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Bait Fish Advise

Old 10-22-2020, 12:16 PM
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Hello from Orlando...

I am currently upgrading my 19 ft CC to a 25 ft CC to be able to explore bigger water. My question to you guys is how do you go about getting your bait to fish? I have spent the past several years using fresh and frozen shrimp. Collecting bait is new to me. Do you guys have a backup plan when you head out if you can't find bait fish? What equipment do you like to use? I understand what bait you use varies with your target fish.

I will be fishing out of Cape Canaveral which is about a 50 minute drive from where we live.

I am not looking for your special spots! Just tips and tricks that work for you.
Old 10-22-2020, 01:13 PM
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What are you fishing for?

Trolling frozen ballyhoo is pretty common. We bottom fish with a lot of frozen squid and frozen sardines. Otherwise get a cast net and learn how to catch whitebait or pilchards or whatever is common in your area. But having lures or frozen bait ready is always a necessity as some days the live bait just doesn’t want to be found.
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Old 10-22-2020, 01:14 PM
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I've haven't spent much time looking for bait in Canaveral, as I usually troll offshore with store bought ballyhoo People frequently get pogies and mullet in the port and along the beach throwing cast nets. You can also sabiki a variety of bait at the buoys, wrecks, and reefs. As you mentioned, it depends on what your targeting. I would always bring some dead bait (ballyhoo, squid, cigar minnows, sardines, etc.) regardless of what type of fishing you're doing in case you can't find any live bait.
Old 10-22-2020, 01:20 PM
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Perstince is your best friend . It takes time to figure out what and where when you can catch certain baits. Some parts of the year , a cast net in the river is your best bet. Other times of the year you are better off with sibikis in the ocean. In day light hours baits are typically caught on buoys or artificial reefr with the sabiki rigs. On flat days in the summer you can usually find bait balls within a mile of the beach and catch them with sibikis. My go to is using a dipnet at night with under water lights glowing under the boat. This method is very productive but only at night. We catch about any type of bait imaginable this way including squid, ballyhoo , thread fin , sardines and goggle eyes. It definitely takes time to learn the ropes but will pay off if you put in the effort.

Always have a backup plan as in frozen squid and frozen ballyhoo. Also when you buy sibikis, get the stronger ones with 10 lb branch line and 17 lb main line. They cost less then $2.00 at walmart so stock up and keep 6 to 8 on the boat in various colors.
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Old 10-22-2020, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Yacht Huckleberry View Post
What are you fishing for?

Trolling frozen ballyhoo is pretty common. We bottom fish with a lot of frozen squid and frozen sardines. Otherwise get a cast net and learn how to catch whitebait or pilchards or whatever is common in your area. But having lures or frozen bait ready is always a necessity as some days the live bait just doesn’t want to be found.
trolling and bottom fishing are both in play. Snapper, grouper, hog, Mahi are a few that come to mind.
Old 10-22-2020, 02:13 PM
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I fish off Canaveral & Ponce a good amount. Primarily we troll for Mahi, Tuna, Sails, etc. and also do some bottom fishing at reefs & deep dropping for tiles. Up to this point I have not tried catching my own bait. I use ballyhoo (naked and skirted) and artificials when trolling and then buy frozen squid when bottom fishing with chicken rigs off reefs or deep dropping. I also have some jigs when needed at times for casting. There is a nice bait shop right at the ramp in Canaveral or I also get bait in Orlando (as that's where I live as well). There's a decent bait shop in Orlando called Bitters at 434/17-92. I'm happy to help out with any other questions!
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Old 10-22-2020, 03:02 PM
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Sabiki around structure and learn to throw a net. Fair warning....catching bait is often the hardest part.
Old 10-22-2020, 05:03 PM
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get yourself a pinfish trap and find a grassy area.... would love to tell you about how to catch pilchards, but next week might be my first shot... just watch the pelicans! Ballyhoo you will see pretty quickly on the reef if you are chumming...

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Old 10-22-2020, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by flfJack View Post
Sabiki around structure and learn to throw a net. Fair warning....catching bait is often the hardest part.
This^^^^^

Good live bait will out fish all 99% of the time.

Getting it will f up your world 99% of the time.
It is always very dependent to to the area.

Good live bait and a live well to keep it perfect are a chore. You must have both and be a lot better at having/keeping it than catching fish.

Live Bait, may be more of a science than catching fish IMHO.
Old 10-22-2020, 07:46 PM
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Oddly, Canaveral is the place I struggle to find bait out of. I’ve hit up some of the buoys and shallower reefs with Sabikis and had no luck. Out of Sebastian it, and I’ll probably jinx myself here, is usually easy to pick up grunts, runners and the like on sabikis.
On the sabikis a tiny piece of squid can make a huge difference in the catch.
Also, I usually pack frozen sardines, squid and some chum if I plan on dropping the wrecks or reefs but personally I enjoy the challenge of fishing artificials. If I can’t make it happen dropping a jig I’ll sometimes tip it with a squid strip. But in the end, to fill the freezer, bait is king.
Old 10-27-2020, 10:56 AM
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I've had alot of luck keeping a bag of
bocacoast.com/bait-fish-chum/
onboard in case I can't find any schools to net. A few handfuls in the flats along the edge of a grass bed and in about 10min or so the flurry comes to me.
Old 10-27-2020, 07:00 PM
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Need to have a couple good cast nets for throwing along the beach or in the turn basins At canaveral. May not always be bait around so its a plus to find it. Correction it depends on how long you want to look for it before you head off shore.. Sabiki at the bouys can work too. I always make sure to have ample frozen Ballyhoo and squid, cigar minnows as well. I try not to waste too much time looking only cause the runs are so long out.
Old 10-27-2020, 07:07 PM
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Any boats selling live bait in the area? There are many further south and I have a list of boats in my phone contacts from Stuart to the Keys, would rather reserve bait & spend the $ than spend half the day trying to catch, if you even can. Some days they are easy to catch, some days not so much. At least if you buy a couple dozen baits you can go out and give it a try actually fishing. Not cheap but good insurance to clear the inlet with something in the well, than to spend all tje time & $ to possibly not even get to fish.
Old 10-27-2020, 07:18 PM
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Never seen a bait boat in PC. Heard there was one in Sebastian a while ago but never saw that one personally. Seems like more of a Ft Pierce and south thing but definitely good insurance.
Old 10-29-2020, 09:53 AM
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Just moved to Ft Pierce recently. I asked at the bait shop if they sold live bait and they said they didn't, but there's a bait boat in the inlet to buy from. I've only been out a couple times total and once since that conversation at the bait shop. If anyone has the number for any of the bait boats out of Ft. Pierce, I would gladly take them.
Old 10-29-2020, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ellie's Navi Gator View Post
Just moved to Ft Pierce recently. I asked at the bait shop if they sold live bait and they said they didn't, but there's a bait boat in the inlet to buy from. I've only been out a couple times total and once since that conversation at the bait shop. If anyone has the number for any of the bait boats out of Ft. Pierce, I would gladly take them.
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