Which Fish bait is the best to use when fishing in saltwater? This question is probably the second most asked question after where should I fish today. So what’s the answer? It depends.
Just like the number of species, there are dozens of types of bait to use.
Each type of bait attracts certain species. Some baits are good for all species but then there particular baits that work on just certain species.
Live baits – these baits are the most productive. A saltwater species is likely to choose a live bait over any other. Examples of live baits are shrimp, sand fleas, small bait fish, clams, and many types of worms. Most fish species will chase and consume another species regardless whether it’s their own species or different one. A living bait creates vibration, special sound and a scent that attracts the predator. This feeding could be as a result of aggressiveness, protection, or simple self-sustaining. Live baits are typically the most productive and should be the preferred bait of choice.
Natural or fresh baits also work very well. Examples of these baits are bagged shrimp, squid, and cut mullet or other species. Some natural baits will be found frozen in individual packages. These baits work well because they appear an easy food source. Occasionally, presentation can increase the attractiveness of the baits. The one exception is when the baits are frozen. Once frozen, the baits have a tendency to lose much of its scent.
Artificial baits will also catch fish. These baits include synthetic materials such as “Fish Bites”, soft plastic worms or imitation or fake fish-like lures. These baits and lures are also very productive in most settings. The advantage of artificial baits is their longevity and staying power. When using artificial soft plastics, always select the pre-scented types.
Most saltwater species have sharp teeth or a mechanism to separate the baits from the hooks, and using a tough soft plastic or synthetic material sometimes makes it difficult for the fish to steal it before being hooked.
So we go back to the question of “which bait works best”? Well, all of them under different conditions. And as the angler, your ability to find the correct bait when targeting a certain species can increase your success rate.
A good rule to follow is to always check with the local tackle shop professionals before heading out. They can help determine which will provide you with the best opportunity for success.
Also, don’t be afraid to change to a fresher piece of bait frequently or even a different bait all together.
Final tip – there is an old saying for maximum success, always try to use a bait that will “Match the Hatch”.
We left hard baits for another article – so check back for this at a later date.
Until next time – Tightlines Capt. Tony