How To Use Cut Ladyfish For Redfish, Snook, Trout, & Sharks


It’s cut bait time!

If you’re looking to have a relaxing day on the water and catch some big fish, it’s tough to beat fishing with cut bait.

You can just soak some smelly chunks on the bottom and hang out until you get a bite!

It’s also great for kids or beginner fishermen because it’s so easy, you don’t need any fancy lures or equipment, and you don’t need to troll around making perfect casts to points, docks, or other structure.

And best of all, it’s still really effective even when conditions are bad for fishing.

Check out the video below where I’ll walk you step by step through my recent trip cut bait fishing trip.

You’ll learn:

  • Where I fished (and why I picked that spot)
  • How to catch fewer catfish on cut bait
  • The best way to rig cut bait for more strikes
  • And much more


Using Cut Ladyfish As Bait [VIDEO]

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Gear used:

The day after a cold front with cloudless skies and clear water can be tricky to fish…

And when you time that with the bottom of the tide when the water is barely moving, it can be downright frustrating!

But we don’t always get perfect conditions on the days when we can fish, so I powered through to show you that even on bad days you can still catch fish and have some fun.

Here are the five steps to catch fish with cut ladyfish:

Step 1: Catch ladyfish

Ladyfish are aggressive feeders and you can catch them on many different types of lures around points with depth change.

Once you’ve found them, slow down your retrieve and do sharp, erratic twitches to get them to strike.

But finding and getting them to strike is just half the battle.

They’re masters at spitting the hook, so when you do have them on, keep the rod tip low and then sling (or net) them into the boat when you get them close.

Step 2: Find a fishy spot

When you’re looking for where to fish, wading birds and bait are great signs that there are gamefish around.

You also want to be fishing near structure.

In this case, there was a mangrove shoreline nearby and I was fishing along a dropoff.

Other types of inshore structure include docks, oyster bars, points, seagrass, seawalls, and others.

And once you’ve found your spot, be sure to approach it slowly and quietly to not spook off any fish in the area (this is one of the biggest mistakes I see anglers make).

Step 3: Prepare your bait

cut ladyfish

Here’s the big problem with using cut bait: catfish!

Catfish love cut bait and it’s just one of the hoops you’ll have to go through to enjoy this type of fishing.

However, there are a few things you can do to catch fewer catfish.

One is to use big chunks.

Two-inch chunks of ladyfish will be too big for many catfish to get in their mouths, so all they’ll be able to do is peck at it.

Another thing to do is use fresh ladyfish.

Frozen ladyfish seems to attract more catfish and fewer gamefish.

Once you’ve got your chunks, rig them up on a circle hook (I used these 5/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hooks) through the belly.

Hooking them through the belly and cutting off any pelvic fins will make them more aero and hydrodynamic, so they’ll cast farther and won’t tumble around in the water and get all tangled up.

Finally, use weights as necessary.

Since the water wasn’t that deep and there wasn’t really any current, I was able to freeline these chunks.

If you’re fishing in deeper water with strong current, check out this rig for cut bait.

Step 4: Cast out your baits

On this trip, I was near a dropoff so I tossed out three baits at three different depths.

The baits in the deeper water were getting hit, while the one in the shallow water was left alone, which helped me identify where the feeding zone was on this day.

Once your bait is in place, make sure the drag is set properly, set the rod in the rod holder, and relax!

Step 5: Catch Fish!

You’ll likely see your rod tip dance as catfish and other tiny trash fish peck at your bait, so it can be tempting to try to reel it in, but don’t do it yet.

Small fish pecking at your bait can attract bigger fish, so wait until you actually have a fish on before you start reeling.

Also, when you’re using circle hooks you don’t need to set the hook.

When the fish grabs the bait and swims away, the circle hook will stick in the corner of their mouth, so all you need to do is reel.


snook on cut ladyfish

If you want to have a relaxing day on the water, but still catch fish, it’s tough to beat cut bait fishing.

Redfish, black drum, tarpon, snook, sharks, and trout will all pick up a piece of smelly cut bait on the bottom, and you don’t need any fancy lures or equipment.

Have any questions about using ladyfish for cut bait?

Let me know down in the comments.

And if you know someone who wants to get better at catching fish with cut bait, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Ryan Welser
1 year ago

How many rods per person am I allowed to fish inshore on Florida Flats? And is it different if you are fishing nearshore outside the barrier islands?

Brian Moore
2 years ago

Question I net greenies and pins. Are cut pins as effective as ladyfish in chunking for snook and reds. Basically now I am only using the pins for offshore and chum. Otherwise, the white bait is what I use inshore along with the slam shadies.
Just easier for me to load up on Pins if I have guests aboard who lack experience but want to fish. The video you made was great learning tool for me to take care of those people. Thanks

Brian Moore
2 years ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Good thought Thanks Luke

Jack Grieser
3 years ago

Good stuff my friend

Ted Machart
3 years ago

I liked this video. On a lazy day if fishing I would try this. Especially with new fishing people in a kayak.

Richard Figaski
3 years ago

More cut bait fishing for all species

Franklin Valencia
3 years ago

Hmmmm…Luke im liking this style of fishing so far…nah but its great you’re not sticking with the same o’ lure fishing style just to give a variety of options. But it’s always great to try out different ways to attack fish…you’ve guys really opened my eyes with your courses…and believe me your courses are amazing especially your casting courses. Thank you so much!

Larry Fox
3 years ago

Thanks, Luke. Great video. Maybe I missed it but what rig with the circle hook were you using? I’m really wondering if the cut bait was sitting on the bottom.
Lastly, it’s good to see even the experts sometime get tangled in their own lines! Thanks for not editing that part out!

Larry Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Thanks for the reply, Luke.

Dan Czaja
3 years ago

I know you tried frozen lady fish in the video. What do you think about frozen lady fish from a bait shop? Sometimes as a weekend warrior I don’t like to mess around trying to catch bait. I want to start bringing some frozen bait in a cooler as a backup.

David Baldwin
3 years ago

Great subject matter. I surf fish mostly using cut bait up here on Virginia coast line. Nice to see cut bait working in Florida too :-). I was getting a phobia that artificial is all you used and I was messing up by using the wrong bait (LOL).  Quick question; I noticed you didn’t use the Ladyfish head. Some Virginia surf fisherman only use the fish’s heads (Kingfish, Croakers, Spot), is there any guidance (recommendations) you have on this. I in turn, have only caught sharks and rays with the heads…all my Red Drum (Redfish) so far have been caught on the chunk bait.  

David Baldwin
3 years ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Thanks… PS- Taking a lot of your advise and applying it to my surf fishing, I had the greatest fishing year ever. When I hit the beach, which was often, it wasn’t will I catch a Red Drum or Speckled Trout, it was what size will I catch today. Thanks for all your guidance.

Shane Wilson
3 years ago

What tide chart app do you use?


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