One of the most popular styles of fishing around the world is saltwater fishing. The ocean is full of thousands of species and so many that can be targeted from the shore, a boat, a pier, and anywhere else you could possibly chuck a line.
This is also one of the most exciting types of fishing, because you never quite know what you are going to catch until it is at the surface of the water.
When fly fishing or casting in freshwater, you generally know what you are targeting based on the bait you are using. However, this isn’t always the case in saltwater. You never quite know what you are going to get.
There are so many parts of a saltwater fishing setup. There is the rod, reel, accessories, and so much more, but today, we will be focusing on the baits and lures used.
Each one could be specific to a species or two, but a lot of sea fishing baits are general and are made to target a lot of fish at once.
Having an arsenal of knowledge about the baits and lures will catapult you toward fishing success. Without some background information, it will be really tough to land fish from the ocean. Here are is breakdown of popular sea fishing baits and lures that you can use today!
To start, there needs to be a difference between lures and baits. Lures are generally produced by people and are made to trick fish into striking. Bait, on the other hand, is usually made from live bait or bait that was once live.
Bait is substance, so it is something that the fish can actually eat. There just happens to be a hook in it. The difference is small, but important to understand so you fully know what is being used.
In this blog, we will designate one section for bait and one section for lures. This will help you learn the difference between the two and see which type can help you the most.
Best Sea Fishing Bait Options
One of the most popular baits in all of sea fishing is shrimp. Shrimp baits can be dead or alive, and it doesn’t matter too much either way. These are very versatile and can be used to target both small and large fish.
Shrimp are super common in a lot of areas, so you will be giving the fish part of their normal diet. This is the key to any style of fishing.
Plus, the small size is enticing to fish of all sizes. Shrimp provide fish with a quick and easy meal, so even the bigger fish want to take advantage.
Although constantly buying shrimp can add up and become slightly expensive, you will understand the worth when you start getting a lot of bites. This is not a bait that doesn’t deliver.
Another fairly popular style of bait is cut bait. This is when you are priming the water with the scent of dead fish.
This is primarily used for larger fish and offshore excursions. You probably won’t prepare any cut bait when fishing from a pier, but it isn’t impossible. You will probably use it when on a boat and fishing for things like shark, tuna, and bluefish.
Preparing cut bait is very simple. You cut up smaller fish that you caught or bought and hook it up. Then, you drop it in the water and wait for the results. The blood and oils of the fish being cut entice nearby fish into biting.
The most fun way of going about getting cut bait is by fishing for smaller fish in the morning and then using this as the bait for larger game later. This keeps you active the entire time rather than buying the bait at a store.
Finally, there is bait fish. Bait fish are super common to use because you want to do the best job possible in imitating a fish’s natural meal. If you can do that, you are on a pathway for success. Along with the shrimp, bait fish do this extremely well.
Some common baitfish include pilchards, menhaden, ballyhoo, and shads. These can be caught with a cast net or bought from a fishing store.
It is best to catch them yourself or at least buy them fresh, so it has a more natural presentation. If this is not an option, you can buy frozen packs at your local fishing store.
A big perk of using bait fish is it can target species that only eat bait fish. This includes amberjack, snapper, and grouper, among others. So, you can try and corner some of the fish world by using bait fish.
If you want to shake it up a little bit, you can use artificial lures. These usually require a bit more technique and skill compared to live bait. This is because lures require specific presentations, or they will not work as well. Here are some very popular saltwater lures you can use.
Firstly, there are hair jigs. Jigs are extremely popular in many other styles of fishing. Hair jigs specifically are perfect for many saltwater situations. These can be used in deep water with heavier weight and shallow water with lighter variations.
The hair coming from the bait of the jig does a good job imitating a lot of natural species that could also be used as bait. These a re very versatile and best used when you can jig against structure. This will entice those lingering fish to come out and attack.
If you have ever fished in freshwater, there is a good chance that you have used a crankbait. These are really popular for bass and crappie in those systems. However, this is a crossover lure that can also be used in the ocean.
The design and build is a little bit different, but the idea is still the same. The saltwater crank baits will be a bit bulkier and often use stronger hooks. This is because the fish that come in the sea are often stronger and have teethier mouths than fish in freshwater.
Crankbaits are excellent when wanting to imitate swimming baitfish. All you do is cast it out and reel it back in.
The crankbait is built in a way to provide action that fish can’t resist. Some popular colors include silver, blue, and chartreuse to look like a fleeing bait fish. Throwing a crankbait is super easy and can harbor great results on fish lie striped bass, kingfish, and wahoo.
Spoons have one main purpose in saltwater, but they deliver great results in that one area. That one area is bottom jigging. Jigging the bottom’s structure is one of the most popular forms of casting in saltwater, and spoons can get the job done well.
Spoons are not like the ones you eat with, rather they are pounded out, flat or texture slits of medal that are curved and often makeup a really narrow oval in shape.
When entering the water, the spoon flutters and shines whatever color it is outward. This is used to imitate an injured baitfish that the fish cannot resist.
Below the spoon itself, there will be a single treble hook. If you are doing some heavy bottom jigging, you will want to make sure that your hook is pretty beefy so the fish can’t jump off.
Another big crossover that is popular in both saltwater and freshwater is the popper. Poppers are topwater lures that are made to cause a disturbance on the water’s surface. This fires up the fish underneath and can produce some epic bites.
There is nothing cooler than watching a big barracuda breach the surface and destroy the lure.
Poppers can come in many variations. The most common is a fairly short body with a cupped head. When twitching your rod, this cup causes the desired action on the surface.
Another variation still has the cup but a much longer body so you can walk it along the surface. Either way, the idea is to create some commotion on the surface so the fish think’s that is its next meal.
Although there are many others, jerk baits will round out our list. Jerk baits are used to imitate injured baitfish who are struggling to go along. As the name suggests, you twitch your rod to make the lure put in the work.
This requires a pretty steady retrieval, so learning the technique will take a little bit of time. Other than that, there are fantastic in a number of scenarios for a number of species. The color schemes are very flashy, so the silver, gold, and blue-tinted baitfish are covered.
There are usually 2-3 trebles attached below, so your chances of hooking up and staying that way is pretty good.