How To Catch Menhaden (Great Baits For Redfish, Grouper & More)


Menhaden make great baits for all sorts of fish…

You can fish them dead on the bottom in deep water for cobia, grouper, and snapper, or you can fish them live in shallow water for redfish, trout, and snook.

In this video, we’ve got Capt. Jud Brock of taking us behind the scenes with him as he catches menhaden to prepare for a trip the next day.

You’ll learn:

  • How to find schools of menhaden that you can catch with your cast net (and which schools you likely can’t catch)
  • The best size cast net for menhaden
  • How to keep dead menhaden if you’re using them at a later time (this will keep them as fresh as possible and help them stay on the hook better)
  • And much more

Check out the video below.

How To Catch Menhaden [VIDEO]

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Where To Find Menhaden

One of the best places to find menhaden (also known as bunker or pogies) is in marinas, or boat basins, where there’s a bit deeper water.

They’ll often give away their location by flicking on the surface, or you can find them with your fish finder.

Just make sure that if you do find them on bottom with your fish finder that you have a net that will sink fast enough to catch them before they can swim out from under it.

And speaking of nets, Capt. Brock uses an 8′ net in shallow water (10-12′ or shallower) and a 12′ net in deeper water (deeper than 12′).

Keeping Menhaden Overnight

You can fish them live, or, if you’re preparing for a trip the next day, you can keep them in a cooler.

If you do keep them in a cooler, keep the cooler cold, but don’t actually put ice on the fish.

If you do that, the fish will likely get mushy and not stay on the hook as well as they could.

Capt. Brock likes to keep them in a bucket, then put ice around the bucket in the cooler to keep them as fresh as possible.

Fresh bait (even if it’s dead) will stay on the hook for much longer than frozen bait.


how to cook cobia

Menhaden are one of the best baitfish and will catch nearly every species in a variety of environments.

To find them, go to a marina, or somewhere where there’s deeper water, and look for them either flicking on the surface, or on the bottom with your fishfinder.

And if you’re keeping them overnight, keep them in your cooler with ice, but try to avoid actually putting ice on them to keep them fresh and help them last longer on the hook.

Have any questions about catching menhaden?

Let us know in the comments below.

If you’re in North Carolina and want to book a trip with Capt. Brock, you can reach him at, check him out on Instagram @judbrockfishing, or tune into his podcast, the Eastern Current Fishing Podcast.

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Matt Price
9 months ago

thank you for the great info, I always see them flickering but usually not thick enough for the fish finder to really pick up the splotches or schools. Will bait fish chum or cat food help if the bait is spread out?


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