Analyzing Which Baits to Use in Salt Water and Why
What are the best salt water fishing baits and what rigs to use them on are highly debated topics amongst anglers. Although there are some baits, lures, and rigs that seemingly work in all conditions, the truth of the matter is that what worked yesterday may not work today.
Choosing Baits Based on Target Species
The best way to decide what salt water fishing baits to use is to research and better understand your target species. If you don’t understand the environmental tolerances and tendencies of your target then naturally it will be difficult to select the best bait to catch them with. Learning these techniques will get you much more fish in the boat than just blindly using baits.
For example, a red snapper will hit both live and dead cigar minnows, as well as squid, and various cut bait, meanwhile mangrove snapper are most likely to react to freshly caught live cigar minnows, small herring, mojarra or menhaden and will not be interested in cut bait or dead bait, unless you catch them in a feeding frenzy at the right place at the right time.
How to Catch Various Baits
There are various ways to collect and catch bait, cast netting, sabiki rigs, and squid rigs are the most popular. My personal recommendation is to find your salt water fishing bait close to where you’re going to be fishing regardless of the method you use to catch them. Like catching bait off of a wreck that you also plan to fish.
Obviously, if you’re fishing in 200 or 300 feet of water deep, dropping a sabiki rig and catching bait that your target species is most likely already living off of is a much better option than trying to bring smaller inshore baits from bayous and canals. I personally have always been a fan of sourcing my bait close to where my target species will be, as it is safe to assume that is what they are eating already anyway.
Inshore vs Offshore
There are certain types of inshore salt water fishing baits that will work in your fishery very well when fishing offshore to target larger species of gamefish. For example, pinfish and blue runners make excellent amberjack baits in my fishery, but are typically sourced inshore. That may not be the same for your fishery and the only way to really figure out those fine details about specific species are to collect a variety of baits, and see what works best for you and in what conditions they work and at what times of the fishing season.
Choose the Bait That Is Working
Sometimes people try to choose the salt water fishing bait that is their “favorite” or their “go to”. This wont produce as much as being able to use multiple different types of bait to try and attract fish. Always use your friends as a good resource on what fish are biting what bait, and never be afraid to mix it up. This will produce more fish than just trying to use the same salt water fishing bait every time.
Ultimately at the end of the day, the best bait is the bait that is really working for your target species in those specific conditions at that specific time of day, month and year. The best way to figure that out is to fish. So call Southern Country Charters at 850-739-3175 or click the booking link above to book an inshore or offshore trip and come explore our fishery, have fun, and catch fish!