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SCIENTIFIC NAME: Harengula jaguana
AKA: scaled sardine, white bait, horse minnow
Pilchards are distinguished by their sharply pointed, keeled belly, bright, shiny sides and large eyes. Pilchards are small bait fish in the herring family that travel in large schools. Scaled sardines grow to an average of six inches and are great baits for almost all species of fish. Pilchards are often confused with Thread Herring in appearance, but generally have a larger eye and there is no thread on the dorsal fin.
Pilchards are great for almost every fishing method. When trolling, hook them through the nose. Do not go through the eye socket, they will come off the hook. If you look closely, you will see a small “V” shaped area in front of the eyes – the hook should go through this area. If it is hard to insert the hook, then you know this is the right spot.
When bottom fishing, you can hook the bait through the nose in the same place as trolling, particularly if there is a strong current running. If there is no current or the current is light you can hook the white bait through the area where the pelvic fin is attached to the body. This makes the bait spin like mad on the bottom and will frequently trigger a feeding frenzy when dropped into lethargic fish that are not feeding well. Cut diagonally and dropped to the bottom drives snappers wild. Pilchards are great chum when cut into very small pieces and dropped overboard into the current or dropped to the bottom in a chum basket.
One of the best baits for snappers, grouper, king mackerel, mackerel, and inshore fish like snook and trout as well.
Whole fish – 1 lb bag
Whole fish in bulk boxes