How To Catch Ballyhoo

Author: Captain Michael Grimm | Posted: 09/03/2018

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Throwing castnet for live ballyhoo
Throwing castnet for live ballyhoo

In your quest to become a better fisherman, it usually starts with being able to catch livebait on your own.  While buying livebait is a great alternative for those pressed on time, you can never replace freshly caught live bait.  The game fish always can tell the difference and in most scenarios you will catch more fish when you have the highest quailty live baits.

Ballyhoo are a live bait that you can not buy live in a tackle shop or from local live bait vendors.  They just don't hold well enough in a baitwell to be a commodity for them to sell.  You can however buy extremely fresh dead ballyhoo from your local bait shop.  These make great trolling baits for mahi, sailfish, king mackeral and more.   But as I said, there is no substitute for a freshly caught ballyhoo.

In the attached video, I go over how to easily catch ballyhoo in the bays of Miami.  This is a huge luxury to have and you must know about this in order to load your baitwells with fresh baits, even when catching bait is tough.

What' You'll need:

- 2 Boxes Menhaden Chum
- 2 Chum bags
- Small hair gold hooks size 12
- Light tackle fishing rod (8lb mono mainline) No leader needed.
- Small cork float
- 6 Foot cast net
- Anchor
- Polarized Sunglasses

The most important part to catching ballyhoo is to read the water and conditions for that day.  I always plan catching bait on the inside with the incoming tides.  You will get cleaner water and an inflow of baits coming onto the flats to feed. So be sure you have a tide app on your phone and time your bait trips as soon as the tide flips or at the bottom of the low tide.

Once you figure out where the ballyhoo are based on birds, current, signs of life, etc. - throw your anchor and begin to chum.  Make sure you have a sufficient amount of current to get your chum slick going.

Once the ballyhoo show up, you can begin to catch them on hook/line or cast net.  I generally like to catch about 2 dozen on a fishing rod without touching them.  These 2 dozen will be the elite baits and go in a baitwell all by themselves.  

And then the ballyhoo that are castneted will be a little beat up and go into another well. I'll use these baits as chummers or dead baits depending on what type of fishing I'll be doing.

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Tight lines,
Captain Mike


About The Author: Captain Michael Grimm

Company: SFC Design Group

Area Reporting: South Florida

Bio: Avid fisherman and digital marketing expert for fishing guides. I occasionally run a charter, but my priority is helping everyone become better fisherman and better small business digital marketing experts. Sharing fishing knowledge to the moon.

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