Best Florida Fishing Bait

Ava Flores
• Sunday, 29 November, 2020
• 8 min read

The majority of the bass are still on pre-dawn grass edges gorging themselves to get ready for the winter and their time to spawn. Flipping a classic ribbon tail worm or a Seiko into the grass, reeds, or pads of these pre-spawn area’s is deadly at this time of year.

bait fishing freshwater river johns st worm fishers tried always true minnows
(Source: castawaysontheriver.com)


In my experience the fish at this time of year prefer a slow fall and subtle action. You’re essentially flipping but covering more water and your bait is more subtly falling as apposed to the little splash caused from pitching every cast.

Flukes flat out catch fish in Florida throughout the year, and they work now too. I always try to switch up my cadence with every cast between fast jerks and slower pops until I get a bite to find out what the fish want that day.

Work it slowly with short pulls and pauses around pre-spawn areas and even over spawning flats, and if it’s a top-water type day for the fish you can get some awesome explosions on this bait ! Throw this thing out around Lily pads, grass lines, or reeds in pre-dawn or spawning flats, and just let it sink to the bottom.

Give the rod a little lift to feel if something has it in there mouth and if not then Texas rigged weightless Seiko just reel back up and repeat. Little fish all the way to the biggest bass in the lake have been caught on these basic straight worms.

If the water is dark or murky the darker colors are the way to go, and if it is clean and clear use green pumpkin. A weightless Seiko has probably caught more bass around the world than anything else and it works just the same here around the spawn.

fishing florida islamorada lures keys fish bait saltwater marlin catch kind sport any fly surf dolphin tips trout discover beginners
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

These baits are readily available at Florida bait shops and many can be caught by anglers. Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, Inshore Saltwater Fishing for $5 by clicking on the title link.

Anglers can keep up to date on Florida recreational fishing regulations on the FCC site. Often times, an angler can keep a couple dozen in a bucket of cool water without even using an aerator.

Shrimp can be hooked in a variety of fashions and fished using multiple rigs. A live shrimp under a popping cork is an extremely effective combination for catching speckled trout and other species on the grass flats.

The cork not only suspends the shrimp at the desired depth, it actually helps attract the fish when twitched sharply. This involves simply hooking the shrimp and letting it swim naturally in the current.

Many of the species in Florida are found around submerged structure such as docks, rocks, seawalls, bridges, and wrecks. A live shrimp fished on the bottom will fool sleepyhead, snapper, grouper, flounder, and just about every other inshore species.

bait fishing pinfish fish florida gulf coast inshore surf offshore redfish catch eat trout tarpon whitebait snook
(Source: www.saltstrong.com)

Anglers use various rigs and some type of weight to keep the bait on the bottom near the structure. Shiners is a generic Florida term for several families of small silvery bait fish.

These bait fish are found in large schools either on the flats or just offshore around markers and other structure. Anglers seeking a lot of bait catch them with a cast net.

This makes it impractical to fish with large numbers of shiners from the shoreline, though a dozen or two can be kept in a bucket for a little while. In some parts of Florida, guys go out early and catch a bunch of bait and sell them right from the boat.

This means that they are allowed to swim with just a hook in them and no other weight to hinder their movements. They are terrific baits for catching shook, redfish, jacks, trout, Spanish mackerel, and other species along mangrove shorelines and on the inshore grass flats.

Offshore anglers use them to chum up tuna and other species off of area reefs and wrecks. Pin fish have a row of needle sharp dorsal fins, this is how they get their name.

fishing saltwater florida central lures doa flats mosquito floridainshorefishingcharters
(Source: www.floridainshorefishingcharters.com)

Of the two, grunts are generally more desirable and pin fish are more readily available. Some bait shops sell live pin fish and grunts, it just depends upon the area and the demand.

Both pinkish and grunts do need some type of aeration or water exchanged in order to stay a live and active. Pinkish and grunts can be caught on the shallow grass flats using small hooks and pieces of shrimp or squid.

