How to Catch and Store Bait For Saltwater Fishing
Cast nets are excellent tools for catching bait. They work well in the surf, along shorelines and from boats. To catch bait effectively, a quality cast net is important. Cheap versions may not open or sink correctly, which allow fish to escape in some situations.
Minnow traps are easy to use. These traps consist of 2 bucket shaped sections that snap together. Each half is made of wire and has a funnel shaped entrance. A line secures the trap to a dock or piling. The trap is baited with fish scraps, bread, raw chicken necks or other baits and left overnight. Minnow traps work well for smaller baits such as minnows and grass shrimp.
Spot, small perch and other baits can be caught using fish traps. These are special traps which are designed to catch fish more than crabs. Cans of cat food are sometimes pierced enough to leak and used for bait in spot traps. Other baits such as fish scraps can also be used for attracting baitfish to the trap. Always check local regulations before attempting to catch bait with traps.
Seines work well but are bulky, expensive and require a large amount of effort. Seines are fine mesh nets with a pole on each end. Fishermen work in pairs, pulling the net across the bottom and up onto a shallow shoreline. Seines will catch practically everything in their path, including small fish, crabs, shrimp and other baits.
Dip nets are sometimes useful, especially at night under lights. An area can be dipped blindly, or sprinkled with cat food and swept with the dip net after a few moments.
Perhaps the easiest way to catch bait is with a sabiki rig. This special leader features a daisy chain of small lures. Anglers sometimes bait the sabiki hooks with tiny bits of bloodworm as an added attractant. The rig is then slowly worked along the bottom near pilings or over structure. The rig will catch spot, perch, herring and even silversides or other species of minnows.
Finding live bait while fishing in the ocean can be difficult. There are a few possibilities, but rarely can any option be relied on totally. One option is to stop on a wreck or reef and jig artificial lures for small fish.
Also worth checking are buoys or floating debris. Often small jacks or other pelagic fish will congregate under floating objects and strike a small flashy lure or a light leader and baited hook. In some cases a bottom rig will also catch small fish, depending on the location.
As night falls in the ocean, options get better. Squid, tinker mackerel or other baitfish often appear around the lights of an anchored boat at night. Squid will take a baited line, or special jig, while tinker mackerel will eagerly attack the essential Sabiki rig which should be standard equipment on summer overnight trips.
Learning to brine baits is a good way to use leftover fishing bait. Brining will preserve and toughen bait, making it suitable for freezing and more useful after thawing.
A basic method for brining baits – Kosher Salt Coating
Step 1. Prepare baits by rinsing in sea water. Cut larger baits such as fish bellies or squid into strips.
Step 2. Add baits and coarse kosher salt to a ziploc bag and shake vigorously. Add enough salt to thoroughly coat all the baits.
Step 3. Purge excess air from the bag and freeze.
Most baits will remain somewhat flexible due to the salt, even when frozen. Well brined baits often last up to a year.
How to Correctly Bait Your Fishing Hook to Catch More Fish
So you are about to start fishing. First things first, you need to bait your hook. Do you know the correct way to bait you hook? Below are some tips that will help you attract and catch more fish by simply baiting your hook better.
Firstly, you need to use sharp hooks. Buy new hooks frequently and replace your old ones. If you keep your hook on the line for a long period of time you should sand the point to keep it nice and sharp. Try to buy the best hooks you can (if you buy the cheapest you may save a few dollars but in the long run is it worth it?).
Hooks vary in size, shape and color so go for the hook that is best for the fish you are targeting. If you’re not sure, ask the people in your local fishing store. Some fish are supposedly attracted to red hooks (some sand varieties of fish target bloodworms and can be attracted to the red color of the hook) but a plain silver hook will usually do.
So you are ready to bait your hook. It sounds very easy but are you really baiting your hook correctly? Below are some common bait varieties and suggested ways to apply them to your hook.
1) Shrimp (prawn) should be put on the hook tail first and so the body of the shrimp curls up into the shape of the hook. Most people bait shrimp the other way (head first) but this will cause the shrimp to fall off more easily. Try to keep the hook entirely in the shrimp when threading through. Most fish species don’t mind if the shell is left on. Some people believe in de-shelling the shrimp but this takes time and often makes them soggy and they may fall off the hook easier. You can take the head off the shrimp as this often makes the shrimp too big to fish with if left on (and as an added bonus you can add the heads of the shrimps to your burley bucket to attract more fish)
2) Octopus should be baited using the tentacles foremost so they cover the hook. As with the prawn the octopus should thread over the hook to disguise it.
3) Squid is a good bait as it is hardy, easy to place on a hook and is hard for nibbling fish to nibble off. Just thread the squid over the hook and once again try to disguise the hook with the bait. Also try to use the softer parts of the squid body as some fish may not like the harder parts found near the head.
4) White bait, Mulie or any other small fish really needs to be hooked with a gang of hooks (at least 3 hooks in a row) otherwise they simply slide off the hook.
So next time you are baiting your hook, take the time to try to disguise your hook and make sure that the bait sticks on your hook securely. This will help you catch more fish and save you time as you will not have to keep replacing your bait.
Sea Fishing Bait
If you are getting ready to go deep-sea fishing, there are a few things you might want to know about sea fishing bait. Depending on how adventurous you are, you may want to go shark fishing with gut buckets full of chum and fish guts as your bait, or you might want to use boxed, frozen shrimp that comes from the store to catch yellow-fins for bait.
Of course, many of the bait stores around the beaches have live fishing bait, such as crabs or prawns and shad or you might opt for the frozen squid, shad sides or other offerings that the locals use.
It all depends on what you are fishing for and whether you are deep-sea fishing where the biggest fish are found or you are fishing from a pier or beach fishing, where more varieties of smaller fish might be. When it comes to fishing bait, most of it is going to be things that you will naturally find in the ocean, for the most part.
Most large fish prefer live bait, so many of the frozen baits are used to catch baitfish. If you consider catching anchovies, herring, sardines and mackerel, as part of your fishing expedition, you will have fishing bait that is part of a large fish’s natural diet. After you have caught your bait, it is important that you hold it in an aerated bait box to keep them lively during your fishing trip.
Other things like live crabs and other baitfish will work nicely for the fish that search for food by signs of struggle or by sight. For fish like sharks and barracuda, the sea fishing bait doesn’t have to be alive, just smelly and bloody, and once you have attracted them to the area, they will hit on almost any kind of sea fishing baits.
Some of the charter fishing boats will give you clam strips, live crab or pieces of crab bodies, such as legs, cut bait or squid and spearing. Others use herring or mackerels and bait that is about nine inches long is standard but some of the cut bait can be the most successful.
You have to keep in mind that many ocean going fish are used to eating remnants of other fish that have been left behind in a feeding frenzy. Even jellyfish and octopus can make good live bait, when you are considering sea fishing bait. Charter fishing boats usually have a pretty good idea of what kinds of fish are biting on what live baits and most of the beachside saltwater tackle shops know, too.
If you know where and when you will be deep-sea fishing, it is worth finding out what is working best, if you can get some kind of fishing report. Because many of the ocean fish are migratory, there are different fish that are biting on different things, year round on most ocean fishing areas, especially in the tropical regions. Like any freshwater fishing, sometimes, the best sea fishing baits are the natural baits they will run across in their habitat.
Filed under: Fishing Bait Tips