I hope you arent expecting $1000 for your bait analysisI can tell you the answer right now. He was picking better baits than you.
You'll learn over time how to pick the best bait.
Like, if a farmer handed me a box of baby chicks and told me to pick the best one, I'd probably say they all looked the same. He'd probably instantly pick one up and say this one. It's the same way with bait. I'm sure to a new fishermen, they look like a bunch of identical sardines, but to me, they're not at all and I'll usually take about 10 to as much as 30 seconds watching the bait and selecting the best one. If it's a WFO bite and/or there's some urgency, I'll scoop up the first decent one I see. But usually, I take a little time and pick wisely.
You want to look for a nice light brown or light green color. Obviously red spots or red noses are bad. Baits missing scales are no good. But color's probably the best indicator. Often times the better baits spend more time swimming lower in the bait tank but that doesn't mean the ones that are on top are bad. Even the best ones come to the top.
When you buy a scoop of bait, you can generally tell how good the bait is by how much of it goes to the bottom of the tank (more = better) and by how many scales they shed (more = worse).
I wish there was some picture online of a tank of sardines where you could see the difference between the light and dark ones, but just take note next time you buy bait. Look in the tank for a minute, and see if you can spot the "blonde" baits. They'll be harder to catch than the bad ones!
Hope this helps some