Florida’s sunny skies aren’t the only thing that draws people to the state. The productive fishing waters surrounding this peninsula have made it a haven for deep-sea fishing.
Both experienced, and beginner anglers set out on the open water with the hopes of catching tuna, grouper, snapper, sharks, and other large and elusive species. To catch them, they use trolling and bottom fishing for the coveted trophy fish.
But what is the best bait for these types of excursions? It all depends on what you hope to reel in on your line. Take a look at some of the most popular types of fish in Florida’s offshore waters to find out which bait is best.
Best deep-sea fishing bait
Kingfish bite best when you use natural bait rather than artificial lures. They’ll go for squid, ribbonfish, or menhaden shad, also known as ‘pogies.’
Also called the dorado, mahi-mahi is a strong fish that requires plenty of strength to catch. That’s fitting since the name means ‘very strong’ in Hawaiian. A natural ballyhoo rig can work, but you can also have luck with mahi-mahi by using squid, crabs, or small fish.
Cobia won’t discriminate against lures, though they will usually never pass up live bait. Go with its natural diet, which includes shrimp, crabs, squid, and eels. You can also use small fish like pinfish, menhaden, or mullet.
One shared dream of many anglers is to catch a shark. However, with so many species, the best bait for one may not be ideal for another. You’ll want to research the particular waters off the coast to determine which ones you’re more likely to see there and plan your bait accordingly. Live bait will help you achieve greater success, and for most species, mackerel and bluefish should get their attention. To really get them in a frenzy, you’ll also want to use chum.
Tarpon is always a prized catch, and if you want to snag one, you’ll have the best luck with live bait. Lures will work too, but using pinfish, shrimp, crabs, and mullet is preferred for this type of fish.
Another fish that you’ve likely dreamed of catching is the beautiful sailfish. They will chase lures and natural bait all the same, though going with what they eat will increase your chances for success. Sailfish eat tuna, mackerel, squid, octopus, ballyhoo, and other small fish.
If you prefer to use artificial lures, wahoo are easier to catch this way. However, they will be more responsive if you choose the right colours, such as red and black or purple and black lures. You can also attract them by baiting your hook with ballyhoo.
To have the best success in hauling any of these fish in during a deep-sea fishing excursion, don’t forget chum bait. By using chum, you’ll churn up the waters with more options to snag on your hook. It creates a smell that is utterly irresistible to all kinds of fish, especially those big ones!
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