Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips What kind of Bait to use?
What kind of Bait to use?

"I'm going fishing but I don't know what kind of bait to use?"


 First of all, you have to decide where you want to fish and what you want to fish for.  If you are fishing in the surf

you may choose totally different baits than if you were fishing on the bayside. Anglers fishing from the shore in North

Ocean City may be targeting different fish than the anglers that are drifting in boats in the deeper channels closer to

the inlet.


 "We're in a boat and we want to catch flounder!"


  For anglers in boats fishing for flounder, the basic flounder baits to use are either live minnows or frozen shiners.

Live minnows are hooked through the lips, while frozen shiners are hooked through the eyes. When using minnows, you only

use one minnow at a time on the hook. When using shiners, you may hang two or even three shiners on a single hook.


 Many anglers like to add a strip of squid to the minnow or shiner bait when fishing for flounder. Always put the baits

on together on the same hook. Hook the minnow through the lips and then add the strip of squid beside it on the same

hook. If you are using frozen shiners, hook the shiner through the eyes and hook the squid strip beside the shiner on

the same hook.


 "I hear they're catching croaker drifting in the bay as well."


 To catch the larger croaker, don't be afraid to use a big bait.  Croaker can be very aggressive and it is easy to catch

croaker on flounder hooks and flounder bait. Croaker like squid, so the most important thing to do, is be sure to use

the squid strip on the hook along with the shiner or minnow so you can catch either croaker or flounder. (Flounder are

usually in the deepest holes, while the croaker bite in water 6 to 15 feet deep.)


 "How do you cut the squid?"


 To "dress" squid, you want to pull off the head, peel off the skin like an onion, and cut the squid meat into tapered

strips anywhere from one and a half to two inches long. Some anglers like to marinate their squid strips in "Shedder

Crab Oil."


 "What about that "pre-cut" squid that is sold in cups?"


 This is very popular bait in Ocean City, mainly because it is so easy to use. Some brands come already marinated in the

"Shedder Crab Oil" as well. You may need to cut the squid strips into smaller strips for croaker, but on the whole, it

is fine bait to use in the bay when used in combination with shiners or squid. This squid is "thick" squid so it stays

on the hook. Some people like the "thick" squid and some people don't; that's just the way it is!


 If you are croaker fishing, you may want to save the heads of the squid for bait. Croaker are not particular at all,

and don't much care which part of the squid you are using. Flounder, on the other hand like an attractive tapered strip

of squid. I believe the difference is that flounder are "site feeders" while croaker are using their sense of smell.


 "Is there any difference whether I use live minnows or frozen shiners?"


 Some people like one, and some people like the other. On the whole, they work equally well.  A lot depends on what the

flounder are feeding on and where you are fishing. Shiners tend to hang around sandy bars while minnows are naturally

around marshy muddy areas. This is why live minnows are always popular in the bay behind Assateague in areas such as

"fishing behind the Airport" because there are lots of green marshes there. Anglers fishing from the Route 50 Bridge,

for instance, use frozen shiners two to one. This is probably two-fold. There are big sandy bars near the Route 50

Bridge so flounder are naturally feeding on shiners. It is also easier to carry a small pack of frozen shiners up on the

Bridge rather than toting a heavy minnow bucket full of water!


 Live minnows have a more natural look when the tide is slack. When you are drifting fast, this doesn't much matter

because the bait is moving.


 "We are taking the kids to the 127th Street Pier to just catch anything!"


 Anglers fishing in the North Ocean City area, behind Convention Hall at 41 St. Street, or just fishing in the back yard

off their own lagoon do best with worms or a combination bait of worm and squid. Nightcrawlers or bloodworms are the

basic worms that people use in this area. Night crawlers are just big earthworms, while bloodworms are sea worms that do

have little pinchers and have blood in them. Bloodworms are quite expensive but work best in the back bays areas for

anglers without boats.


 "How do you use them?"


 Keep them cool in the refrigerator or cooler. When you go fishing, take a cooler with ice with you, but do not let the

worms get in the melting ice, or the fresh water will kill them. Take a little knife with you and cut the worm from the

head end first. (Now it can't bite you!) Cut the worm into small sections, no more than a quarter inch long or even less

for spot fishing. Thread the worm right on to the hook. Don't let any dangle off. If you want to "conserve your worm"

cut a tiny triangle or strip of squid and put it on the hook as well.  I would use the California Box squid for this, as

the thicker "cut squid" may be too thick. Always use the worm on a small hook such as size #6 or #8.  Using bloodworm on

a "too big" hook is a waste of time in the bay back from the shore in the summer time.


 This combination of bloodworm and squid is always great bait in the surf in the summer time. You may also use a small

strip of spot or finger mullet fillet on the same hook. Kingfish and larger Norfolk spot go for this bait. Fresh spot

fillet with a piece of worm or without is great in the surf for trout. Take a fresh large spot, scale it, and fillet it

with a sharp knife. Cut the fillets into strips and let it hang off the hook. Use a kingfish rig or small double

bluefish rig.  Cast out, and reel in slow.


 "What other baits can I use in the surf?"


 Finger mullet on a whole finger mullet rig works all season long. Even though the bluefish that are around are smaller,

you can still catch them on the whole finger mullet rig. Finger mullet rigs are made so you can thread a whole finger

mullet on the hook without cutting up the mullet.  If you don't have any luck with that, take the mullet and scale it.

With a very sharp knife, fillet the two sides off and put them on a small surf rig. This is great for kingfish and

trout, as well as small snapper blues. Flounder also like this bait.


 "What kind of bait should I use at the inlets?"


 You can use almost anything you prefer. Shiners and squid for flounder; sand fleas or salted clam for sheepshead,

tautog, striper and drum; cut fresh spot or mullet for bluefish or trout; live eel for stripers; bloodworms for any

little fish; and squid for the little sea bass or all around fishing.


 "How do you use a peeler?"


 Frozen peelers are sold at many local tackle stores. Pull off the shell, and cut it into four sections.  Hook the

peeler only once through the shell. If you handle it too much it will turn to "mush" and then it won't stay on at all!

Many people put the peeler on a bucktail jig and fish for trout or stripers in the inlet.


 Bait, bait, bait. what to choose. I always take several different kinds, and probably entirely too much. But that's

better than running out or having the wrong kind of bait that particular day!


 Good fishing..



Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2009 15:29