I spend a pretty significant amount of time on my boat each day baiting hooks for my clients, especially this time of year when shrimp are by far the best bait of choice out there. It’s very rare that I leave the dock in winter with fewer than 10 dozen of our floppy little tasty friends. Some of the other natural baits that I sometimes bring along this time of year are fiddler crabs, sand fleas, oysters and squid. Now, any of you that have fished with me before (or have read more than two of my past columns) know that I also refuse to leave the dock without an assortment of fish-slaying artificials, soft plastics being my personal favorites.
I always bring along more bait then I think I will need. The reason for this is because there is nothing worse, especially for a guide, than running out of bait in the middle of a hot bite. Just so you know, this goes for both natural and artificial baits. Now you’re probably thinking, “If I have 10 dozen shrimp, that gives me at least 120 shots at catching a fish.” Actually, most bait shops usually overcount their shrimp, so probably have 130 or 140 shots. With all those chances, how can you go wrong? Well, let me tell you this — the biggest problem I notice with my beginner and intermediate-level clients is their ability to set the hook. I spend a lot of time working with them on casting and retrieving, but teaching people when and how to set the hook is almost always a requirement.
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