How to catch and use pinfish for bait

Pinfish bait overview

Pinfish are a great bait choice for fishing both offshore and inshore in Islamorada as well as many other locations.  While often not the first choice of many larger predators, most anything that will eat a bait fish will eat pinfish.  Fish such as redfish, snook, and tarpon will all take a pinfish.  They work great in the gulf or on the reef for things such as cobia, grouper, mackerel, and snapper.  Offshore they can even be used for dolphin or tuna.  They are a hardy fish which can be easily caught with hook & line, bait traps, or a cast net.  One beautiful thing about the pinfish is how easily they are kept alive.  I regularly have my bait pen loaded with 200 pinfish ready to go and as long as the pen is big enough you don’t really have to worry about feeding them or anything.  Also once in the boat a simple aerator will keep them alive in most live wells.  One downside of pinfish is they are tough to chum with when compared to things such as shrimp or pilchards.  When thrown out alive they will swim back down to the bottom and hide, so you can’t get fish really ‘fired up’ by throwing freebies as you do with other baits.  However with as easy they are to catch and keep alive, they are a great back-up bait to have when other preferred baits are not available…

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

About Capt. Rick Stanczyk

Capt. Rick Stanczyk is a locally born and raised charter fishing captain in Islamorada, FL. He caught his first bonefish when he was 3 and has been ‘on the water fishing’ ever since. He loves what he does and enjoys showing his clients a great time fishing in the Florida Keys. Contact him at 305-747-6903 or!

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