How To Catch Bait Fish In Florida – Cheat Sheet for Anglers

Every angler needs to know how to catch bait fish in Florida.

In this part of the world, you should be able to find loads of game fish. And this is why it only makes sense to get yourself a live bait fish to boost your angling success!

There are plenty of spots to go trolling in Florida offshore. These include Florida Keys, Gulf of Mexico, and the Gulf Stream. These are all prime spots that you definitely should explore.

But here is the problem – knowing what live bait you should use.

This is why you should keep reading and learn how you can catch bait fish the quick, simple, and easy way. Let’s go!

Best Bait Fish to Find in Florida

There are many types of bait fish widely available in Florida.

But most importantly, you need to think about the type of bait that suits your precious target.

Sometimes, your primary choice for a bait fish may not be available. This is why it is smart to consider a second or even a third choice. This way, you have options and not get stuck with something you can never get.

Fortunately, South Florida’s waters boasts a number of species that prefer shrimp, among other easy-to-find bait fish. You should never have a problem finding this bait in the shop or even get one yourself in reefs or bays.

Snappers and Jacks go crazy about shrimp. The same holds true for the King Mackerel, small tuna, and the Snook.

If you want to catch yourself shrimp as live bait for your target, you will need to use a wire circle hook (lightweight is best), as well as a line that is the lightest you can find. These are great tools to use for such a delicate bait.

As we have mentioned earlier, there are plenty of bait fish found in Florida. This part of the country is teeming with Scaled Sardine, Pilchard, and Pinfish, to name a few.

Another one you can easily find is the Google Eye. We highly recommend that you use this bait fish when trying to catch bigger fish including the Swordfish, Smoker King Mackerel, and the Sailfish.

But here is the catch (no pun intended) – Google Eyes are not that easy to catch. In fact, you will have to allow a couple of days prior to your fishing day if you want to get yourself this bait fish.

Google Eyes are basically scarce, so you will not be able to see and catch a bunch of them. They are also quite expensive, so it will be best to try to catch this bait fish if you can. The best time to catch one is at night. You should be able to find this bait fish in the wee hours of the morning, specifically when the moon is barely visible in the night sky.

As for the depths of the water, they are generally frequenting depths between 50 and 300 feet.

Certain rigs are effective when trying to catch this bait fish. For instance, there is the Sabiki rig. Once you are able to get yourself Google Eyes, be sure to handle them with care. This way, you can prevent rubbing off their protective coating.

Read More: Are Bait Launchers Legal In Texas? The Legalities to Take Note Of

Other Types of Bait Fish to Catch in Florida

other types of bait fish to catch in florida

Thinking of catching other bait fish types?

In this case, you may want to try your luck in catching lesser-used ones. While these are not very popular, there is no doubt that these bait fish still work quite well.

For instance, we recommend that you check out the Blue Runners and Pinfish. These are usually located in shallows and bays.

If you want to get yourself Pinfish, you can find a few on grass flats. Catching one is also pretty easy by simply using your lightweight and small hook.

Baits, as long as they are small, should work well in catching Pinfish. you can use bits of shrimp and squid to get them.

However, there is one thing that is very important to think about when unhooking this bait fish – they are quite tricky to deal with. In fact, their sharp and dorsal spines are a pain to deal with.

This is why anglers make it a point to trim this portion prior to using the Pinfish as bait. That unique anatomy of this bait fish does speak for its name, doesn’t it?

Now, as for the Blue Runners, these are not so hard to find. They are also very effective and a treat to catch. You only need simple tools to get yourself one, which beginners will not have any problem catching.


There is no doubt that catching a live bait is quick and simple.

In fact, even children would get the thrill of getting one, which makes it an educational and entertaining process.

But there is one important thing to note when trying to catch bait fish – you need to know your reason for catching one. Keep in mind that you should choose bait fish depending on what fish you are hoping to catch.

We recommend that you keep your bait lively and in good shape. Stick to a lightweight hook for catching one. Otherwise, heavy hooks can only cause damages to your bait fish once you catch them.

Be sure to follow our recommendations and tips above to help you gain success in catching your bait fish in Florida. With the season opening up to greater opportunities for angling, you need to be well-prepared for your prized catch.

So, get your tools ready, be aware of the different steps and techniques you need to apply, and you should be all set. Additionally, check out the video below to further guide you on how to catch bait fish in Florida successfully. Happy fishing!

Leave a Comment