Favorite baits

Ken Jones

Staff member
Posted by Ken Jones on Oct-16-06 — An older thread — Survey of Favorite Baits

Date: June 8, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: StinkyFingers
Subject: Survey of FAVORITE BAITS:

Just wanted to take a quick sample here: What's everybody's "go-to" bait for their local, common species?
The following is "my guess"...
Striper: Bullhead
Sturgeon: Ghost shrimp
Shark: Squid
Ray: Squid
Crabs: Squid
Lobster: Squid
Halibut: Anchovy
Salmon: Anchovy
Rockfish: Anchovy
Perch: Pile worms
Eels: Shrimps (ya know, I've never caught an eel!)
And just for fun, from the fresh side - Catfish ('cause they're so weird they almost qualify as saltwater fish...): Anchovy
What do yo all think?

Posted by mola joe

Corbina: Softshell sandcrabs
Barred Perch: 3-inch motor oil grub
Piling and Rubberlip Perch: Live Sidewinder Crabs
Pier Halibut: Live Smelt, Live 7-11 Perch
Beach Halibut: 4 inch Curly Tail Grub on 1/2 ounce Head
Sharks: Fresh, bloody, mackerel chunk
Shovelnose Shark: Bring Baitfish (Adam )to catch them
Night Time Calicos: 6-inch baby octopus, 5-inch dark colored swimbait
Harbor Bonita: Live Anchovies,
Pier Bonita (if they ever show again), Chrome Diamond Jig
Ray: Fresh Mackerel Fillet
Sand Bass: 3 to 4 inch WormKing Plastics, Anchovy Color
Lobster: American Express at Captain Kidds Fish Market
Not seeing my wife for weeks on end during corbina season: 3 dinners, 2 car washings, 1 movie, and a "I love you" everyday before leaving for work. (That I love you stuff is a killer, sometimes can milk this one into bonito season)

Posted by gyozadude

Similar to what I use, except, shrimp for rockfish and cabz.

Posted by neptune1234

I normally use squid for sharks and rays but blood worms are my favorite. Anchovies tend to be my fav for bay area fish and rockfish and halis up here in Bodega. I pitch plastics for stripers and halibuts quite often too. Of course shrimp and worms for perch and smelt. One long stem red rose for the honies. T bone steak for dogs. 3 beers to catch a buzz. Ummmm.... Hour late home from the fishing trip to catch flack.... Mitt to catch a baseball......Life's short fish on!

Posted by Surfan

By the way, I've already printed Mola's list, lol. I'd also add to the list for:
Perch: lugworms, bloodworms.
Sharks: live smelt, live sardine and live macks, if you can get them.
Eels: (although I haven't targeted them) with live smelt I've caught a monkeyface prickleback eel in the sandy surf of Newport.
Lobster: fresh tuna heads, fresh whole macks.

Posted by Sinker

Mola, Your last one is the best by far. A true classic.

Posted by Shark Assassin

(In order of, best bait first) -

Sharks: Live Mackerel, Live Squid, Live Big Sardines, Mackeral Fillet with dead squid combo
Halibut: Live Squid, Live Tiny Sardines, Live Greenback 'chovies, Live Smelt
Rays: Squid, Sardines, Anchovies
Croaker: Lugworms, Any various Shrimp, Small Live 'chovies
Spotted Bay Bass: 3-4" Brownbait color Big Hammer, Live Anchovies, Live Sardines
Sand Bass: 4-6" Halloween color (I believe that's the name) Big Hammer, Live Squid, Live Small Sardines, Live Anchovies
Calico Bass: 4-6" Brownbait color Big Hammer, Squid, Sardines, Anchovies
Perch: Lugworms, Super small live 'chovies

Posted by mola joe

I agree about the live squid for halibut. I was trying to think more along the lines of baits I would use from the pier for each fish. No question it's the first bait I would buy out of the receiver if I'm fishing outside the harbor for halibut, especially deeper water fish. Inside the harbors, I do better on large anchovies than sardines. Same goes for sharks. Live baits are by far better when drifting offshore. Off the pier, usually it's a nice fillet that gets bit the best. Except when fishing threshers, a nice 6-inch live mack slid down the line is the way to go. It seems I'm the only one who likes a fresh mackeral fillet when it comes to rays. Back in my ray days, my friends and I would do a lot of experimenting with baits for rays. Twenty + rods out for our group with squid, bonito fillets, sardines, whole macks, chunk macks, and mackeral fillets. I have to give it to mackerel fillets for getting bit the best. Taking two 6-inch fillets and butterflying them with the meat out, skin facing each other accounted for most of our big fish. Spanish mackerel was our favorite when we could get them.

