Home > Saltwater Fishing > Best Bait for Bonefish Fishing

Best Bait for Bonefish Fishing

The bonefish is a long, slender fish that’s native primarily to coasts, river mouths, and deeper waters. Unlike many of the other fish that anglers like to hook and reel in, the bonefish is not one that you want to eat. 

a bonefish is swimming in the grass flats

While there’s nothing wrong with a bonefish’s meat, its body is jam-packed with hundreds of tiny bones. It’s virtually impossible to pick them all out, making the fish pretty much inedible.

Bonefish continue to grow as long as they’re alive, so they can get to impressive weights. Their size can make fishing for them a challenge, even if it is just catch-and-release. 

Check out our top five best baits for bonefish below.

Live Shrimp 

Did you know that live shrimp is actually one of the most demanded fishing baits around? It’s so common that you can find it at most local bait shops. 

person holding a shrimp for fishing bait

In areas where shallow water shrimp live, you can often catch bunches at a time by just casting your net in the right spot. 

Bonefish are wary eaters, so live bait tends to work best when fishing for them. They also love shellfish, and live shrimp is a surefire way to get a big one. 


Small Crab 

Small live crabs will quickly become an angler’s best friend if they’re hoping to hook a few impressive bonefish. Live crabs will move along the bottom of the water, looking entirely natural while attached to your line through a hook in its shell. 

blue crab in the sand

Because bonefish are a bit timid, this is a great way to trick them into biting your line. Small crabs work best for bonefish, so make sure you get a tiny hook!



Clams make great bait for pretty much any kind of saltwater fishing. Clam bellies in particular are known for having a very distinctive taste. They also have a strong smell, which helps attract the fish. 

fresh shucked live clams

While you can buy frozen clams at any bait shop, catching your own can save you a few bucks. Fresh clams are also more appealing to bonefish. A clam bait is typically good for about 20 to 30 minutes before it loses its scent. 



Cut conch works best for baiting bonefish in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. This tropical marine mollusk is most well-known for its stunning spiral shell, but its meat is irresistible to tropical bonefish. 

person using conch snail for bait

Fishing for conch is controlled, so it’s not always the easiest to get your hands on. These sea snails are prized for both their shells and the meat, so in many cases, it’s easier to go with another bait option. 


Cut Baits

Cut baits are always great for any kind of schooling fish like bonefish. Because the fish gathers in large groups like this, feeding can become a frenzy.

saltwater catfish on a fishing line

With some high-quality cut baits and good line placement, you can easily reel in a bonefish. 

Cut baits are great because you can find a wide variety in bait shops. Try cut squid or shrimp for ultimate success. 


Final Thoughts

Bonefish isn’t the best option when it comes to choosing your next meal, but it can be a very fun and exciting endeavor for any dedicated angler. 

How do you like to catch bonefish? Let us know in the comments below!

Add comment