Ensuring you have perfect condition sea fishing bait available in your freezer at all times can be a challenge.
Luckily, you can find some excellent sea fishing baits at your local supermarket meaning you won’t have to keep tabs on your ragworm supplier all the time.
Join me, as we take a look at the top supermarket sea fishing baits so that you know exactly what is available in the store and can go stock up on some essential saltwater bait.
Our Top Supermarket Sea Fishing Baits
Squid is by far one of my favorite sea fishing baits and it’s readily available at pretty much any supermarket or fish shop in the world. It’s a very effective bait since pretty much every species of fish in the ocean will enjoy eating it, and some prefer it more than any other.
Squid is usually used to target fish that feed on the bottom and it’s great to add to lures for a bit of taste and scent. Adding it to a jig or your spoon sometimes makes the difference between success and failure. The smell and action of the squid can be irresistible.
Another great thing about squid and why it’s one of the top supermarket sea fishing baits is that it is super affordable and once you put it on a hook, it’s hard for fish to get off. This means you’ll have more than enough time to hook when the fish comes to eat your bait.
Squid comes in many forms in the supermarket, and they all work well. The best is frozen squid, just be sure to keep it cold all the time as it goes bad quickly and it stinks when it does.
Squid bait can be used as a whole squid or as squid strips, depending on the sea fish you are targetting and the size.
Diced Raw Fish With The Skin
One of my top supermarket sea fishing baits is without a doubt chopped-up raw fish with the skin on. There isn’t a sea fish that I know of that would inhale a piece of raw fish they find sitting at the bottom of the ocean or drifting across the surface.
The reason the skin is important is that it is usually silver giving the bait some flash which fish like and it gives a better hold on the hook. You should also look to buy the oiliest and smelliest fish available like mackerel as when you put it in the water, it will add a scent to the water that will attract fish from far and wide.
You can find some very affordable raw fish at any grocery store, and you don’t need to worry about the species very much, literally smelly with some skin, and still raw is all you are looking for. Just don’t buy a flakey fish type like pollock as it will fall off the hook in a matter of minutes.
Mackerel can be a great cut bait either in strips of 1”-2 inches long or larger strips of 3” to 4” inches.
Mackerel bait can also be used very effectively for some of the larger fish species in the UK especially skate, conger eels, and all shark species. Targeting these fish is best to use just the mackerel head and half the fish to be a great fish attractant due to the smell and the blood that the mackerel gives off in the water.
Now, prawns and shrimps are very different things but they do look alike, work similarly as bait, and are readily available at a supermarket. They are one of the top supermarket sea fishing baits as fish love to engorge themselves on them.
You can buy prawns and shrimps with ease and they usually come raw and shelled or unshelled. Unshelled raw prawns and shrimp are far more effective than the shelled ones as they hold more scent and are easier to keep on the hook.
Raw shrimps and prawns will be eaten by pretty much every fish on the planet but giant pelagics but their scent doesn’t last very long meaning after a while, you will need to replace your prawn or shrimp with a fresh one.
While you can buy shrimps and prawns almost everywhere, they are a more expensive form of bait and they can fall off the hook quite easily if they are not secured with an elastic thread band.
Mussels are readily available sea fishing bait at the supermarket and quite an affordable one at that too. You can buy a pint or two of mussels for not very much and that goes quite a long way in a day’s fishing.
While mussels aren’t as effective as saltwater bait such as squid, there are some days when they are all the fish want to eat. Sometimes it’s a good idea to combine mussels with other bait like crab or squid as it’s the finishing touch the fish need to take your bait.
The annoying thing about mussels is that they don’t stay attached to the hook very easily and with one strong bite from a fish, will be gone. You will need to attach them to the hook with a band if you want them to stay put.
You can buy mussels in all forms from frozen to raw, cooked, and even canned. Cooked mussels don’t work so well as they have lost their attractive scent. Frozen mussels are best as they have their scent and are easier to handle before they defrost.
Another of the top supermarket sea fishing baits has to be live crabs, and while these aren’t as easy to find as the others, you generally can find them if you try. Live crabs are also referred to as peeler crabs which means they are shedding their shell but it’s not the case when shopping in the supermarket.
Live crabs are one of the most popular baits and most kinds of fish and everything from bass to cod and flounder loves to eat live crabs. The reason they are so effective is that they leave a potent scent that is easy for predators to follow and when they pick up on it, they rush to eat it.
The issue with buying live crabs as bait is that they are rather expensive and you’re looking for small crabs whereas supermarkets want to sell big crabs for people’s dinners. Be sure to only buy small crabs around 2 inches across at a maximum for your bait.
A whole live crab is an awesome beach fishing bait. Being a natural sea bait, it can be used anywhere in saltwater. It is best-hooked whole on the hook by attaching the hook through the back of the crab’s body and out via one of the front legs.
Many anglers want to ensure the crab is on securely and wrap an elastic bait thread around the crab and hook.
Cart Crab Meat
Since live crabs aren’t very available everywhere you can always resort to crab meat when you’re in a bind. Crabmeat is certainly one of the top supermarket sea fishing baits as fish go mad for it, but only if you can keep it on your hook.
A crab cart is a sea fishing bait made up from the insides of a brown crab that can be bought from the supermarket or a fishmonger. Cart is seen as an extremely effective all-around bait for sea fishing and is renowned for catching large cod.
In making a cart the legs and claws are removed. Cart must be as dry as possible, so when the body is broken apart make sure you drain off all the excess water. The innards are then removed and put together in a bowl that leaves a remaining paste-type look.
The paste must then be formed or moulded into various shapes and kept frozen. To keep the cart on the hook when casting, the frozen form can be wrapped in a “skin” such as a sausage casing, alternatively, the cart can be wrapped with an elastic thread to keep it secure on the hook.
The scent given off by crab meat is very pungent and an effective fish attractor but it’s not quite as good as live crab.
You can also use crab meat as an addition to your lures or jigs. You can also fish it on the bottom or jig it.
Unfortunately, crab meat is a pretty expensive bait to use and you’ll need to ensure you can learn the art of creating a crab cart to use it effectively.
Thanks very much for reading my article, I hope you enjoyed it and now know about all the top supermarket sea fishing baits on offer.
When looking for a good bait always think of how smelly it is, if it stays on hooks well, and how much it costs and you’ll end up finding your best option without fail.
Growing up fly fishing on trout streams in Kenya and the UK, Jamie has traveled the world in search of fly fishing nirvana. From his time managing bonefish lodges in the Bahamas and running fishing safaris in East Africa, all the way to guiding on the flats of Seychelles, there aren't many species or environments he hasn't experienced firsthand.