Menhaden, also known as bunker, are used as bait in a number of fisheries. They are a favorite prey of striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, speckled trout, red drum, flounder, sharks, and other species.
Juvenile menhaden, often called “peanut bunker” are sometimes caught with cast nets for use as live or cut baits. Adult menhaden are available frozen from local tackle shops.
Menhaden can be fished whole or cut into pieces. For gamefish such as striped bass, red drum, and tarpon. large menhaden are usually cut into chunks and fished on bottom rigs. Smaller peanut bunker can be fished whole.
Peanut bunker are also popular for tuna chunking. They are sometimes scattered on the surface either by themselves or mixed in with butterfish chunks. In some areas, whole bunker are used as drift baits for catching giant bluefin tuna.