Best Live-Bait Rigs for Fall Fishing

When heading out onto the waves while fall fishing for South Carolina’s game fish, bait is a prime consideration. While fake baits, lures, and frozen and dead baits may bring in the fish when they’re hungry, fall marks a slowdown in feeding and activity. Fish are hungry in spring and summer, and will gobble down anything offered. In fall and winter, fish tend to be a bit pickier, and must be tempted. Think of cut bait as Hamburger Helper, and live bait as a porterhouse steak. Given the choice, which would you go after? Offer fish the marine version of a porterhouse, and you’re sure to increase your rigs for fall fishing

Small(er) Fish

It’s a well-known fact that big fish feed on small fish. That’s why most lures represent fish in shape and movement. Most cut bait is simply chunks of fish stuck on a hook. When fishing for finicky winter sheepshead or mackerel, however, hooking a live fish on may make the difference between a fruitless cast and a successful day out. Smaller fish like mullet, croakers, pinfish and pigfish are excellent choices. On the Wahoo, the crew keeps hardy baitfish in the tanks, fresh and ready to go. The hardier the bait fish, the longer it will swim on the hook, making it more enticing to the game fish. We use only the freshest, hardiest bait fish to ensure your success.


Fiddler crabs are a popular bait. Redfish and sheepshead will hardly ever fail to hit a fiddler crab, and they make excellent, hardy bait for bottom fishing. The crab should be hooked well back, near the back of the shell, to allow it maximum maneuverability as it skims along the ocean bottom. A natural-moving crab will attract the most fish.

Be sure to ask the crew for advice on the best rigs and bait for your Wahoo adventure. With extensive experience fishing the waters around South Carolina, they can offer you insights into the best choices for tempting big fish.