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Spanish Sardine

Here’s my all-time favorite bait for just about everything on the Gulf coast! Spanish sardines (Sardinella aurita) are members of the herring family and have a slender body, bluish or greenish back, white belly and very silver sides. They grow to about ten inches – and will fill your bait well with loose scales very quickly. You must have a good water flow to keep them healthy – especially during summer when water temperatures are high. Everything loves to eat sardines and they are great bait either alive or cut, trolled or fished on the bottom….

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A short history of bait fish in the Tampa Bay area.

In 1970 the fishing in the eastern Gulf was fantastic. The mullet were prolific all over the Tampa Bay area. Kingfish were large and numerous in the spring and fall and there were so many grouper in shallow water that they were considered a nuisance fish during kingfish season. There were such large schools of Spanish sardines, scaled sardines, threadfin herring, and menhaden that you could seemingly walk on them from one side of Tampa Bay to the other……

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