Also called round scad. The cigar minnow is closely related to the goggle-eye famous as sailfish bait in South Florida. Found throughout the Gulf it is often found nearshore around structure particularly in the summer months. Often available frozen in tackle stores, live cigar minnows are arguably the very best live bait and can be caught on sabiki rigs.
Commonly called white bait, pilchard, or greenbacks. These abundant smaller baitfish are locally called “LY’s”. Typically not available in tackle stores they can be harvested using cast nets and sabiki rigs. The true “alewive” is a northern herring species and is unrelated to the scaled sardine. Along with the cigar minnow this is the most common live bait we use.
Striped mullet a.k.a grey or black mullet are vegetarian filter feeders that make up a very important place in the food chain. “Finger” mullet are excellent bait for many inshore and offshore species. they are excellent eats when prepared fresh and mullet roe is of considerable commercial importance. Five other mullet species are found in the Gulf of Mexico.
Currently no viable directed fisheru for squid exists in the Gulf of Mexico. We currently use squid as one of our primary bait sources. There are 4 main squid species in the GOM. The longfin, giant fin, long arm, and the brief squid are common at various depths and most often caught in shrimp trawls.
Known in the Northern Gulf as “hardtails.” This abundant small jack is outstanding bait for big Snapper, Amberjack, and Grouper. We typically use larger individuals for Yellowfin Tuna and Marlin. Larger schools are often found around oil rigs off the Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana coast.