April 7, 2015

The Do’s and Don’ts of Buying Live Bait

Make your fishing trips more enjoyable with this perspective from the other side of the bait bucket.

What to do when buying live bait

I know you've seen the "bait guy" hard at work! He takes care of anglers' live bait needs, wading in a tank, scooping live shrimp and counting them into buckets.

That's the easy part! What's tough is dealing with anglers who don't understand what the job is like. If we all did, things would go much smoother in the morning.

Here are some ways you can make life easier when buying live bait.

1. Bring your bucket back.

Every marina I've been to in Louisiana has always distributed live shrimp in a five-gallon bucket.

Perhaps you've been through this routine and dutifully return that bucket to the bait shack. Or maybe you don't know that you need to, or just plain forgot!

The bucket belongs to the marina and they need it to serve other anglers. So, be sure to bring the bucket back! It's nice to do it in a timely manner.

Knowledge Bomb

Bring your own bucket and get to your fishing spot faster.

Besides, a five gallon bucket is a useful thing to have!

2. Avoid chit chat while the bait guy is counting.

If you're like me your brain is real small and needs all the concentration it can afford to perform its current task.

When the bait guy is getting your shrimp he is concentrating on making a good count and doing it as fast as he can. It can be tough work!

Give the guy a break and make small talk when he isn't burdened with work.

3. Afford him a nice tip...if he deserves it.

I like to tip the folks serving me at the dock. It's not something they expect, but it is something I like to do for anybody that will provide me with great customer service.

I was a waiter once upon a time and I know how nice it is to be tipped.

How much should you tip?

How much should you tip?

4. Above all, be thankful.

This is something I am sure to do every time.

Nothing is worse than being criticized for shrimp size by someone who has never been shrimping.

Don't be that guy whining about the size of the shrimp. Shrimping is hard.

Instead, show gratitude.

Besides, the gentleman getting your bait most likely didn't catch the shrimp. Someone else did. He's just counting them for you.

Whether the shrimp are big or small, I always catch fish. Last year I was catching trout on shrimp that were dwarfs compared to the 1/0 kahle hook I put them on.

It has been my general experience is that marinas will compensate small shrimp size with a higher count.


Show up prepared, tip if it's worth it, save small talk for later and be thankful!

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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