How to make dead bait look and act alive

This dead-bait trick will help you fool speckled trout and other gamefish.

This dead bait trick will help you fool more fish

On the best of fishing days, fish will bite anything you throw at them. On other days, they are far more particular about what they’ll eat. Often, it’s the difference between having live baitfish and dead baitfish that seals the deal. Sometimes, you don’t have access to live bait. And when fresh-caught dead bait isn’t working, anglers can still tip the odds in their favor.

Chuck Griffin of Aqua Adventures in Charleston, S.C., (843-860-1664) said a little sliver of styrofoam can be an angler’s best friend when your intended quarry — no matter the species — turns up its nose at dead bait.

“When all I have is dead baitfish and I can’t get a consistent bite on them, I’ll put a piece of styrofoam inside the baitfish,” he said. “It doesn’t take much, but I like to put in as big a piece as I can. It has a big impact on the rate and the way the baitfish settles and sinks in the water. And something about the difference in how it falls as compared to how a dead baitfish sinks can really get the fish eating.”

Hooking a dead minnow under a popping cork is another good bet. Anglers can work it back to the boat as quickly or slowly as they want. So even though the baitfish is dead, the angler can add the action. They can change it up by working the bait at their desired speed.

Dead bait is rarely as good as live bait, but with these tricks, anglers can make a slow fishing day a little better.

About Brian Cope 2784 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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