What is the best frozen bait to use in the ocean?

Do you have any tips for choosing frozen bait? In the past it seems as if maybe we haven’t been picky enough.

Although frozen bait isn’t my first preference, if I have to use it, I buy it the same way I would if I were planning to eat it myself.  The qualities I look for in frozen bait include the color – if fish has been frozen correctly and handled with caution during the freezing process, it will still be bright.  It’s important that frozen bait retains the oils that will attract the fish so if it is flat in the pack, it’s probably old or has been thawed and refrozen.  Frozen bait shouldn’t even be close to thawed.  I’m looking for a texture that is similar to that of polystyrene foam.  When I’m buying frozen bait, I always check for any sight of oil or blood in the package.  If either of these are present, I know instantly that the fish has either been thawed and refrozen or it was frozen too slowly.  If the bait looks as if it’s been crushed, I’ll pass it by.  This is usually a sign that it has been poorly handled or defrosted.  If the flesh of the bait has been bruised, it will be too soft to keep on my hook.  Freezer burn is another problem you will encounter with frozen bait.  It’s usually evident in the discoloration of the skin.  Other things to consider are the type of bait you’re buying.  To attract fish, you need to offer them something they like to eat so make sure you’re buying a baitfish that would actually be present in the water you’re fishing.

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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