Quick Guide to Florida Bait Fishing

This quick guide has all the information you need to make the most of your Southwest Florida bait fishing adventure.

By Brand Ambassador | December 7, 2021

When it comes to bait fishing, first things come first: the bait. Choosing real bait over artificial lures can change your catch. But how do you know what bait is best for fishing in Florida waters? You need to know what kind of waters you’re fishing in and what you expect to catch.

Florida bait fishing involves using the right bait to bring in your catch. You can find some bait at shops around the popular fishing spots or you might even be able to catch your own bait. Great bait choices for Florida’s salt waters include shrimp, shiners, mullet, crabs, and even sand fleas. Freshwater anglers might prefer cut bait, leeches, dough balls, and insects.

This quick guide has all the information you need to make the most of your Southwest Florida bait fishing adventure. From where to cast off to what bait to use to make the day’s fresh catch, we’ll cover the basics of what you need to know for a great day casting off in the waters around Jensen’s Marina and beyond.

What Is Bait Fishing?

What Does Bait Mean in Fishing?

Maybe you’re a newbie angler or maybe you just need a refresher. Either way, it is important to understand what bait is before you cast off and learn how to fish.

What does bait mean in fishing? In the simplest terms, bait refers to something used to attract and catch fish.

You’ll find there are a lot of choices when it comes to bait fishing. You might choose to use a lure, or artificial bait. You also might choose to use live or cut bait. There are many kinds of live or cut bait:

  • Dead bait with a strong odor
  • Cut bait and dead bait
  • Live bait

The kind of bait you might use depends on a number of different factors, including water temperature, water clarity, fish activity levels, and even light levels. Type of fishing matters, too.

For example, if you’re fishing at night in murky waters you might opt for dead bait with a strong odor to get the best catch. On the other hand, live bait might be better in clearer waters during brighter conditions.

There’s a little more to it, though. Let’s dive into a few details you might need to keep in mind when setting out for a day of bait fishing.

How Does Bait Fishing Work?

How does bait fishing work? It is a process that involves choosing the right bait for your fishing conditions, properly baiting your hook, casting off, and the reeling in your catch. It takes a little skill and a little luck, but most newbie anglers can get the hang of it fairly quickly. 

The first step in planning a day of bait fishing is choosing your fishing destination. Southwest Florida is a great place to fish and the waters around Captiva Island might just be the region’s best. In fact, Captiva Island fishing is recognized for being among the best places to cast off in Florida. 

From there, you’ll need to choose a fishing rod. You have many choices and the fishing rod you select might depend on where you plan to cast off. For example, kayak fishing rods might be best when you’re fishing from a sit-atop vessel right on the water. You might want a different rod for shore fishing, and a different rod for fishing from a chartered boat. It all depends on your personal preferences, though. With so many varied options, you’re sure to find a Southwest Florida bait fishing spot that suits your personal preferences and your desired catch.

After you have your location and fish stick selected, you’ll need to choose the best bait for fishing. As noted above, bait fishing involves selecting the right thing to attract your intended catch and the waters you’re fishing. For example, worms and leeches might not be the best option for saltwater fishing; mullet and crabs might not work when you’re casting off in an inland freshwater river to catch a Largemouth Bass.

There’s a bit more to choosing the right bait, though. Let’s take a closer look at what you can catch and the best bait fishing options for Florida waters.

What Bait is Best for Fishing in Florida?

You can catch more than 50 fish species in the waters around Captiva and the mild weather makes angling great all year long. Fish you can catch in and around Southwest Florida and Captiva include:

What Bait is Best for Fishing in Florida?
  • Redfish
  • Grouper
  • Snapper
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Sea Trout
  • Snook
  • Tarpon
  • Pompano
  • Tripletail
  • King Mackerel
  • Drum

The best bait for fishing in Florida depends on what you intend to catch. For example, if you’re craving a fresh blackened grouper sandwich after a day of fishing, you might consider bait fishing with crabs or sand perch.

