What’s the go-to bait along the Texas coast? You don’t have to be fishing very long to know it’s a natural bait. When primitive anglers first started “fishing” with a hook of some sort, they studied and watched the fish to see what they were eating. The fish were going after something that Mother Nature served up.
Live bait is the top producer of Texas saltwater fish. An article written by Art Morris, Outreach Specialist for TPWD, Corpus Christi Field Station, states that 22 percent of all fish landed by Texas inshore sport anglers are caught on live bait including shrimp, piggy perch, croaker and mullet.
Live shrimp is the top live bait for targeting all saltwater sport fish in Texas. In the mid 1980’s live shrimp ranked 10th in use coast wide for speckled trout. One in four fish landed from Texas inshore waters by boat anglers were caught on live shrimp. Why–speckled trout redfish, black drum, flounder and many others find it extremely difficult to pass on a live shrimp. Coastal fish species grow up eating shrimp and never lose their appetite for the crustacean. For the angler, live shrimp are readily available most of the year and are easy to use.
In 2014 fishing guides regularly credit live shrimp as a top producer, with live croaker, piggy perch, mullet and mud minnows also producing catches for their clients. Few self respecting redfish will turn down a live finger mullet. Many a flounder are caught on mud minnows.
Dead shrimp, cut baits, sea lice, crabs, squid, and fish-like lures such as spoons, jigs, flies, crank baits, topwaters, suspending baits and sinking baits account for about 18 percent of all inshore species landed.
The combination of live bait, dead bait, cut bait, sea lice, crabs and squid account for 82 percent of the fish caught by Texas coastal anglers.