What Kind of Bait or Lure to Catch Salty Fish?

by Brenda Priddy

Catching saltwater fish, or salty fish, is a talent. Some people can fish for days and catch nothing. The key to catching salty fish is to have the correct bait to lure in the kind of fish you want. Make sure your reel and line can handle the weight of the fish you are trying to catch to avoid breaking the fishing equipment.

Glass Baits

Glass baits are a type of artificial lure that work well for catching saltwater fish. Many species of saltwater fish have ridged teeth that will tear through floppy baits. Glass lures will not break inside the fish's mouth, extending the life of the lure. Glass lures will catch a variety of saltwater fish, including larger fish such as mackerel and tuna. Coat the lure in a fish-tempting scent, known as attractants, designed to catch flounder, redfish, snook and other fish. The type of fish attracted depend on the ingredients--consult the label. You can purchase liquid bait potions at most bait and tackle stores or online (see Resources).


You can catch nearly any kind of salty fish with shrimp, one of the most popular baits for saltwater fish, including snapper, redfish, cod, mackerel, perch and yellowtail. All of these fish naturally eat shrimp in the wild, which is why it makes such an effective bait. Make sure the hook you use with the shrimp is large enough to hook the fish you are trying to catch, otherwise the fish will run off with the bait.


Live or dead fish can also help catch salty fish. Yellowtail, mackerel and mullet pieces can catch kingfish, snapper, tuna, goatfish and coral trout. Pieces of pilchards and whitebait can lure snapper, cod, sharks, boarfish, redfish and Australian salmon. Try varying the bait: rotate pieces of dead fish, whole dead fish and live fish. Typically, larger fish such as tuna prefer live fish or whole dead fish to pieces of fish.

Dough or Bread

Some species of saltwater fish will be attracted by dough or bread on the hook. Make sure the bread or dough is secured tightly on the hook so that it does not float off. You can lure mullet, yellowtail, garfish, sweep and tommy ruff by spreading bread on the water. Use larger pieces of dough or bread to lure larger fish. You can also use pieces of beef or cheese to catch some of these fish as well.

Photo Credits

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