Fishing bait

ALL SALTWATER ANGLERS must register to fish any US coastal saltwaters into the Federal Registry
New Jersey anglers can do so FOR FREE by registering at the FREE NJ State Saltwater Registry

We stock the following fishing bait during the Fishing Season:    (CHECK Season)

BASS, black sea / Centropristis striata (Linnaeus, 1758); SERRANIDAE FAMILY; also called sea bass, black bass, rockbass, common sea bass, humpback (large males)
Found in the western North Atlantic Ocean along the United States east coast from Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico; most common from about Long Island, New York to South Carolina. The black sea bass is a bottom species found around wrecks, reefs, piers, breakwaters, and over beds of shells, coral, rock, etc.
The continuous dorsal fin (both dorsal fins are joined into one) is composed of 10 spines followed by I I soft rays. The anal fin has 3 spines and 7 soft rays. The tail or caudal fin is rounded (convex), and the top ray of the tail fin is typically very elongated in larger specimens. The lateral line has a scale count of 50-60. The dorsal fin is marked by several oblique, white spots arranged into stripes, and there is a large dark spot on the last dorsal spine. Large males of the species are sometimes known as “humpbacks” because of the visible rise or hump just behind their heads. BLUEFISH / Pomatomus sallatrix (Linnaeus, 1766); POMATOMIDAE FAMILY; also called blue, tailor, elf, chopper, marine piranha, rock salmon, snapper blue, Hatteras blue
Found worldwide, including the Mediterranean and Black Seas, in temperate to tropical waters. Sporadic in occurrence and location.
The bluefish is the only member of the family Pornatomidae. The mouth has extremely sharp teeth. The existence of a spine in the second dorsal fin, the absence of head markings, and the lack of an interspace between the dorsal fins distinguish the bluefish from the similar looking greater amberack (Seriola dumerili). The bluefish’s lack of finlets immediately distinguishes it from the mackerels. The first dorsal fin with 6-8 spines is low and short. The second dorsal fin is long and consists of one spine and 23-28 soft rays. The anal fin has two spines and 25-27 soft
rays. There is a recognizable dark spot or blotch at the base of the pectoral fins. The voracious bluefish richly deserves the nicknames 11 marine piranha” and”chopper” because it swims in large schools through shoals of bait fish, slashing and destroying everything in its path, including smaller individuals of its own kind. When in a feeding frenzy, migrating bluefish have been known to suddenly overwhelm the waters of public beaches. They will bite anything, including any swimmers unlucky enough to be in the water at the time, and will sometimes strand themselves on the beach after chasing the prey fish inshore. The “chopper.. bite can easily sever a finger or a toe and inflict other serious wounds even when the fish is out of water; as many a careless fisherman has learned.
Some anglers “sniff out” bluefish by their smell, which is something like fresh cucumbers. Fishing methods include trolling, chumming, casting, jigging, and live and dead bait fishing from boats, shores or piers. Live baits are best, but plugs, lures or feathers are also used. The flesh tends to become soft if not eaten soon after capture. It does not keep well if frozen. BONITO, Atlantic / Sarda sarda (Bloch, 1793); SCOMBRIDAE FAMILY; also called common bonito, katonkel, belted bonito
Occurs in tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Argentina to Nova Scotia
and from South Africa to Norway. It is apparently rare in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, and is common in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. It is replaced in the Pacific by other Sarda species. The Atlantic bonito is often confused with the skipjack or with other Atlantic Scombroid species. The bonitos have stripes on the back, not the belly. The first dorsal fin has 20-23 spines. The second dorsal fin consists of 13-18 rays followed by 7-10 finlets. The anal fin consists of 14-17 rays followed by 6-8 finlets. The caudal peduncle has a lateral keel on either side. As with all Scombroid fishes, there are also two smaller keels farther back, above and below the main keel. The Sarda species have no teeth on the tongue and no swim bladder. Also, the intestine is straight, rather than folded in the middle. There is a total of 16-23 gill rakers on the first gill arch. The back is steel blue or blue-green. The lower flanks and belly are silvery.
This species is pelagic, schooling, migratory and feeds on smaller fishes and squids usually at or near the surface. A strong, fast swimmer the it is known to skip or leap on the surface when in pursuit of prey. It is usually found in schools 15-20 miles offshore. Best fishing methods include trolling at or near the Surface, casting, jigging, or live bait fishing. Baits include small pelagic schooling fishes and squid as well as cut fish, strip baits, or any of a variety of artificial lures. This species is of some importance in the eastern Atlantic where it is fished for commercially. In the western Atlantic it has little commercial value except off southern Brazil and Argentina. The flesh is light colored’and of good quality, though held in low esteem by some. FLOUNDER, summer / Paralichthys dentalus (Linnaeus, 1766); BOTHIDAE FAMILY; also called fluke
Occurs in the western Atlantic from Maine to South Carolina and possibly to northeast Florida. It may be found in water as shallow as 6 in (15 cm) during the summer, though the largest specimens are found in depths of 8 to 10 fathoms. In the winter the large fish move offshore into depths of 25 to 80 fathoms.
