Guide to Beach & Sea Fishing Bait, Fresh or Artificial?

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Guide to Beach & Sea Fishing Bait, Fresh or Artificial?

As with any fishing discipline, sea fishing bait is of paramount importance, anglers spend considerable time planning their next session; what tackle to use, line, rigs etc, but you have to remember the only thing the fish are actually interested in is the bait you use.

With that in mind, the following paragraphs focus on sea fishing bait; what is the best bait for sea fishing? What type of sea fishing bait is there? Is there sea fishing bait near me?


Fresh Baits



There is a plethora of fresh sea fishing baits available to the angler, the most popular of which, or at least the most commonly used fresh bait is marine worms. There are several reasons for this, the abundance and availability of these marine worms in UK waters means they are both readily available to anglers, ragworm and lugworm are also already a favourite of the species within UK waters.

Whether you forage for the worms yourself on the beach, or buy them from your local Angling Direct, worms are easy to get hold of. Worms are also easily presentable on the hook, even masking the hook when presented properly.




Fish baits offer great fishing because of their potency in the water, this is to do with the amount of fish oils that leak from the bait fish, mackerel is a popular option because of its high oil levels, which seep through the water column, attracting fish into the area.

Herring, bluey and sandeel are also popular choices for the same reason and their abundance and availability on the shelves, or freezers, of tackle shops. It is also important to consider how tough the skin of a bait fish is, as you need to be able to cast your bait a fair distance.



Shellfish are a natural food source for several sea species and are particularly effective after a prolonged period of bad weather. Storm conditions often dislodge shellfish from their rocky home and so fish will readily seek these shellfish out at these times. Mussels and razorfish are the most likely options for anglers.

Crabs are a very useful bait for anglers when the crabs shell is still soft, hence the name peeler crab, and can be hugely effective when targeting species such as smoothhound. The only problem with peeler crab is that they are not always readily available, and so anglers will turn to raw prawns as an alternative due to their abundance on supermarket shelves, they are easily obtainable.




The main artificial bait for sea fishing is spinners, or lures, there are several different style of spinner, each with their own design quirks to control how the spinner moves under water, enticing different species of fish.


Minnow Spinner

Designed to look like a generic smaller prey fish, the success of a good minnow spinner is based on its reflectivity, and not its movement through the water, its design does not allow for a great deal of movement and so you are relying on the spinner catching the light, which in turn catches the attention of the larger species out there.


Mackerel Spinner

Mackerel spinners are fitted with a rotating blade to reflect light – much like a minnow spinner – however, the blade also disturbs the water and so has double the attraction of other lures. The one thing to bear in mind with mackerel spinners is that they’re very light and so cannot be cast too far.


Toby Spinner

Designed to imitate a small, injured fish, a Toby spinner will wobble through the water, playing on the predatory instincts of larger fish species with UK waters. Toby spinners have built a reputation for targeting mackerel, who seem to be fond of hitting toby spinners.


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