We get a lot of people who come to our fishing charters in Hawaii who are experienced with fishing on freshwater lakes and rivers, but who might never have attempted deep sea or ocean fishing before. As such, they’re often curious about the types of bait that are used in these settings.
We do always recommend fishing with live, natural bait, as it is the most productive method of fishing for saltwater game fish. Here’s a quick overview of some of the best types of bait you can use, which you’ll probably handle on your fishing charter in Hawaii:
- Bait fish: Bait fish are perhaps the type of bait most commonly used on fishing charters, as they’ll work well to catch just about all types of large, saltwater game fish. Some common types of saltwater bait fish include mullet, menhaden, sardines, ballyhoo, pilchards, herring and eels. There are several ways you can rig these bait fish, but the most common is to pass the hook through the lips, eye sockets or nose for trolling, or through the base of the tail for freelining. If you wish, you can add cut bait to artificial lures to draw in game fish as well.
- Sea worms: Sea worms are an effective bait for a variety of game fish, including cod, flounder, fluke, striped bass, halibut and mackerel. You’ll be able to find these sea worms at just about any coastal bait shop, and you can either use them whole or in pieces.
- Crustaceans: There are a number of saltwater game fish species that almost exclusively feed on crustaceans. Two of the most popular examples of these types of fish are sheepshead and drum. Therefore, you can use fiddler or blue crabs, sand fleas, lobster, certain types of shrimp and other crustaceans as bait when you’re out on your fishing excursion. You can fish with crustaceans that are dead, whole or in pieces. Hook live shrimp through the tail, or live crabs through the point in the side of their shell.
- Octopus and squid: Some saltwater species will go for game fish, but are especially fond of octopus and squid. These include amberjack, sea bass, croakers and blue fish. Cut up chunks or strips of squid or octopus to use as bait, or you can use small ones whole, whether you’re trolling, bottom fishing or float fishing.
- Shellfish: Mussels, clams, whelks, conchs and other shellfish can also be effective for use as live, natural bait. Be sure to first remove the meat from shellfish that have heavy shells so the fish can get at them more easily. For lighter shelled species, you can simply crush the shell before fishing. Larger shellfish can be cut into bite-sized chunks, and you can then slip the meat onto the hook for fishing.
Interested in learning more about the kinds of bait that are most effective for the types of game fish you’re likely to encounter on your fishing charter in Hawaii? Reach out to Sea Wife Charters today.