Let’s face it; saltwater fishing is fun. What makes it so exciting is the fact that such a wide variety of species inhabit saltwater and every time you cast a line out, you never know what you’ll reel in. When it comes to saltwater fishing, live bait is a big deal, and when fall hits, it’s important to know what baits to use for each species when altering your tactics to suit the cooler temperatures. Here are a few baits that will help you when you head out this fall.

For redfish, mullet is a great choice in the fall. If you’re targeting large drum, then cut mullet is the way to go. Smaller redfish will inhale small, live mullet all day, as well. If live bait is the route you take, fish it low in the surf, around docks and bridges, or over textured bottoms like oyster beds.

If speckled trout are your species of choice this fall, then it’s hard to beat shrimp. Shrimp under a cork float or popper is a popular tactic when using the bait and it’s no secret why; it produces fish. Keep an eye on the current, the wind, and be prepared to lose a few shrimp to thieves below the surface, however. The trick is to figure out where the trout are holding and feeding and keep the shrimp there for as long as you can. Give it a few twitches now and then to create a burst of movement and you’ll be filling your cooler in no time.

Another popular saltwater species is flounder, and in the fall, minnows will be your weapons against these bottom-dwelling fish. Since flounder remain on the bottom, you’ll need to keep your bait weighted enough to keep it there amidst the strong current.

Other species can be pretty picky when it comes to bait. Cut baits work well with bluefish. The nice thing about locating schools of bluefish is that, when you’re targeting them specifically, you don’t really have to worry much about other fish taking the bait because blues are voracious feeders and will strike the bait quickly. Sheepshead and black drum prefer shellfish, like fiddler crabs, while sand fleas are effective for pompano.

Of course, you don’t have to strictly adhere to the aforementioned baits. They’re simply the preferred baits for their respected species and have proven to be effective throughout the years. Bait such as mullet and sand fleas, for example, will work for a number of species, but are simply more effective on redfish and pompano, respectively. And you can always try a few artificial lures as well if the fish are being pickier than usual. Live bait is a preferred choice among many saltwater anglers and making sure that you choose the best one for your desired species this fall will help guarantee a full cooler at the end of the day.