Let’s look at a few other best baits fishing choices to use in Southwest Florida.

  • Redfish: Mullet, pilchards, greenies or pogies
  • Snapper: Squid, pogies, or minnows
  • Spanish and King Mackerel: Sandeel or cut bait
  • Sea Trout: Live shrimp
  • Snook: Live shrimp, mullet, or pinfish
  • Tarpon: Live shrimp, mullet, pinfish, or crabs
  • Pompano: Sand fleas, crabs, live shrimp, or mullet
  • Tripletail: Live shrimp
  • Drum: Crabs, minnows, or cut bait

As you can see from the list above, you might consider stocking your bait box with natural baits like shrimp, mullet, pinfish, and crabs when you’re casting off around Captiva. These versatile baits can help you reel in a diverse catch and help you make the most of your time on the water. Other popular saltwater fishing baits include eels, ballyhoo, and pilchards.

Now that you know a bit more about what you need for bait fishing in Southwest Florida and around Captiva Island, let’s explore where you can buy the bait you need to cast off for a fun day of fishing.

Where Can I Buy Fishing Bait Around Captiva Island?

Because Captiva Island and Southwest Florida are major fishing destinations, you’ll find lots of bait shops around. 

The best place to buy the saltwater bait you’ll need to cast off in our local waters is the Marine Store at Jensen’s Marina™. You’ll find everything you need for a great day of fishing at this convenient shop: Rods, reels, bait, lures, Captiva fishing guides, and even creature comforts like sunscreen and a new lucky fishing hat.

Other places to shop for bait fishing goods around Captiva Island include Castaways Bait Shop, Whitney’s Bait and Tackle, and Bait Box -- all in Sanibel.

Where Are the Best Places for Fishing in Southwest Florida?

The area around Blind Pass and the southern tip of Pine Island are great places for bait fishing around Captiva. You can fish from the shore here or even take advantage of a boat rental to let you navigate the waters and even cast off from different places both close to shore and out in the Gulf.

Other great fishing places in Southwest Florida include:

Where Are the Best Places for Fishing in Southwest Florida?
  • Marco
  • Bonita Springs
  • Pine Island
  • Cape Coral
  • Fort Myers
  • Fort Myers Beach

With so many great places for bait fishing in the region, it is easy to see why Southwest Florida is a premier destination for those of all skill levels to love to fish. There’s more to love about Southwest Florida and Captiva than just great fishing, though. Let’s look at a few ways you can enjoy the waters and Old Florida charm at Jensen’s Marina™.

Plan a Great Day of Bait Fishing with Jensen’s Marina ™ 

Captiva and the rest of Southwest Florida are among the best places for fishing in the state. Reeling in the day’s fresh catch will make you feel both accomplished and close to nature. However, these aren’t the only things to enjoy about this part of Florida.

Experience of Captiva Island charm from Jensen’s Marina™. This true vacation destination is full of Southwest Florida charm and features everything you need for a true natural Florida vacation. Jensen’s Marina features cottage rentals and all the marina services and amenities you’ll need to enjoy your time close to warm Gulf waters.

The vacation cottages at Jensen’s Marina are a perfect homebase for your bait fishing vacation. You’ll find everything from cozy studio cottages to two-bedroom rentals that sleep up to four. Jensen’s Marina™ and Cottages truly offers something for everyone, all with historic Old Florida Charm.

There’s more to Jensen’s Marina ™ than fishing and cottages. You’ll also find a full-service marina with boat slips for docking, a store for shopping, a restaurant to grab a bite, and much more. You can even book island tours, rent a boat or kayak, and even take a ride on a water taxi.

Take in everything Southwest Florida from Jensen’s Marina and Cottages ™ on Captiva Island. We’ve been offering true Florida experiences since 1977 and know what it takes to offer all the amenities needed for a great time. Book a vacation cottage today and plan a great day of bait fishing.

Jensen’s Twin Palm Marina and Cottages™

15107 Captiva Drive
Captiva, FL 33924

(833) 668-7768
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