How to Choose the Right Surf Fishing Bait to Improve Your Catch Rate


Pensacola, fl

Choosing the best surf fishing bait for the situation will improve your catch rate. This article is a digest of my best tips for how to choose surf fishing bait that will give you great results.

Match Your Bait To The Most Common Bait In The Surf

This almost sounds like common sense but you have to look at it from a different perspective. The most common bait in the surf isn’t always common. That’s important to realize. Predator surf fish are opportunists they will feed on what’s ever available even if it’s not their preferred source.  Available food sources will vary for lots of different reasons. It can be affected by the time of year, the weather and other factors. Knowing what these factors are is important but it’s more important to be able to learn what the most common bait in the surf is at that particular time.

Surf Fish Are Feeding On Different Bait  At Different Times

In the previous paragraph I stated that food sources for predator surf fish can vary for different reasons. If your going to become a successful surf angler you need to develop an understanding of the factors that influence the available food sources. This will come with experience and a foundation of knowledge to start with. After awhile it becomes instinctive. Here’s a tip you can use. Common bait in the surf will also be readily available for the vendors who provide bait to the bait shops.

If you go into the bait shop to buy bait, some of the bait will be more scarce than others. Chat with the attendant for a minute and learn what bait has been coming in most readily. If they have been having a hard time getting a particular bait, you don’t want to be using that to start with. It may be a very good choice but not at that particular time. Select your bait from one or two of the choices that have been easily obtained (by the bait shop) with good size and quality.

Some Surf Fish Species Have A Bait Preference

By now if you have been learning about surf fishing you should have learned how to determine what you want to be fishing for and what species are currently being taken in the surf. You should also have learned something about the bait preferences for certain species. The preferred bait isn’t always your best choice. That being said, keep in mind what I wrote in the previous paragraphs before choosing your bait. Select one or two of the choices of bait to use at the surf line that meet the guidelines mentioned above and is popular with the species you will be fishing for. You won’t be wasting your time with a choice of bait that isn’t going to be effective that day.

Learn What Surf Fish Are Actively Feeding On In The Surf

Using the right bait at the right time will improve your catch rate significantly. It does change and vary. As I mentioned above all predator fish are opportunists. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to catch fish on a lure that doesn’t closely resemble a live bait source. Predator fish will take what’s available depending on how hungry they are and how easy it is to obtain. As the availability of food sources changes their feeding habits change with it. The more you can improve your ability to learn what the fish are actively feeding on the better your catch rate will be.

If All Else Fails Use Shrimp

After addressing how to choose the best surf fishing bait in the above paragraphs. If you are just getting into surf fishing or your clueless about applying my tips for choosing surf bait, as a last resort use shrimp. These are my reasons.

Shrimp is very effective for attracting many different kinds of surf fish.

Shrimp is often readily available.

You will almost certainly catch something when fishing with shrimp.

It’s the first place to start when you are learning to surf fish.


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