You want to ruin a day of fishing? Of course not! But look at what I found, when I flipped open the bait cooler on one offshore fishing trip:
Now mind you, this was to be a day of offshore fishing over 60 miles from shore. We were on a 30′ center console, which burned about 150 gallons of gas during a day of offshore fishing. We spent $100 on provisions for the crew, and another $40 on ice. We spent two hours driving to the marina, and two and a half hours cruising one way to get to the fishing grounds. And when we arrived there and I took one look at these ballyhoo, I knew in a heartbeat that we weren’t going to catch a darn thing using them. The guy who was responsible for the baits had brought ballyhoo he had taken on a trip three months prior, thawed, and then re-frozen at the end of the day. Rot had set in long ago, and as you can see from the yellowed skin and sunken eyes, these baits were absolute trash. In fact, they smelled so bad that we dumped them overboard, and fished only with lures that day – even though rigged ballyhoo were what the fish had been striking lately.
He had basically ruined the trip, after all that time, money, and aggravation we had invested to get offshore. To save $15 on a bag of fresh ballyhoo.
Penny-pinching when it comes to bait is a sure-fire way to turn a day of fishing into a day of misery and lost opportunities. It always pays to get fresh bait; never thaw and then re-freeze bait, and always keep the Golden Rule of bait fishing in mind: if you wouldn’t eat that bait, there’s a good chance the fish won’t, either.