There are many baits which will yield fish. I hope the section below will be of some assistance in your quest to get "The Big One" leaving you with fishing stories to tell for years and years.
3) Anchovies (both northern and deep body)
5) Eulachon (Candlefish)
6) Smelt (there are several varieties but they're very similar)
8) Mussels (both bay and surf)
9) Market Shrimp
10) Ghost Shrimp (also called Sand Shrimp)
Herring, Sardines, Anchovies, and Eulachon/Smelt are all schooling small fish that provide forage for numerous species on the list of inshore species which I mentioned on the previous page. Eulachon are smelt-like fish. Apparently they are called Candlefish, due to their high fat content. Years and years ago people used the fish as a wick for their candles - thus the name.
Any of these schooling bait fishes are best used live, and will net results very quickly in many instances. An umbrella net used around docks and boat launches is a good and fast way to catch some of these baitfish. Attached is a long rope. You need to chum the water with white bread (a plain loaf of white bread works best) to attract the smelt over the net. You can see them boiling on top of the water, eating the bread. When the timing is right and there are a lot of them over the net pull the rope and usually within 30 minutes you'll have enough for my fishing trip. Some days there will be many, but they'll be very small. A bucket of live bait off one of the jetties, be it Brookings, Bandon, Charleston, Winchester, Columbia River, etc..... WOULD YIELD FISH, especially in spring and summer. Any Lingcod, rockfish, Cabezon, or Salmon in the Vicinity would be attracted to the struggling baitfish. Should cut baits fail, live bait will yield fish if they're around. Cut baitfish will also catch fish, and are convenient when it is not possible to fish live bait.
Live squid is not available except rare instances when fishing from boats, but it can be a very effective cut bait, and is widely available. The main advantage over cut baitfish, is that squid is very tough and rarely flies off the hook during a cast. It can also resist coming off the hook if it is being nibbled at by smaller, non-desirable fish. Normally it will catch the same species as cut baitfish, including an occasional Greenling.
Market Shrimp which you can buy at your local grocery store may provide you with some success, but the baits mentioned above seem to work much better.
What Baits works Best:
Clam meat, mussels, and ghost shrimp in the same category, namely "HIGH CATCH PROBABILITY"!! I love these baits since virtually every inshore species likes to eat them. Greenling, Rockfish, different baitfish, flounder, Surfperch, and Cabezon are quick to inhale them, mussels especially. Mussels can be found in many local areas as well as clams, and ghost shrimp can be found using a shrimp pump which you can find at your local bait and tackle shop, although it is very easy to make one of your own using PVC tube, a tennis ball, and metal rods.
Should you have trouble keeping the bait on your hook try tying a piece of thread around the bait.
I would suggest that you read about the necessary fishing gear which will be an invaluable aid while you are saltwater fishing.