Posted by Shark Assassin

I agree, dead baits (as fillets of mackerel and dead squid) seem to work better off piers, but as you said for Threshers - Live mack, that too, it also very true. Usually for smaller sharks I'll put a nice strip of fresh mackerel with a longer pair of strips of squid, usually this works excellent for me. (Dogfish, Leopards, Smoothhounds and Shovelnose are the majority of the catch with this combo) As for halibut in bays, anchovies work great for me too, but when I find a baby sardine (2 inches, three max), I almost instantly get hit. (Talking about Newport bay - I don't know about the rest) For pier halibut, smelt and grubs are my favorites...
>>"Taking two 6 inch fillets and butterflying them with the meat out, skin facing each other accounted for most of our big fish." - I've never heard of this method, I'm gonna have to try it sometime. I've used mackerel fillets for rays a lot, but the reason why I chose squid was because the mackerel fillets tend to attract too many crabs in the areas that I fish in, and when I wind it up it comes back as bones... **Shark Assassin**

Posted by CaffeineHigh

My teacher: oh mola, I have a lot to learn from u, both fishing and sweet talking wife.

Posted by Scooterfish

Catfish: use fresh Duck Guts...a little tip from the Louisiana oldtimers...Scoot

Posted by Ken Jones

Direct from Mallard Lake...There are a lot of ducks on Mallard Lake where my home is located. They occasionally come up onto my lawn - but not if my dog Jordan sees them. Instead, they like to sit on my neighbor's dock - sometimes upwards of a dozen or more ducklings and adults - 30/40 feet away from my dock. Jordan stands on my dock watching them. Or, they'll swim by the dock, maybe 8 feet or so away as he stands watching them. It's almost like they're teasing him. But he only went in the water once and received a scolding. So he watches. However, the other day when I was in Monterey fishing, Jordan got his chance. The ducks walked up onto the lawn and my wife thought Jordan was in the house. But he, seeing the ducks, went over and slid the screen door open with his nose and was off to get a duck. And he nabbed one and had it in his mouth when my wife got there. She yelled and he let the duck go so that all remained to see were a bunch of duck feathers on the lawn - and a wounded duck scampering across the water. Since most of the neighbors are pro duck I'm hoping they didn't see it and that the duck is o.k. but I don't blame Jordan, I think he was just trying to protect the home. Right? Now if I'd known duck guts were good catfish bait there might have been a different ending.

Posted by Scooterfish

Perch: Live grass shrimp

Posted by Anthony

Here's mine.
Shark: Fresh Mackerel
Rays: Squid
Corbina: Softshell Sandcrabs
Halibut: Live smelt & 3'' clear/w red flake BH, pepper rainbow trout BH
Spotted bay bass: 3'' Kalin clear/ w red flake grub
Barred perch: Blood or lug worms & 1.5'' Kalin motor oil/w red flake grub
Sand Bass: 3'' Kalin chartreuse grub
Croaker: clam & mussel
Anthony (Sharkbait)

Posted by salty nick

I like most of your selections, Stinky, but would add:
SHARKS: Anchovy/Sardines
RAYS: Anchovy/Sardines
HALIBUT: Live Smelt
CRABS: Mackerel
PERCH: Shrimp (Pileworms are best, but shrimps are second)
LINGCOD: Anchovy

Posted by eelmaster

rays: squid
sharks: squid
cabs: shrimp
eels: shrimp
rockfish: shrimp/chovies
lings: plastics
perch: shrimp

Posted by pierangler8787

These are my personal favorites from my experiences. I still have yet to try other baits. I.E. Sardines for Bat Rays.
Bat Rays: Squid
Leopard Shark: Squid
White Croaker: Squid, Anchovies, Sabiki
Barred Perch: Bloodworms, Soft Shell Sand Crabs
Corbina: Soft Shell Sand Crabs
Crabs: Chicken Legs
Yellowfin Croaker: Mussels, Bloodworms, Anchovies
Striped Seaperch: Mussels
Calico Bass: Anchovies
Rock Bass: Mussels, Squid
Sand Bass: Anchovies
Shovelnose Guitarfish: Anchovies
Smoothhound Shark: Squid
Blue Rock Bass: Squid, Mussels
Cabezon: Anchovies, Squid
Jacksmelt: Sabiki
Sardines: Sabiki
Mackeral: Anchovies
Thresher Sharks: Live Mackeral
Other Perch: Mussel
Rockfish: Squid, Mussel
Opaleye: Mussel
Starfish: Lead Sinkers
Halibut: Anchovies, Jacksmelt, Squid (on the boat, in deep waters)

