fish bait 
I will get to more baits as I get time
           Commonly used bait fish



 Green Backs or the real white bait
This fish like the shallow waters of the flats
best, and is not on the surface of the open water
of the Harbor. when green back are in deeper water
they will be near structure of some sort a marker piling or object similar, almost never on a reef
as they are food for what lives on the reef.
A green back is called a hard scaled sardine and is fairly hardy compared to other bait fish, and is round of body
making it a heavier bait easy to cast and lives well on your line.
When using a green back for bait, put your hook across the bridge of the fishes nose.
 not up through the jaw as you would a fresh water shiner
Green backs are very seldom offered in bait shops, as the do not like the temp, ph or salinity changes. very hard to keep alive
while in transportation. So you have to catch them.

  Thread fin
 or Threadfin herring are the White bait imposters
that are lighter in body weight and do not live well on a hook
or in your live well.
Thread fins do have a green back, but it is spotted with black dots and the green color of their back is a
bright green. If you are not sure what you caught, grab the dorsal fin { the one in the middle of its back
and if the fin has a long extension like a thread coming from it. You have a thread fin.
because these are a lighter weight body very thin they are hard to cast,
the Thread fin is called a Soft scaled sardine, after having a thread fin in your hand look and you will see
your hand covered in tiny fish scales. So they are soft and fall off easy, making this  a very delicate bait.
Thread fins are Not sold in stores, in it very hard to keep them alive in the live well of your boat, mush less
in a truck then a tank and then a bucket them on your hook.
Temp, ph, & salinity any of these changes fast and the fish will die. So you have to catch them your self.
High pressure water discharge in your live well, will blow the scales off of a Thread fin, and make them die quickly.
It is better when trying to keep threadies if there is more flow and less pressure in your live well.

           Pin Fish

 a better name would be pin cousin fish
 and I think at one time is was, but was just too long so they became pin fish
The dorsal fin on their back has very sharp needle like spines/fins.
Which are pointy like stick pins. Pin Fish are very hardy live well in a live well and can be found in bait shops or caught in the wild.
Pin fish is a good eating fish and reach sizes of a pound or so a 1/2 pound Pin fish has a nice fillet and is med mild in flavor.
Pin fish are available in many bait shops, when they can be found, The Pin fish lives fine in transport and makes a great bait to buy.
The hard part is finding a supplier for Pin fish. as part of the year they are easy to find and catch, then during other times you spend more in
fuel to find them, Then what you can make selling them. So good to use, live well, and is just not readily available to buy.




                Bally-hoo                             Menhaden




         Pin fish                              Green back



    Spanish Sardine                   Thread fin



     Glass minnow
This is too small for bait, but it is what fish eat.


         Jack Crevalle  / C.B.     



        Whiting  / C.B.            


                       Sting ray   /C.B.


       Sail-cat   “Gaff-top”  / C.B.



                   Sugar trout

Salt water Cat-fish are great bait,
wether you use them whole and live, I recomend cutting off the fins, when used this way
or cut into chunks, ok after frozen but very good when fresh. Catch a cat toss it in a bucket
then once it expires cut it into pieces. very dangerous to try and cut up a live cat. un-less
the fins are removed first.
Cat-fish grow up here, when they are small every thing eats them. I have watched a 6 foot
Tarpon go through a school of small cat-fish sucking in dozens at a time.
It is believed that Cobia will bite off the dorsal fins before swallowing a cat fish.

 Squirrel Fish
considered a bait fish, but is good eating on it's own.
    Many think of them as Grouper candy.
    Caught on sandy bottoms in the near Gulf.



      Sand Bream  /  C.B.





                            Mullet  / C.B.                More about Mullet   






                       Spanish mackerel 
    Not allowed to cut into pieces for Bait, this has a size and bag limit
     So must remain in whole condition. Sorry I know you want to.

Lizard Fish,

Some-times you will catch these in Charlotte Harbor.
Lizard fish are often caught in the Gulf when trolling spoons,
They hit lures sometimes as big as they are.

This Lizard fish is about 12 inches long which is good size for them.
I am not sure if you can eat them. I do know they make great Grouper bait.


They have a triangle shaped head, and a mouth full of teeth.

Lizard fish are not poisonous that I know of.

a fairly common catch in our area.






            Lady Fish  / C.B.                                     



American Eel

American Eel




Bonita  / C.B.

 Little Tunny





Blue Crabs
  Charlotte Harbor is one of the last best places for these angry Crabs
  They are sold as food or as bait.
  For bait uses click here->  Blue Crab bait



 as food you can eat the meat from the body & the claws.




               Blue Runner   / C.B.