The Best Bait for Sea Bass

The Best Bait for Sea Bass

Explore America's Campgrounds

Sea bass fishing--for black sea bass in particular--is one of the most popular Atlantic coast sports, and one of the most rewarding. According to, sea bass are relatively simple to locate and catch and a limit of 25 fish are allowed per angler, per day. Most sea bass weigh 1.5 to 2 lbs., but your choice of bait may play a big role in attracting larger fish on your fishing expeditions.

Live Bait

Sea bass can be effectively caught using a wide variety of live or cut bait: mullet, sardines, mackerel, eels, croakers, small crabs with their shells cracked to allow for easier placement on the hook, clams, squid and menhaden, also known as mossbunker or pogy. If you choose to use live bait, keep it cool and use it promptly after collection. Larger bait items, such as squid, can be cut into strips and placed on individual hooks. However, advises that your chance of catching large sea bass increases with the size of the live bait you use: using large, whole squid may catch you fewer total fish but a much larger average weight.

Bucktail Jigs

While live bait is the choice of most anglers when fishing for sea bass, recommends that large artificial bait, when used properly, can catch you more and larger fish than cut or live natural bait, agrees. Bucktail jigs are considered the best choice. You can use these jigs with or without a strip of cut bait placed on the end. When using this lure, cast out, allow the jig to reach the bottom, then, very quickly, jig it back to you.


Both Viper spoons and jigging spoons are also excellent choices for catching large sea bass. Unlike the bucktail jigs, these artificial lures are designed to be tipped with live or cut bait, preferably squid, clams or crabs, and should not be used without bait. Artificial bait can be placed at the end of the Viper spoon, but natural bait will be more effective.

Plastic Shads also recommends trying plastic shads in a number of different colors, patterns and shades. Since sea bass congregate near the bottom of the water, you'll need to be certain to attach the plastic shad to a jig head that is heavy enough to sink them the lures far enough down after casting.


If you're fishing in dark or densely grassy water, consider using a crankbait. The sea bass won't be able to see other bait as well if the water is murky or grass-filled, however they will be drawn to the sound of the crankbait.

Gone Outdoors