Smaller pinkish and grunts from the size of a quarter up to about 3 inches along are excellent when used in the inshore waters. They can be free lined or fished under a cork and will catch speckled trout in a variety of species.

Shook, grouper, cobra, amber jack, tarpon, sharks, and other species will take a hand sized bait. Mullet are a very popular live bait for anglers fishing in Florida.

The East Coast of Florida experiences a unique phenomenon called the “mullet run”. Huge numbers of finger mullet will hang up into bait balls and migrate down the coast.

fishing pier lures florida tackle
(Source: www.youtube.com)

3” blue crabs are used extensively as live bait for tarpon on both coasts of Florida. With the pictures usually removed, the bait is hooked through the corner of the shell and cast out towards schools of rolling fish.

Pass crabs are caught by anglers on the outgoing tide and used as tarpon baits as well. Blue crabs are also used by inshore anglers fishing for redfish and black drum.

Instead, they are cut in half’s or quarters depending on the size and fished on the bottom. This technique is used extensively in the mosquito Lagoon and banana River areas for trophy redfish.

Small crabs are used for anglers chasing permit on both the flats and the offshore wrecks. Anglers bottom fishing for sleepyhead and snapper will catch oyster crabs around the rocks on low tide.

They are most often used by anglers surf fishing sand fleas, also known as mole crabs. Anglers bottom fish with them around the normal structure such as docks, bridges, rock piles, jetties, and more.

fishing florida saltwater bait shrimp bobber fun wintertime fin starting forrest fisher hang cast
(Source: www.sharetheoutdoors.com)

In all presentations, the hook should match the size of the bait being used, but the fish being pursued. This technique can be used in any water depth, from the inshore flats to offshore reefs.

Inshore, anglers cast the free lined bait toward structure such as mangrove shorelines, oyster bars, docks, sea walls, and bridges. To some degree, anglers can control or even “swim” the bait, sort of like an artificial lure.

Finally, the float gives anglers a visual reference for when a fish takes the bait. The corks have a concave face that when twitched sharply, “produces a “popping” sound.

A live shrimp under a popping cork has resulted in countless speckled trout being caught. Many fish species feed on the bottom, especially if some type of structure is present.

This allows fish to pick up a bait and move off with it without feeling any resistance. It is very effective for fish such as grouper, snapper, sleepyhead, drum, flounder, and other species.

snook tackle lures fishing pierce stuart ft redfish florida whites crew inshore inlet
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Sharks are highly intelligent fish, which makes them more rewarding but also more difficult to catch. Because their scent is so sensitive it’s crucial to be using fresh bait whilst shark fishing.

Sharks aren’t the fussiest eaters in the sea, they tend to eat fish that will fit in their mouth. You’ll be using bigger bait for catching bulls as opposed to reef sharks.

You can find a great list of bait fish from Florida ’s coastal waters here. The bait which excretes the most oil and blood tends to perform best in the water and attract the most sharks.

Top tip: If your bait has been sitting in your storage for a few hours and is no longer excreting blood. This is one of my favorite choice of bait fish for catching sharks in Florida because of its strong scent and size.

Mackerel are very oily and give out a lot of blood when cut which allows them to be smelt by sharks from a long distance away. They are another fish from the mackerel family which means they have a really strong scent, secrete lots of blood and oil.

redfish fishing saltwater lures bait baits surf tips trout catch shrimp rigs fish inshore texas gear rig kayak water lure
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

You should be able to find this skate in most Florida fish markets, if not you can catch them using crustaceans, mollusks, sand fleas and fiddler crabs. I hope you found this article informative and that you now understand what kind of baits to use whilst shark fishing.

If you are still struggling to decide which best bait for shark fishing in Florida to use then go for any of the 3 I listed. About The Author: Edward M. is an adventure seeker who enjoys waterspouts, travel and good food.

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