The summer flounder is a left-eyed flatfish. The eyed side always blends in perfectly with the sea bed. There is usually a scattering of 10 to 14 eye-like spots on the body. As in other flatfish, the blind side is white and relatively featureless. The teeth are well developed on both sides of the jaws. The dorsal fin has 85-94 rays; the anal fin has 60-63 rays. There are only 5 or 6 gill rakers on the upper limb of the first arch and 11-21 on the lower limb.
Adults are largely piscivorous and highly predatory, feeding actively in midwater as well as on the bottom. They are often seen chasing bait fish at the surface. It is a rapid swimmer and a good light-tackle game fish that provides lively action. It prefers sandy or muddy bottoms and is common in the summer months in bays, harbors, estuaries, canals, creeks, and along shorelines as well as in the vicinity of piers and bridges.
Drift fishing is the most common fishing method and probably the most effective, since drifting covers more bottom and keeps the bait or lure in motion. Many are also taken by chumming while fishing at anchor, by trolling, or by casting with low retrievers from shore or pier. The most popular bait is a 1/2 to 3/4 inch strip of shark belly, fluke belly, or squid with the tail split for fluttering action; a killie or spearing (silverside) is often added to the strip. Other effective baits include strips cut from the undersides of menhaden, herring, porgy, young bluefish, or sea robin; or a piece of blue crab. Effective lures include a small spoon, spinner, or feather. Some time must be allowed between the moment the flounder picks up the bait and the strike, Or the bail may simply be yanked away. Inshore fishing is best on a running tide, and the largest fish arc caught late in the season. It is an excellent food fish; the flesh is white firm, and succulent. It is by far the Most important flatfish of the Atlantic states. WEAKFISH / Cynoscion regalis (Bloch & Schneider, 1801); SCIAENIDAE FAMILY; also called
squeteague, common weakfish, common sea trout, gray trout, summer trout, tiderunner
Inhabits the western Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Massachusetts, with isolated records of it occurring as far north as Nova Scotia. The centers of abundance are from North Carolina to Florida in the winter and from Delaware to New York in the summer. It is a schooling fish that occurs in shore over sandy bottoms in the summer and in deeper water, up to 55 fathoms, in the winter. It may be found in the surf, in bays, or in estuaries of rivers and creeks, but does not venture into fresh water.
The name “weakfish” refers to the tender, easily-torn membrane of the fish’s mouth, rather than to its fighting ability. The lower jaw of the weakfish clearly projects beyond the upper jaw. Two large, recurvant canine teeth in the front of the upper jaw stand out noticeably. “Mere are no barbels on the chin. The first dorsal fin has 10 spines. The second has I spine and 26-29 soft rays. The anal fin has 2 spines and I I – 12 rays. The scales are ctenoid and extend onto the soft dorsal and anal fins. In the similar looking spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) the scales do not extend onto the fins. Also, there are I I – 13 gill rakers on the lower limb of the first gill arch in the weakfish, but only 8-9 in the spotted seatrout. Numerous small spots of black, olive or bronze are set close together on the upper flanks of the weakfish and seem to form wavy diagonal lines. ‘Me spots do not extend onto the tail or the second dorsal fin as they do in the spotted seatrout, nor are they as large or as widely spaced. There is sometimes a black margin on the tip of the tongue.
It is omnivorous and feeds on crabs, shrimp, other crustaceans, mollusks and small fishes like herring, menhaden, silversides, killifish and butterfish which it may catch in midwater or at the surface.
They may be taken at any level from the bottom to the surface by chumming from a drifting or anchored boat or by trolling, jigging, or surf fishing. Conventional or spinning tackle may be used. Baits and lures include shrimp, sandworms, bloodworms, clams, squid strips, crabs, small metal jigs or squid, bucktails, spoons, surface and diving plugs, and small fish such as killy. They may also be taken from bridges, docks and piers. When hooked on light tackle the weakfish is prone to give a long initial run with sudden, unpredictable changes in direction. It is reputed to be the gamest species of the Cynoscion genus.
