What Bait Do I Need?

For years of fishing, the most common question that I have been asked by individuals interested in catching some of the most common inshore game species targeted by anglers is—what bait do I need?

My usual reply is—what are you fishing for?—answering a question with a question. This comes down to the most common answer I have received, and that is—whatever bites!

You need to know which fish or what species you are targeting.

With a chuckle, I start to explain that to help yourself have a successful day of fishing and turn it into a day of catching, you need to know which fish or what species you are targeting.

Then, of course, what these fish feed on. This comes back to—what bait do I need?

So, to help individuals have a great day of fishing this spring, here is a list of the five most common targeted inshore game species and what bait I recommend for each one.

SHEEPSHEAD
Fiddler Crabs
Clams
Oysters
Barnacles
Shrimp (live)
Sand Fleas
BLACK DRUM
Shrimp (frozen or live)
Clams (frozen or fresh)
Mussels (out of the shell)
RED DRUM
Mud Minnows
Finger Mullet (frozen or live)
Shrimp (frozen or live)
Small Croaker
Small Pinfish
Crabs (Fiddler or broken up Blue Crab)
SEA TROUT
Mud Minnows
Finger Mullet (frozen or live)
Shrimp (frozen or live)
Small Croaker
Small Pinfish
FLOUNDER
Mud Minnows
Finger Mullet (live)
Shrimp (live)

All of the baits listed do not include artificials. Using artificials can be a more advanced technique and a whole other story.

The bait listed can be used with your common Carolina rigs set up with different styles and sizes of hooks and weights; likewise, for drop shot rigs and bottom rigs.

Hook sizes will vary, depending on which bait you are using and the size of your bait.

As individuals become familiar fishing with these baits, they will discover that hook sizes will vary, depending on which bait you are using and the size of your bait.

For instance, a 2/0 Kahle hook will work nicely using common size Mud Minnows, but you might find a 2/0 Kahle hook may not work as well with the larger Finger Mullet.

One would have to move to a 3/0 to 4/0 size for the bait to be properly rigged and be most effective.

So, feel free to grab a Coastal Angler magazine, stuff it in your bag or in your back pocket with a list of which fish to go for and what bait you will need for your next fishing adventure. I hope it helps.

Like I always say, good luck out there and have fun fishing! To view some fishing adventures, go to my YouTube Channel “Fishing with Jiggin Jerry” or www.jigginjerry.net.

You may also enjoy reading How to Catch Sheepshead in the Spring

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