Is live bait better than frozen bait in saltwater?

I’ve heard that saltwater fishing is best when using bait – is it better to use fresh or frozen bait?

Most experienced saltwater fishermen will tell you that at one time, frozen bait was preferable to anything else.  Time have changed, however, and in my opinion, the best bait you can use for catching saltwater fish is the bait that you catch in the spot you’re going to be fishing.  Since you want to use baitfish that your target is actually eating, it only makes sense that you take it from the same area.  Freshly killed bait will also still have the blood and oils that will serve to attract the fish.  Typical baitfish include yellowtail, sprats and piper.  If they’re small enough, use them whole – if not, you can always cut them into pieces.  When cutting your baitfish, make sure you’re making the cut at an angle that will expose as much of the flesh as you can.  If you’re using pieces instead of the whole fish, strips will stay on the hook better than cubes and will allow the bait a little movement.  Baitfish that are fresh will be firmer than imported bait and will stay on the hook much longer.  Frozen bait, on the other hand, is difficult to keep on the hook.  While taking the time to catch your own baitfish will take a little more time, it’s definitely worth the effort.

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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