Fishing With Cut Bait: How To Catch Redfish Using Cut Bait [VIDEO]


It’s cut bait fishing time!

We’ve always said that the BEST inshore anglers know how to use BOTH artificial lures and live bait (including cut bait, dead shrimp, etc).

And using cut bait is a great choice when targeting redfish, especially the larger bull reds.

Redfish are primarily bottom feeders and are constantly scouring the bottom for crabs, shellfish, shrimp, or anything smelly and tasty that may be left on the bottom.

When they are not feeding, there is a good chance that they are cruising along the bottom on the move from one spot to another. 

If they happen to come across a chunk of bait in their path, there is a good chance they won’t turn it down. 

This is especially true in the late summer through fall when redfish are really on the move and stuffing themselves full of food for the spawning season.

using cut bait to catch redfish
Large Bull Red Caught Using a Mullet Head

Let’s go over some Pros and Cons of using cut bait.

The Pros Of Fishing With Cut Bait

  • Easy to use
  • Readily Available
  • No need for livewells, aerators, etc… It’s dead!
  • Many types of baitfish can be used (be sure to check your local regulations)

The Cons Of Fishing With Cut Bait

  • Bait stealers can clean you out
  • May attract sharks
  • Catfish also love cut bait
  • Cut bait can create a bit of a mess…
cut bait fishing
Be sure to have a knife handy, such as this awesome bait knife made by Danco

Common Cut Bait Options

If you plan to use cut bait, be aware that there may be restrictions in some states on what types of fish you can actually use as bait.

Even if you are allowed to keep a certain species for your own consumption, it can be illegal to use as bait. If you show up to the dock with a cut up fish carcass, your state wildlife officers may have some questions for you.

Here are my 3 top choices for cut bait:

  1. Mullet
  2. Ladyfish
  3. Pinfish

Mullet is my #1 choice to cut up and use as bait. 

I prefer to catch my own mullet and they are fairly easy to catch with a cast net and very abundant. My largest reds to date have been caught on large pieces of mullet.

Note: My largest reds to date have been caught on large pieces of mullet.

best cut bait for redfish
Ideal Size Mullet For Cutting Up

Ladyfish is my next top choice. 

Ladyfish are bit harder to catch than mullet because you typically catch them by rod and reel (even though I seem to catch them all the time when I’m not targeting them).

But if you can find an area stacked up with them, you can easily put a dozen or so in your bucket.

Note: Ladyfish love Berkley Gulp products, and a gulp shrimp on a jig head or gulp swimmin’ mullet usually does the trick. Fish it close to the bottom on deeper, sandy edges around grass flats.

Pinfish would be my final option for cut bait.

They can be caught with a cast net, and some bait shops may have some decent sized pins available.

If not, you can always catch your own on rod and reel by using a very small hook, a split shot weight attached just above the hook, and rigged with small pieces of shrimp or cut up pieces of Gulp soft plastics.

Docks, bridges, pilings, and channel markers are great places to find pinfish. Also, large deeper potholes on the flats are great places to target them.

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Fresh is Best!

If you have watched any of our other videos on using dead bait (crabs, shrimp, etc.), you should know by now that fresh is best when using any type of dead bait.

Avoid frozen, or previously frozen baits, if at all possible.

Not only do frozen baits put off a different scent in the water than fresh bait, frozen baits will also turn very mushy when they thaw out.

This will cause you to go through a lot more bait when those bait stealers start picking away.

Fresh bait will stay on your hook much longer and puts off a more natural scent that the fish prefer. Smelly frozen bait will draw in a lot more catfish as they are scavengers and love the old, dead, rotting fish smell.

Best Places To Use Cut Bait For Redfish

In order to catch Redfish, you have to know where they are.

Here are a few places that are ideal for using cut bait that will typically hold redfish:

  • Potholes in Grass Flats
  • Deeper Edges of Flats
  • Bridges/Docks/Jetties
  • Inlets/Passes/Barge Canals (Late Summer Through Fall)
cut bait
Fat Redfish Caught using Cut Mullet off the L2Fish Paddleboard

In the following video, I will be giving you some additional tips on using cut bait, as well as rigging it up.

Make sure to let me know if you have any questions in the comment area after you watch the video.


Cut Bait Fishing For Redfish [VIDEO]

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Although we prefer to fishing artificial lures to cut bait (because we can cover more area, get more opportunities, etc), cut bait can be an awesome way to catch monster bull redfish.

As you saw above, there are multiple options for cut bait, but our favorite is cut mullet.

They aren’t very tough to get in a cast net, they have a great scent, and a big cut mullet seems to scare off the dinky fish.

Do you have any questions about fishing with cut bait?

Anything we left off?

Let us know in the comments.

Related Post: How To Rig Dead Shrimp On A Jighead For More Bites (see it here now)

Want to catch consistent inshore fish year-round?

Then check out this fishing club that actually guarantees you catch more fish or it’s FREE!

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4 years ago

Great tip Tony!

4 years ago

Great information. I am constantly hearing of people targeting reds with “cut pins” in this area. I would love to know more about exactly what this typically means. Cutting their tails off and lobbing them out with a suitable weight? Something else? Presentation?

Doug Robison
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim MOREFIELD

Yes, I also cut off the dorsal fin with pinfish and hook it through the lips on a knocker rig.

Reynold Palmer
4 years ago

After hooking the bait make sure there is no scale stuck on the tip of the hook, as it will stop a clean hook-up.

Ross the Fish
4 years ago

I always carry some kitchen scissors (nothing fancy, just stout scissors sold in kitchen section, like you’d use to cut up a whole chicken) i find it’s way easier to chunk up a bunch of fish this way. Also can be used to quickly cut up little chunks to chum. way easier to use than a knife, esp. when in a kayak, or when the boat’s rockin’ and no cutting board. I use cut bait for catfish (the kind you catch on purpose, not the salty ones) but will definitely dead stick some mullet when i’m fishing for reds. Thanks for the tip.

Andrew Williams
4 years ago

Good video Tony. Where do you hook the head of the fish? I usually hook it from the cut up through the top of the fish.

3 years ago

Do you use any weights?

Michael Ruth
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Thanks! Do you use a swivel to keep the weights at a certain distance from your hook?

John h
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Does tbe egg sinker go above th swivel on the main line?

1 year ago

Great tips!

Eric Black
1 year ago

Thanks, Tony! I’m fairly new to fresh cut-bait, and these tips are very helpful!


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