Many types of saltwater live bait are available for fishing out in the ocean. For instance, saltwater live bait often includes minnows, bait fish and non-minnow baits such as clams, shrimp and eel. Certain live bait such as minnows can be used for freshwater fishing purposes as well. Furthermore, some live bait can be caught rather than purchased from a store. However, how to catch saltwater live bait varies depending on the bait type.

Various types of live bait can be used to catch fish species such as catfish, snapper, cobia, sheepshead and black drum. However, not all live bait need to be alive. For instance, saltwater live bait may also include dead squid for bottom-fishing purposes. To learn more about how to catch saltwater live bait and to discover the many benefits of catching your own bait, review the information below.

What are the different types of live saltwater bait?

Various types of saltwater live bait include non-minnow baits such as bloodworms, clam worms, clams, crabs, eels, sand fleas, sand shrimp, shrimp and squid, or different types of minnows and bait fish. For instance, other types of live saltwater baits include:

  • Minnows
  • Atlantic croaker
  • Blue runner
  • Ballyhoo
  • Herring
  • Mullet
  • Menhaden
  • Pilchards
  • Sand perch
  • Pinfish
  • Shad
  • Smelt
  • Tomtate

What are the characteristics and features of saltwater live bait?

Each type of saltwater live bait has its own set of characteristics and features. For instance:

  • Sand fleas are similar in appearance to small crabs.
  • Crabs can often be found in marshes, canals, creeks and shallow bays.
  • Clam worms (also known as ragworms or sandworms) can be purchased from tackle shops. This type of saltwater live bait contains four eyes, eight tentacles and two sensory feelers.
  • Glass minnows are also known as anchovies. This type of bait is generally no bigger than three inches long.

What kind of fishing can saltwater live bait be used for?

Various types of saltwater live bait are used for different types of fishing methods. For instance, saltwater live baits such as Ballyhoo can be used as cutbait for trolling purposes, while squid can be used for inshore and offshore fishing methods. Furthermore, live saltwater baits such as sand fleas can be used to surf fish, while glass minnows work well when trolled slowly or when fished from an anchored boat.

What types of fish can I catch with saltwater live bait?

The type of saltwater live bait you use will play a role in the species of fish you will catch. For instance:

  • Shrimp can be used to catch catfish, while sand shrimp can be used to catch steelhead and salmon.
  • Crab can be used to catch snapper, black drum, cobia and sheepshead. Hermit and fiddler crabs attract snapper and sheepshead, while blue crabs attract cobia and black drum.
  • Squid can be used to catch snapper, gafftopsail catfish, bluefish, redfish and striped bass.
  • Bloodworms and clam worms can be used as live saltwater baits to catch sea trout, bluefish, whiting, porgy, flounder and striped bass.
  • Clams can be used as a live saltwater bait to catch sea trout, rockfish, surf perch, striped bass, flounder and porgy.
  • Ballyhoo can be used to catch tuna, wahoo, sailfish and dolphin.
  • Sand perch can be used to catch grouper, snook, trout and redfish.

How do I use saltwater live bait?

The process of how to catch and use saltwater live bait will vary depending on the specific bait type. To use live saltwater baits such as shrimp, you must hook the shrimp under its horn, while squid must be hooked several times along its body to keep smaller fish from stealing it. To use a whole blue crab as bait for cobia, you must remove its pinchers and place the hook through its body. To use a blue crab as saltwater live bait for cobia or black drum, you may break the crab into quarters and place a hook through any piece you wish to use as bait. Furthermore, saltwater live baits such as shrimp can be fished dead or alive, while squid can be fished dead.

What are the advantages of using saltwater live bait?

Many types of saltwater live bait are more likely to attract fish and encourage them to bite, as fish can tell if their bait’s color, smell, profile and taste is real. Additionally, many types of saltwater live baits are free if you can catch them by hand or with a fishing pole.

What are the cons of using saltwater live bait?

Depending on where you live, live saltwater bait may be more difficult to find than artificial lures, especially since a variety of artificial baits are available online. Additionally, certain types of saltwater live bait are harder to keep fresh, creating additional work for the angler.

Who should consider using saltwater live bait?

Most types of saltwater live bait are suitable for beginner or veteran fishermen, as live bait is more likely to trick fish into biting. However, certain types of live saltwater baits are more difficult to keep fresh, making them better baits for experienced anglers. For instance, cut bait, clams and mussels are more difficult to keep fresh. Additionally, fishermen need to be careful when hooking a shrimp, or they may kill it on accident.

How much does saltwater live bait cost?

Most types of saltwater live baits are inexpensive or free if you can catch them by hand. If using saltwater baits such as squid, however, you can purchase a four-pack of Killer Bee Whole Squid for $3.89 on Amazon. Additionally, Killer Bee Premium Crab Bait is available for $5.44, while Shrimp Bait is available for $6.29.

Where can I find saltwater live bait?

Most types of saltwater live bait can be purchased from a tackle shop, supermarket or gas station. However, several types of live saltwater bait can be caught by hand or with a fishing pole. For instance, crabs can be caught by hand, or you can use a fishing pole and a fresh piece of chicken to entice them. Furthermore, the process of how to catch saltwater live bait differs for certain fish species. To catch live saltwater baits such as sand fleas or sand shrimp, for instance, you can scour the sand. However, you generally need a shrimp pump to catch sand shrimp.