Artificial Sea Fishing Baits
You don't necessarily have to use real bait to catch fish, you can use an artificial bait and as long as you fish it properly, the fish can be fooled into thinking that it is the real thing. Mackerel will eat just about anything that resembles a small fish, they will even take bare hooks if they shine. Bass for instance are not so suicidal, stupid, whichever way you want to look at it as mackerel, they will readily take artificials but you've got to choose your artificial baits carefully.
The most common artificial used in the sea is a set of feathers. They are called feathers because originally that is what they were made from, nowadays they are made out of different materials and resemble other critters such as small shrimp. You can also get other artificial baits that are made out of rubber and resemble sand eels and fish. Unlike baits such as mackerel strips, worms, crab, artificial baits cannot just be cast out and left there motionless, you are wasting your time if you do this. When you use an artificial bait you have got to put some life into it so that it resembles what it is supposed to be, such as a small shoal of fish, i.e. a set of feathers, or a small rubber sand eel. This involves casting and retrieving, casting and retrieving and so on, it's quite hard work if you are doing it for a long period of time.
There are other baits on the market that are supposed to completely replicate a live bait such as the worm, crab, a small fish and many other creatures. However, these not only look like what they are supposed to be, but they are impregnated with the smell as well. The only thing they don't do is move by themselves because obviously they are not alive. I have tried the sandworm/ragworm a few times and it smells and looks remarkably realistic.
I have tried these worms a few times and to be quite honest, I was starting to lose faith in whether or not they would work. However after a short trip down to Freshwater Car Park in Brixham, I now have every faith in these worms and the potential that they offer in catching fish. I started off fishing whole sand eel but nothing was happening so I thought "hey, let's give those worms ago for the last half an hour" so I put a whole worm on and cast out near the rocks, before I've even had a chance to flick the bail arm over the float disappeared under the surface like a rocket. This carried on for ages, every cast the float would rocket under, could I hook something? Could I hell. I'm not going to pretend that there was anything big down there, if there was, I'm sure I would have caught it. However, it just proved that these worms are very attractive to fish, there was probably a small pollack or wrasse down there, but I don't care, they obviously couldn't tell the difference between this artificial worm and the real thing. The next place I'm going to try these worms is at the end of Brixham breakwater, casting towards the oil jetty where I know there are sizeable wrasse to be had.
I have also got some 1 and 2 inch peeler crab also manufactured by Berkeley Gulp. Back in 1983 I caught several sizeable bass underneath the oil jetty At Brixham Breakwater using dead prawn. So it only goes to show that your bait doesn't necessarily have to be alive, as long as it resembles and smells like a crab or prawn the fish are really not that fussy.