Live bait tips to land more fish
A Part Of The What's Biting Series
I like to catch fish on artificial baits. I like to troll pretty lures; I like to cast plugs, jigs, flies, or just about anything else that I can fool a fish into eating. But with that comes less fish caught. I know if I were to use more live bait, I would catch more fish. It doesn’t matter if I’m trout fishing in Old River or grouper fishing offshore, live bait always catches more fish.
When I am headed offshore for a bottom fishing trip, I can usually load my livewell with pinfish caught at the end of a condo dock. It takes a little time prior to the trip, but having pinfish – especially big pinfish – always makes for a better offshore adventure. Docks and most pilings will hold pinfish. I use a lightweight spinning rod, a couple of split shot weights, and a very small brim hook baited with either a little piece of shrimp or squid. Shrimp is very effective, but I have found squid will stay on the hook longer and gives you multiple chances at catching fish on each cast.
Even with my pinfish success, I have always felt I was a bit of a one trick pony when it came to catching live bait. I knew there had to be other ways and places to catch bait before heading offshore. So I did what I always recommend. I went and talked with a local expert at a local tackle shop. Chris Vecsey of Sam’s Stop and Shop in Orange Beach is always friendly and helpful to locals and visitors on all things fishing here on the coast. When it came to live bait information, he gave me more than enough to fill up the largest livewell.
“I always start by throwing a cast net to get some finger mullet in the bait well. They are plentiful, fairly easy to find, and a very effective offshore bait,” said Vescey. Private docks and piers all along our coastal bays are great places to throw a cast net according to Chris. Another bait producing spot is around the Perdido Pass Bridge, but with its strong current, you will need a big heavy cast net that sinks quickly.