear, terminal tackle or saltwater jig heads. The kind of leader and saltwater fishing line you use with your fishing baits can be the difference in catching fish. There are special live bait hooks that pair perfectly with you saltwater live bait. Knowing the kind of hooks and jig heads you should be using with your saltwater bait is something all fishermen should know. Always remember you want the bait to swim as naturally as possible to attract more bites regardless if its artificial, cut or live bait.



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