Posted by martyborboa

Croakers, perch - ghost shrimp
halibut - grunion
Spotted Bay Bass - smelt
Spotted Sand Bass - smelt
Barracudas - sardines
Yellowtail - small mackerel
White Sea Bass - live squid
Calico Bass - anchovies
Bonito - anchovies
Mackerel - squid strips
Corbina - soft-shelled sand crabs
Sculpin/Rockfish - fresh mussels
Opaleye - peas
Bonefish - ghost shrimp
Turbot - ghost shrimp
Shortfin Corvina - anchovies
Catfish - Bonito
Florida Largemouth Bass - Shiner minnows
Corvina (Salton Sea) - small tilapia
Crappie - mealworms
Blue Gill - red worms
This is pretty much what I target each year with the changing seasons. In some cases I actually prefer lures but you asked for bait preferences. Hope this helps, Marty B.

Posted by StinkyFingers

Great feedback. And a heck of a place for a beginner to start, huh?
Seems like we've got the squids, shrimps, and little fishes as the ruling baits of the sea.
Love what I hear about duck guts and cats - keep that in mind for huntin' season.

Posted by Rock Hopper

Definately cooked shrimp for: greenling, monkeyface eels, rockfish, striped perch.
By far plastics for lings.

Posted by pierangler8787

Chicken Legs have produced some of the largest Spider Crabs to date for me. Has anyone ever tried them? You northern folks may not have as much success with them, but anyone crabbing in the So.Cal area, or at least in Ventura County should try them.

Posted by eelmaster

Chicken Legs not too great here

Posted by MinnowMagnet
Oct 16, 2006

Striper: Anchovy/Pileworm
Sturgeon: Herring
Shark: Squid
Ray: Squid/Anchovy
Crabs: chicken
Lobster: ?????
Halibut: Anchovy
Salmon: Anchovy
Rockfish: Anchovy/squid
Perch: Shrimp
Eels: Squid
Catfish: Hotdog/clams

Posted by ken Jones

Have to disagree on the perch. Although I have always done better on striped perch with small pieces of market shrimp, and have done better in the Bay Area using grass shrimp for pileperch, and have had days when ghost shrimp and fresh mussels could not be beat, overall I still catch more perch on pile worms than on any other bait. I've used it from San Diego to Crescent City for perch and had success. Other worms in order of preference —bloodworms, lug worms, nuclear worms (but I wish F&G would decide if nuclear worms are really good for the environment. They still sell them but I've heard conflicting statements about them). Had some nuclear worms given to me on this last trip south and they did not do as good as the lug worms that I had purchased.

Baits used and results from last weeks trip south —

Lug worms produced:
Opaleye 3
White Seaperch 10
Pileperch 2
Walleye Surfperch 12
Rainbow Seaperch 6
Senorita 12
Kelp Bass 3
Rock Wrasse 1
Giant Kelpfish 1
Jacksmelt 7
Topsmelt 5
California Lizardfish 4
Speckled Sanddab 3
Brown Rockfish 9
Jack Mackerel 1
Gopher Rockfish 1
Staghorn Sculpin 1
Pacific Mackerel 3
Cabezon 1
Shinerperch 22

Nuclear worms produced (at Pismo Beach after I ran out of lug worms):
8 Barred Surfperch
3 Topsmelt
1 Walleye Surfperch
1 Speckled Sanddab

Cut mackerel produced:
Pacific Mackerel 82
Jack Mackerel 1
Sardine 1

Live bait (a small jack mackerel) produced:
California Scorpionfish 1

Posted by Danthefisherman

Ever catch surf perch with whole anchovies?

Posted by Ken Jones

Cut anchovies yes, whole anchovies no.

Posted by songslinger

Once… Caught one of the largest barred perch I've ever tangled with while dragging a whole frozen anchovy at Fort Cronkite. It was in the solid color phase--no bars--and at first I had no idea what it was. It was rubberlip size. Lots of teeth on that old granddad. Hope he sired many after I let him go.

Posted by stripesidechaser

Redfish caught a BSP on a live anchovy… right at the end of the old Berkeley pier on my boat. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it.

Posted by eelmaster

I had a Calico hit a whole squid.