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Can you Remember GATOR Bait?

Can you Remember GATOR Bait? Can you Remember GATOR Bait?
By Jim Hammond

When I was younger, a lot younger, there was a product that hit the shelves at some of the local bait shops, called, Gator Bait.  This was a synthetic fish attractant-bait. I can remember this product so well, because I am not the kind of person that strays too far from the traditional methods of fishing or is easily persuaded to purchase what I call gimmick stuff. When I first saw this on the shelf, I thought this was just another way to part a fisherman from his money.

One of my fishing buddies, Dave, had not been so skeptical and had purchased a bottle of this magic stuff, bait that needed to refrigeration, no aeration and could be stored in your tackle box, awaiting the time to be placed on the hook and do its job.

I remember the first day that I was introduced to this magic bait, because we only brought a small amount of dead shrimp and a cast net to catch more. On the first cast with a new net it came untied at the horn and sank to the bottom in 25 feet of water. After this we almost went back to the house to call it quits but decided to go any way.

We only fished about an hour before we were out of shrimp. As I used the last shrimp, I made the comment "we need to head back as we are out of bait". Dave said he had some Gator bait, lets try it.  I being the skeptic that I was, said in a sarcastic tone, "I bet we will catch a bunch on that".  Dave hooked a piece on the hook and sent it down. Before it made it all of the way to the bottom, I saw the pole thump, Dave set the hook and up came a fish. This fish was a little larger than most that we had caught so far.  Dave removed the fish from the hook and sent the same piece of bait back down. The same thing happened as before, the bait made it almost to the bottom and thump, Dave had another fish.  Now I wanted some Gator Bait. I put a piece on my hook and down it went. The same happened to me as with Dave, thump and a fish came up.  This action went on for what seemed to be all afternoon before we thought we had more than we wanted to clean.  My skepticism was now gone and I was a believer in Gator Bait.

Gator Bait has long been just a memory, as it is no longer on the market but the same person that developed Gator Bait, Dr. William Carr has come up with something that works better, Fish Bites. 

Here is the experience that I, Vic Tison, George Strait of the Mayport Princes and James Gergely of B & M Bait and tackle have had with this new and wonderful, fish catching product in the past few days.

The first time out with this new product "Fish Bites", was aboard the Mayport Princess, deep sea party boat, out of Mayport, Florida.

When we got to the first spot, I made two dropper loops on my line, tied on a # 4 Daichii circle wide hook on each of those a put on a piece of Fish Bites on each hook. I sent this rig down and before it made contact with the bottom, I was getting bites. When the rig hit bottom, I made two turns of the handle to take the slack up and I had a fish on. After a short battle, up came a two pound Beeliner (Vermillion Snapper). I removed him and sent the rig back down. This time, I cranked up two , two pound beeliners. Off they went and back down again. Another beeliner made it's way back up and into the box. I have now caught four fish and have been using the same bait that I started with.  This action went on for some time before I had to put another bait on the hook.

By now James Gergely, who was standing next to me was looking at my bait, like he wished he had some. So the nice guy that I am, I gave him a piece. He put it on his hook and down it went, before it hit bottom he was hooked up. He made the typical grunting sounds that most fisherman make when cranking on a nice fish from the depths. After a few seconds or so, up came another nice beeliner, a fat two pounder.  James sent the same bait back down and up he came with another fish.  All the while I continued to send my Fish Bites down, let the rig hit bottom, feel the bite and up with more fat beeliners.  It wasn't long before I had my limit of these tasty snappers and had to give some away to other anglers that DID NOT have any Fish Bites.

The next trip was with Vic Tison to the Shands Bridge, in search of croakers and yellow mouth trout.

We put in at Governors Creek, made the short run to the bridge, found 27 feet of water on the south side and put our anchor down.  We were fishing this day with light spinning and bait casters with Daiichi # 4 circle wide hooks and the bait of choice was Fish Bites. We put out four rods each with Fish Bites, even though we had shrimp as a backup. We were there just minutes before the bite started.  The first fish was a very nice 3 pound yellow mouth trout, then a croaker, then another trout and another trout.  We had been there less than ten minutes, had four nice fix in the box and no bait in the water.  All of the poles were in the bottom of the boat, waiting to be sent back out.  We sent out all four rods and all still had the original piece of Fish Bites attached to the hooks. This was great, we didn't have to re-bait.