The meat is white and tender with a high moisture content and the flavor is excellent. The skin is usually left on during cooking to hold the meat together and the bones are easily removed once the meat is cooked. It does not keep well and should be eaten soon after capture. TAUTOG / Tauloga onitis (Linnaeus, 1758); LABRIDAE FAMILY; also called blackfish, tog, Molly George, chub, oysterfish
Occurs in the western Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia, Canada to South Carolina, U.S.A., with the greatest abundance between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Delaware Bay. It is known to move in and out of bays or in shore and off shore according to the water temperature, but it does not make extensive migrations up and down the coast. It prefers shallow waters over rocky bottoms, shell beds, inshore wrecks, etc., which it often inhabits year-round.
It is a member of the wrasse family which, with 450 species in 60 known genera, is one of the largest families of fishes. It includes, the cunner (Tautogolabnis adspersus), the hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus) and the California redfish (Pintelometo-pon pulcher).
The first dorsal fin has 16-17 spines of almost equal length. The short second dorsal fin consists of 10 somewhat longer soft rays. The anal fin has 3 spines and 7-8 soft rays. There is a detached area of small scales behind and beneath the eye, but none of the opercle. The lateral line is arched more or less following the contour of the back and has a scale count of 69-73. There are 9 gill rakers on the first branchial arch, 3 on the upper limb and 6 on the lower limb. A number of small teeth are present along the sides of the jaws and there are 2-3 large canine teeth in the tips. Young are generally brown or greenish brown with irregular dark mottling or blotching on the flanks. Larger specimens may be entirely black or charcoal gray, sometimes with greenish overtones, or they may be mottled with brown, black or white. The belly and chin are white or gray and there may be spots on the chin. Females develop a white saddle down the middle of each side during spawning.
Its diet is mainly of mollusks and crustaceans, the blue mussel being the most abundant food item. Fishing methods include bait fishing over rocky bottoms, shell beds, or in shore wrecks from an anchored boat, as well as bottom fishing from the shore in the late spring and fall months. Baits include crabs, clams, worms, mussels, shrimp and sand bugs. It is not a fast or extremely active species, but it puts up a very stubborn fight. Its year-round availability, together with its large size and stubborn disposition, make it a popular sport fish. The flesh is edible and of good quality. BASS, striped / Morone saxatilis (Walbaum, 1792); PERCICHTHYIDAE FAMILY; also called striper, rock, rockfish, squid
hound, greenhead
The striped bass, or “rockfish” as it is known in North and South Carolina, occurs from the St. Lawrence River to northern Florida on the Atlantic coast of the United States; off Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi in the Gulf of Mexico; and along the U.S. Pacific coast from Washington to California. Striped bass were unknown on the Pacific coast until they were introduced there in 1879 and 1882. On the east coast they have been well known to saltwater anglers and one of the most important food fishes since at least the early 1600’s, both in terms of eating quality and commercial importance. In saltwater, the striped bass is anadromous and migratory. Some migrate from North Carolina, Virginia, or Maryland to more northern climates in the summer and return when the summer season is over. Others remain non-migratory within estuarine river systems such as the St. Lawrence, the Santee-Cooper, or the Savannah. To most freshwater anglers, this very important game fish is relatively new. The species moves far upstream in rivers during spawning migrations. It has a native range (in freshwater) from the St. Lawrence River, N.Y., south to St. John’s River, Florida, and also from the Suwannee River in Florida, to Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. In some of these waters populations have become landlocked due to artificial impoundments that blocked their return to the sea. In recent years, striped bass have been introduced into freshwater systems in most of the states, and today many have grown to quite large sizes.
The striped bass’ closest freshwater relatives are the white bass (Morone chrysops), the yellow bass (M. mississippiensis), and the white 11pcrch” (M ariericana). The striped bass is easily recognized by the 7 or 8 prominent black stripes that run along the scale rows on each side of its lone,, sleek, silvery body. One stripe runs along the lateral line, and the remainder are about equally divided above and below it. The first dorsal fin has 8- 10 spines and the second, 10- 13 soft rays. The anal fin has 3 spines followed by 7-13 soft rays. The dorsal fins are completely separated. The striped bass is longer and sleeker and has a larger head than its close and similar looking relative, the white bass. The striped and white basses have been crossed to create a hybrid known as the whiterock or sunshine (in Florida) bass. Striped bass can be distinguished from hybrids by the regularity of stripes while the hybrid usually has interrupted or broken stripes. A voracious and opportunistic predator, the striped bass will consume all types of fishes. Spawning occurs in fresh or brackish waters from late April to early June. A wide variety of fishing methods are successfully employed, including trolling, jigging, bait fishing, surf casting, fly fishing, and spinning. Baits and lures include mullet, squid, eels; crabs, clams, bloodworms, plugs, spoons, flies, and casting lures.


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