Whether you’re saltwater or freshwater fishing in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia, live bait is one of the best methods for catching fish. While catching bait is always an option, it requires time. Stopping in at a local live bait store to load up can save valuable time.  Doing a little research will help you find the best bait shop near me.

Why Is Live Bait Important?

Stopping in at a local bait shop to purchase live bait can make your fishing day far more productive. Live bait is one of the most effective methods for catching freshwater and saltwater species.

When presenting food that is natural to the fish will lead to more strikes. The combination of smell, movement, and appearance entices the predator. Beyond this combination, the live bait appears as though it is in distress, thus reducing the effort needed by the sport fish to bite it.

Where Are The Best Bait Shops Located

Some areas of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina have many live bait shops to choose from, whereas others are limited.

Whether you’re fishing a lake, river, coastal area, or ocean, live bait can be purchased for fishing in any of these water bodies. Most bait shops will be situated on the shoreline because the store pumps water directly from the lake or ocean to keep the baitfish or shrimp alive.

The tanks require oxygenated water with continuous flow. Improper water flow will cause the bait to die, and the store will lose out on sales. Ensuring that the bait shop you choose has the proper water flow and the bait is healthy will make your day of fishing quite a bit more successful.

Easiest Ways To Find The Best Bait Shop Near Me

Finding the best bait shop near me is simple. Use your phone or computer and search best bait shop near me. Look through the list and find the stores that are closest to you. Read through the reviews to be sure previous customers have been satisfied with the bait they have purchased. Put the address in the GPS and be on your way to the bait store.

In addition, when you try a bait shop out, try to remember how it is. Did you have luck fishing that day? Were the bait small and unhealthy, or did they last for quite some time? Some bait shops offer better products than others because of profitability; others offer better products simply because of availability.

If you are fishing out of season, don’t expect the live bait or live shrimp to be in great shape. Chances are, the bait shop is having just as much trouble as you are trying to find the live bait.

Considerations When Selecting The Best Bait Shop Near Me

Now that you have some more information about the best bait shops on the market, let’s take a look into what to consider when choosing a bait shop. There are some key considerations to keep in mind if you want to ensure that you find a perfect shop. Some areas of the country will have limited availability of bait others will have dozens of shops to choose from.

Availability of Bait

Always call ahead. Bait shops run out of live bait because of the demand or scarcity of bait available. Avoid wasting your time driving to the shop when they don’t have what you need. Check-in with other live bait stores in the area.

Look For A Boat

Live bait is also available by boat if you keep the vessel in your backyard or at a marine facility. Most marinas have a bait shop to load up without having to get into the car. If you live on the water, it can be nice to have live bait delivered right to your dock before you head out on the water. In some areas like Florida, this is very common.


There is no question that some bait shops are going to be more money than others. Live bait is not cheap, and if you are not serious about your fishing, the equipment you use, and the spots you fish from, you may want to consider other forms of bait.

Bait shops should have a variety of choices for fresh and frozen bait in several different price ranges. Not all anglers are going to need expensive bait.

Word Of Mouth

Chances are you have a few friends that fish. Have you asked them where they purchase their bait? The best way to find an excellent bait shop is to talk to friends and family about where they are getting their bait. Chances are, you will have much more trust in the product that you are getting.

Frequent Customer Discount

If you love to fish, chances are you will be out on the water every chance you get. Similar to golfers having to continually pay for golf balls only to lose them, bait can be the same way. After a morning of fishing, your bait will be depleted, and the next time you want to go out, you will need to purchase more. Try to find a bait shop that has a frequent customer discount program. This can help you save quite a bit of money.

Success Of The Bait

Last but certainly not least, once you try out a bait shop, make sure that you make note of how your day out on the water went. If you purchased some great bait, keep that in mind and support this local bait shop again. If the bait were small and not effective, try out another one.

Why Is it Important To Trust A Bait Shop

Avid fishermen need to find a bait shop that can be trusted. Both availability and quality are essential. When bait ships run out of bait frequently or the fresh bait dies quickly, the store becomes hard to trust. Develop a relationship to help reduce cost and increase your chances of buying high-quality bait.

How Do You Store Live Bait

Storage is critical. A live bait bucket with an aerator pump and fresh batteries is necessary to keep bait alive. Most bait shops will have a valve to fill the bucket. The fish or shrimp will not survive in tap water. Keep the bucket off of hot surfaces like blacktop and store it in the shade.

Not all live bait swims. Crickets, for example, are excellent for catching panfish. Crickets don’t swim. They must remain dry until they are used. A cricket basket is essential when purchasing them live for fishing.

It’s Time To Head Out To The Best Bait Shop Near Me

Fishing provides entertainment for the whole family. For your best shot at success, use live bait purchased from the best bait shop near me. Some days, fish just won’t bite no matter what you present to them, but that is just how fishing goes.  Remember to bring the supplies needed to keep the bait alive because dead bait is not nearly as effective.