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Pinfish are great bait for a wide variety of species; they are easy to catch and are found all over the shallow waters of the Suncoast. Put a little bit of bait (squid works very well) on about a #2 or #4 hook and toss it over some grassy bottom - it won’t be long before the well is full of ‘pins. You can also chum them up with catfood and bread and throw a cast net over the whole lot - ‘pins are fast though, and often can run faster than the net can sink. Sabiki rigs work well for catching pins, but sometimes you need to add a tiny bit of squid to each hook to make it more effective.

Pinfish are very hardy as baitfish go, often outliving everything else in your baitwell. When handling them, watch out for the very sharp dorsal spines - they can really stick you good (that’s how they get their name). Hook them just under this fin and fish them with little or no weight inshore. Offshore, a live pinfish will often get grouper to bite when nothing else will. This is a great baitfish that will also give beginning fishermen a very nice tussle on super-light tackle (nice way to entertain the kids on a windy day).

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