Pilchards, croaker and sand perch
are often your best options.
SEFIS trap surveys: Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata), Tomtate (Haemulon aurolineatum), Red Porgy (Pagrus pagrus), Bank Sea Bass (Centropristis ocyurus), Gray Triggerfish (Balistes capriscus), Vermilion Snapper (Rhomboplites aurorubens), Stenotomus spp., and Sand Perch
(Diplectrum formosum) (Table 1).
Swimbaits and jigs can fool these fish on occasion, but a surefire way to buy a bite is to drop down a small croaker, pilchard or sand perch
. You want your bait on bottom, so a fish finder rig is a great option to hold your bait down in the current.
Here's an example: I arrived with pals at an Abaco Island bonefish lodge to discover that the "native Bahama guides" was really just one guide, an enormous young man from the bright lights of Nassau who didn't know a bonefish from a sand perch
. The ancient 20-foot skiff could get us to a flat to wade, but poling was impossible.
There are certain places, like in Peck's Lake, where you can depend on bending the rod--with snapper, sand perch
and sometimes trout.
He'll always anchor for the fish and says muttons love sand perch
. "That's the best bait I've found for them." They'll also take cut sardines and live pinfish.
During different times of the year you can catch whiting, black drum, redfish, speckled seatrout, sand perch
, pompano and several species of shark.
Live squirrelfish (sand perch
) are such a great gag bait that for many gag anglers a bait stop in 40 or 50 feet of water is a standard start to the day, but sometimes or even frozen sardines will work almost as well
Squirrelfish (sand perch
), pinfish, crabs and shrimp are the most popular live baits with fish and shrimp used more frequently during the daytime and crabs used more often at night.
Grunts, sand perch
, porgies and blue runners are some acceptable alternatives for grouper fishing.