Catching Your Own Bait

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fish on a hook

This KISS live bait catching method is fast, easy, and reliable.

What’s the best thing about catching your own bait? Hard to tell – some of us like to do it because we get fresh, kicking livies. Others get some extra enjoyment out of saving a buck or two. But any way you cut it, catching your own fresh bait is something all saltwater anglers will try at one time or another. Here’s a sure-fire KISS method you can use to fill the livewell when you’re fishing in a bay or pass along the coast.

fish on a hook

This KISS live bait catching method is fast, easy, and reliable.

  • Rig up a light spinning or conventional set-up with a top-and-bottom rig. Hooks should be size six or eight. In most cases, an ounce of weight will be plenty to keep the rig on bottom.
  • Go just about anywhere there’s a shell bottom and some current. The six to 12 foot depth range is usually about right, for many of the species of small fish you can encounter.
  • Get a packet of Fishbites bloodworm, shrimp, or clam flavor. All of the flavors work, so you don’t have to be picky. Chop them up into very small tidbits, about a quarter inch long, and thread a strip onto each hook. Added bonus: using these artificial bait strips is mess-free.
  • Cast out, and let the rig sit on bottom (or drag across it, if drifting) until you feel the tap-tap-tap of a small fish grabbing the bait. When you do, set the hook immediately.

Simple? You bet. Effective? You bet, again. One word of warning: don’t forget that fishing in this style, you’ll catch not only bait fish but also plenty of juveniles of regulated sportfish. Undersized snapper, drum, and countless other species may well snap up those little tidbits, so you need to be aware of which species are okay to use for bait (like pinfish, croaker, sand trout, etc) and which must be released.

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