Bait fishing requires a little more effort up front than lure fishing, but that leaves more time for relaxing once you’ve cast out your bait. After that it’s a waiting game.
When bait fishing, You’ll need something to keep the bait alive. A bait bucket works great. You can tie it to a dock post and float it right alongside your dock. These buckets are designed to keep the water oxygenated and fresh.
Live shrimp are available by the dozen at your local bait shop. If you bring your bait bucket by they’ll fill it right up for you. Make sure to get true live ones as sometimes they don’t do so well hanging around the tanks at the shop.
Baiting the hook with shrimp requires caution. Shrimp have little claws and can pinch. Prevent this by picking them up from their back. Then thread the hook through the shrimps outer shell near the tail. The hook should go through the shell on both sides. If the shrimp is large, thread the hook all the way through its body, then re-hook it closer to the front.
Shrimp work great when floating about a foot below the surface. Attach a hook to your swivel rig, then placing a bobber 12 inches or so above it. Try varying the depth of the shrimp and see what works best.
We learned to catch finger mullet with a net in Free Bait for Life. Finger mullet can last for hours in a bait bucket. To hook one, grab em from the front letting them try to swim into your hand. Then hook it from above, just behind the dorsal fin. Watch that dorsal fin too, it’s pretty sharp.
Another option is cutting the mullet in half before hooking it. This attracts bait by releasing oils into the water.
The two hook rig is a great option when fishing with finger mullet.
Pinfish must taste great because even pinfish eat pinfish. The Blue Heron has developed a technique for avoiding their prickly fins while gulping them down whole.
You may want to develop your own pinfish handling skills to avoid being pricked.
To safely grab a pinfish, firmly grip him from the head between the thumb and forefingers. Then hook him in, through the open mouth and out through the small nostril just above the mouth on either side of his face. It’s an easy hook, and the pinfish doesn’t seem to mind. There are kids out there with face piercings that were more painful than this. When you toss him back in the water he’ll be swiming around freely. The other pinfish will all be like “Nice metal.” Where’d you get that?”.
Now that the hook is baited the fun begins. Cast it out there, and Voilà, you’re fishing.