Clams work well as saltwater bait because you can use them to catch many different types of fish, such as sea robin, blackfish, fluke, sea trout, flounder, surf perch, whiting, striped bass, rockfish and porgy.
Fishing with Clams
Clams can be hard to find, but when you do, you’ll have yourself some good bait. Look for them by digging in the sand on the beach. They can be buried a few inches in the sand, or as deep as a foot or more. There are many different methods for digging up clams.
If you aren’t able to find any, don’t sweat it. They’re such a popular bait, it’s easy to find them in most tackle and bait shops. They’re usually sold in tightly sealed plastic bags, containing four to six clam bellies each.
You’ll want your clams to be as fresh as possible, so it’s best to gather them while you fish or right beforehand. Once you have one in your hand, pry the shell open and cut the clam out. Then, put it in the sun and let it harden a bit – this will make it easier to put on the hook. Once you’re ready to use the clam, take a piece of thread and tie it onto your hook – but don’t pull too tight.
Fishing with Mussels
Mussels make great fishing bait because they’re a favorite food of both seawater and freshwater fish. Another great benefit is that you can save money by harvesting them yourself. The only negative to using mussels is that they’re very slippery, which makes them hard to get on the hook.
If possible, use fresh mussels instead of the frozen kind. Even though both fresh and frozen mussels are dead, the fresh ones will have a stronger scent, which is better for attracting fish. The best places to find them are estuaries or other freshwater or seaside areas. It’s best to harvest them right before you go fishing so you can use them immediately.
There are special knives designed specifically for opening mussels, but you can also use a blunt knife or butter knife to pry the shells open. Once opened, slide your knife under the mussel to find where it is attached, then dislodge it and carefully scoop the flesh out.
Take your bait hook and slide it around the mussel at the fattest part. You’ll want to keep the mussel close to the hook at this point. Then, slightly curve the mussel so you can pierce it two more times, if possible. Your goal is to get as much of the flesh as you can through the hook, then slip the whole mussel up the hook.