Shrimp is good bait for a wide variety of fish, including yellowtail, flounder, snapper and perch. It is one of the most popular, all-purpose baits because, according to Ultimatefishingsite.com, shrimp "will always catch some type of fish in the surf." Shrimp of many sizes are available at grocery stores as well as bait shops, making them easy and convenient to obtain. They can be used live or dead with the tail and head removed.
In many areas, crabs can be dug right out of the beach before fishing. Reef and coastal fish such as cod, bull redfish snapper and parrotfish feed on crabs. Depending on the species of crab and the preferences of the fisherman, the whole crab can be baited live or can be cut up into pieces to be used as fresh bait.
Murray worms and beach and blood worms make good live bait for ocean fishing. They are easy to keep healthy and provide quite a bit of action when baited, attracting Whiting, Australian salmon, flounders and many other species of fish. They can be dug out of the beach by hand or purchased in bulk from coastal bait stores.
Cut bait is quite popular, particularly for offshore fishing. Cut bait consists of cut up pieces of fish flesh, which can be individually prepared to fit the rig and the species being targeted. Sharks are frequent targets of cut bait, as are mangrove jack, redfish, marine perch, snapper and other species.
Live fish are extremely popular for surf fishing. Usually, the fishermen will choose a species that is enjoyed by local predators. Mullet is a popular bait that can attract redfish, bluefish, snook, sea trout and striped bass. Menhaden also is popular with stripers, bluefish, redfish and sea trout.