How to Choose the Best Billfish Bait

Fishing for MD is excited to debut Team FFMD at the Jimmy Johnson National Billfish Championship in Key Largo, FL on March 9th. To get into the spirit of the event, in today’s blog we’re offering some tips, tricks, and advice for the best bait to use when targeting billfish. Whether you’re looking for marlin, sailfish, or swordfish, the type of bait you choose can make or break your success so read on to learn how to choose the best bait for the fish you’re after.

billfish bait
The new FFMD boat ready to catch some billfish!

How to Choose the Best Billfish Bait

Natural bait

If you are on the lookout for sailfish or marlin and you can handle the cost, rigging your dredge with natural bait is one of the most effective ways to entice your prize fish. Using a variety of types of live bait can greatly increase your odds, and a number of different types of baits will work, including cigar minnows, small or medium goggle-eyes, blue runners, and threadfin herring. Make sure your live bait is lively as the panic vibrations that are given off by fresh bait get the most bites.

Artificial bait

If it’s blue marlin you’re after, switching to an artificial dredge outfitted with mudflap and squid-style teasers will bring more bites. Artificial baits are beneficial because they won’t wash out, which means you can cover more ground more quickly.

A little bit of both

If you’re fishing in an area where both white and blue marlin are present, or you just need to stretch your live bait supply throughout the season, using a combination of artificial and natural live bait can be a great compromise. It can also be much more economical than outfitting a large rig with only live bait. Try placing a few mullet or other live bait fish on the outside of your dredge and keep the artificial bait on the inside for the most effective setup.


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