Sometimes depending on the species you are fishing and the method you are using to catch these fish there is no substitute for live bait. Whether it is squid, slimy mackerel or yellowtail they all have their purpose whether you are live baiting off the rocks, trolling or down rigging. Species like Tuna, Kingfish, Marlin, and Mackeral etc are great target fish using these methods of live bait.
Half the battle in successfully catching fish like these is catching your live bait.
Your normal areas to target these fish would be reefs and weed beds but we have also found them off drop offs and quite consistently on edges of current lines. Don’t have your head in the sand either, the birds usually give you a good indication flocking to the surface of the water for a feed and the ripple effect on the surface is easy to pick out on a calm day.
You can catch bait all day but the more productive times are at first light or dusk. It is a good idea to mark on your sounder when you catch your bait or are marking good schools as you will normally find that they won’t be too far away from this area again. It is also easier to plot a route and find if you are leaving in the dark.
Once you find a bait school then throw in some chicken pellets or bread to keep them hanging around the boat until you have caught enough. It is even a good idea if you are inshore to throw out a squid jig and have it sitting towards the bottom whilst you are doing a drift through a bait school.
It is important when catching bait to keep a sustainable amount. If you overcrowd your live well the slimy mackerel will not survive long and if you have fish that bleed in the well the contaminated water can kill your other baits. Try to minimize handling the fish before use, as they will last longer.
Once you have the bait then hopefully comes the prize.