We waited a long time before the next bite, less than 30 seconds and we had three more fish on. We were filming a show and Vic was manning the camera, so I had the duty of getting these fish in. All three made it to the boat and as fast as I could, sent the rigs back out. Once again, I was able to send out the rigs without adding any additional bait.  This is getting better by the minute, now we had seven fish in the box and we were still using the original bait from the first drop.

The day was hot and still and by now, I had worked up a good sweat. As I leaned over to open the drink box for a cool drink of water, Vic barked out, "fish on". I hurriedly sucked down a bottle of water and now he was hollering, they all have fish on now.  I grabbed the first rod and to the boat came another croaker, then a trout, a croaker and another trout.  As I landed each fish, I threw the fish in the bottom of the boat, still attached to the hook as I was afraid that one might get away if I took the time to unhook him and put him in the box.  After I got all of the fish in the box and all of the rigs back out, still with the original bait, I went to the front of the boat before the frenzy started again.  I acted like I was messing around with the camera when the next bite took place and I told Vic, that it was his turn in the hot seat.  He did as I thought, went to the back and started reeling them in. First a trout then three croakers.  It seemed like you would go about 30 seconds to about 2 minutes with no action then every rod had a fish on. This was pretty neat.

We had now caught about 20 fish on the same four pieces of Fish Bites that were originally placed on the hooks. This was great, we were able to catch several fish on the same piece of bait. 

We continued to have the same results with the numbers of fish and we each were able to find different ways to make it to the front of the boat so the other would have to go to the hot seat. This got to be almost comical before the morning was over.

We fished for about three hours and totaled over 50 fish and only had to re-bait about three or four times.  The Fish Bites stay on the hook almost as well as a piece of rubber tire would. 

We never even considered taking out our backup shrimp as the Fish Bites worked better than shrimp ever could.  Fish Bites stays on the hook through several fish, you can use a small piece, thus having more hook exposed for a better hook up and you do not need to keep it alive or cold.

This new synthetic bait has made a believer of me and everyone that was close enough to me to see what I was using. You can count on me having some Fish Bites in all of my tackle bags and in my boat. This bait will not be there only for backup, it will be the primary bait for a good number species. 

Fish Bites can be purchased in Jacksonville at Clapboard Creek Fish Camp on Hecksher Dr, 757-1423 and B & M Bait and Tackle at the beach 249-3933 or you can go to to find a store near you.

Visit Jim at his web site,

Jim Hammond

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Ryah | Posted: February 9, 2004

I soooo remember Gator Bait !! I had gone out the St. Lucie Inlet (FL) for diving the mini lobster season. Not really being into diving that day, I decided to stay topside and fish. I was handed this STINKY cloth-type bait. (HUH?? I'm a shrimp and squid kinda girl !!) In less than 1 minute I got SLAMMED !! This was my first encounter with a Triggerfish.... a huge Triggerfish !! I reeled that sucker in. Figuring anything That UGLY couldn't taste good... I tossed him back. Eachtime I dropped in, I'd get another HIT in no time. One of the divers came up and saw what was going on. He told me that Trigger was "good eatin". At this point I had tossed back 6-8 'big boys'. He said he'd filet them if I caught them. (Works for me !!) By the time the 3 divers came up I had caught 14, with the smallest being a good 2 lbs.

What a feast.... Lobster & Triggerfish.

Not only did Trigger become my favorite fish, but Gator Bait became my favorite bait !! Sadly, I moved away from the coast. Last year my boyfriend and I went to the Outer Banks, and down to Florida fishing. I didn't know that it had been discontinued. I was asking everyone "where can I get some Gator Bait" (DUH !!) I thought I was on a different planet because no one knew WHAT I was talking about. (Sucks to be Me !!) LOL