Whether it is in the ocean, off the surf or in brackish river waters, anglers have ample opportunities to land a saltwater fish. As with any type of fishing, what you catch and how much depends on the bait you use. With so many different baits on the market, and because different fish respond to particular kinds of bait, it's important to know what you're after and what it likes to chase.
Surf fishing is a lot of fun and doesn't require a boat. Use sand fleas to catch most shore fish, such as whiting, perch and the occasional flounder. You can dig up your own sand fleas along the shoreline. Use an all-purpose bait like shrimp, clams and squid, either dead or alive, to catch whiting, pompano, mackerel, redfish and snook. Use gold and silver spoons to land jacks, mackerels, bluefish and other more aggressive fish. Live finger mullet and pig fish attract bigger game.
Whether fishing from the bank or a boat, use the same bait. Ask local fishermen what they use. Shrimp and gold and silver spoons are a good all-purpose bait for trout, redfish, snook, tripletails and jacks. Depending on the depth of the river you're fishing in, top and bottom running lures and plastic shrimp lures are helpful.
Use shrimp to attract a wide variety of fish. Use squid to attract amberjack, bluefish, dolphin, tuna and cobia; it's tough, so it can be used whole, cut into strips or used to troll with. Crabs attract everything from sheepshead to cobia. Eels are a favorite of cobia, and can be used either whole, cut up, or as an artificial lure. Use smaller fish like finger mullet, pin fish and croakers to catch a multitude of species.