Fishing With Chicken Livers: Can You Use Chicken Livers In Saltwater?

From the bait selection to the rigs, lines, and other equipment, you’ll need a brand-new outlook on what to bring when you go saltwater fishing. Chum is a top choice for many seasoned fishermen, leaving new anglers to wonder: can you bait your hook with chicken livers?

You can catch saltwater fish with chicken livers, including drumfish, bottom feeders, and stripers. Be wary of the unwanted attention you might get from sharks and other predatory fish as they’ll smell the blood from the livers. Double-hook chicken liver and consider adding a thin cloth around it.

Throughout this article, we’ll cover a list of fish that will likely be attracted to chicken liver bait and how you can hook chicken livers without them falling off the line. Lastly, we’ll discuss some key points to keep in mind before using livers in saltwater.

Chicken livers can be used as chum

Do Saltwater Fish Eat Chicken Livers?

Saltwater fish love the taste of chum, whether that’s fresh or frozen. It can be made from all kinds of ingredients, including corn, cat food, fish guts, and worms.

But if you’re looking for something simple, inexpensive, and readily available, chicken livers are an excellent choice. 

Chicken livers are a great source of protein and essential vitamins, and minerals for many saltwater fish. However, not all of them will swim in your direction when you cast a line. 

Knowing which fish will bite will let you know where to go, how deep to cast your line, and which sinker you’ll need. 

Below, you’ll find a handful of saltwater fish that eat chicken livers:

  • Stripers – GitHub mentions all sorts of chum stripers enjoy, with rabbit and chicken livers nearing the top of the list. Stripers have plenty of teeth to shred and eat the chewy texture found in chicken livers that you can pack quite a bit on the hook.
  • Bottom feeders – If you’re trying to catch any fish you can get your hands on, bottom feeders are a decent option. They have a unique flavor (if you’re catching to eat them; if not, they’re still an easy catch for beginners and experts alike).
  • Drumfish – Much like bottom feeders, drumfish are known for eating quite a bit of food. They’ll chase livers for the pungent bloody odors, so it’s not a bad idea to find a place with lots of them. You can also dump chicken livers in the water to attract loads of drumfish at once.
  • Sharks – Most people aren’t trying to catch a shark when they go fishing, but unfortunately, sharks love everything about chicken livers. Unwanted attention could cause all sorts of issues, including the fact that it’d scare away a lot of fish.

Chicken livers have pros and cons when it comes to saltwater fishing. But as long as you can avoid sharks and other dangerous predators, it’s an excellent choice. 

Use it to chum the water or hook it to your line, and you’ll no doubt have a successful day on the water. 

fishing in saltwater

In the next section, we’ll break down the process of attaching chicken livers to your saltwater fishing pole.

How To Hook Chicken Livers for Saltwater Fishing

Are you trying to catch stripers, bottom feeders, drumfish, and more? Chicken livers should be high on your list of bait. 

The primary issue associated with hooking the liver is that it’s loose and doesn’t always hang on the line. 

The good news is we’ve made a simple step-by-step process for you to follow:

  1. Get a wide, thick hook to hold the chicken livers. Tiny hooks don’t have enough surface area to hold the livers without dropping them all over the place. There should be enough room for you to overlap the chicken liver, so consider hooks longer than one inch (2.54 cm), which is quite common in saltwater fishing circles.
  2. Fold the liver in half and poke a hole through both sides. Use a hook, knife, or sharpened rod to drive a hole where the hook will go. Consider adding another hole right next to it for when you’re pulling the hook through. It’s crucial to have enough space for the hook so you don’t ruin the livers.
  3. Slide the hook through the hole, then angle the point to slice through the other side. It’s best to push the bottom of the hook through the hole before tying it to the line. Poke the sharpened point through the second set of holes. You should have the liver hooked at the step.
  4. Wrap the chicken liver in a thin cheesecloth for additional security. While it’s not required, many anglers prefer using cheesecloth and similar materials to prevent the liver from falling off the line. However, they’re susceptible to breaking apart when casting the bait or reeling it in, so check on it between casts.
  5. Test each wrapped chicken liver before using it. A slight tug will do more than enough to ensure the bait won’t rip off right when a fish bites it. There’s no point in using chicken livers if the fish can eat it without getting hooked!

If you prefer a video tutorial, review this helpful guide by TulsaWorld on YouTube:

What To Know Before Using Livers As Bait

While our suggestions make it easy for anyone to hook and cast chicken livers in saltwater, there are a few complications you might encounter.

It’s important to know where you can use them, what you might have to deal with, and some drawbacks of using chicken livers as bait.

Here’s what you should know before casting the line:

Always Check Local Regulations

The Pier and Surf community explains some places that prohibit specific baits. 

Ensure you’re not breaking any rules, especially those that prevent chumming the water. These rules are set to prevent too many predators, contamination, and so on. 

Call the local authorities or look for fishing signs when you get to the water.

Chicken Livers Might Attract Dangerous Predators

Sharks and other large predatory fish will likely come for the chicken livers if you’re too close. They can chase away other fish, cause dangerous encounters, and more. 

Keep an eye out for sharks, especially when you’re fishing in warm saltwater locations. Chumming the water with chicken livers is practically an invitation for sharks, so it’s best to assume they’ll be nearby.

man catching shark

Chicken Livers Are Delicate

Many fishermen point out that chicken livers aren’t as tough as beef livers, which means they can fall apart easily. 

Using cheesecloth is an excellent preventative technique, as unwrapped chicken livers will likely drop off if they’re bit by large fish. Keep this in mind if you’re fishing in deep water.

Whether you have leftover livers or you’re shopping for a new bait, chicken livers are worth trying. You might not get a bite every time, but there are plenty of fish that would love to chow down on it! Give it a shot and find out if it’s your new go-to saltwater bait.


Chicken livers are an excellent alternative to traditional chum and other bait, but they don’t work for all fish. Still, if you know what you’re trying to catch, a chicken liver might be a top-notch choice. 

They’re relatively inexpensive and pack a powerful odor many fish will chase after (keep an eye out for sharks, though!).

Here’s a quick recap of the post:

  • Chicken liver is loose and falls apart if you don’t hook it properly.
  • Stripers, drumfish, and bottom feeders might bite a chicken liver bait.
  • Check local regulations to see if chicken liver is allowed.