How to Bait a Hook for Surf Fishing

How to Bait a Hook for Surf Fishing
Surf fishing is a cheap alternative to salt water fishing. While you won't land any major catches fishing in the surf, you can catch large enough fish to make for some good recreation--and a tasty meal. But you also have to approach surf fishing different than salt water fishing, particularly when it comes to baiting the hook.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fishing rod
  • Hook
Step 1
Look around the immediate area--particularly in tidal pools--for small aquatic life that is likely to attract larger fish. Clams, sand fleas, shrimp, mussels, blood worms and small crabs are all successful at attracting numerous varieties of fish. You can also purchase live or dead bait from bait shops. Blood worms are much more easily bought in a store than they are found near the surf, and frozen clams and mussels are usually easier to put on a hook than fresh ones.
Step 2
Hook shrimp and crabs whole--even alive, if possible. Insert the hook just behind the head of a shrimp and bring the hook out farther down its back. On a crab, get the hook underneath the shell just behind the head and break through the shell from the underside.
Step 3
Hook blood worms the same way you would attach a nightcrawler or other worm for freshwater fishing. If the blood worms are small enough, you can skewer them on the hook, inserting the hook at one end of the body and sliding the entire blood worm onto the hook, leaving the tail free to wiggle. With larger blood worms, loop the hook through the worm's body at 2 to 4 different points, depending on the length of the blood worm. The closer you can keep the worm to the hook, the more likely a fish will be to bite the hook when it attacks.
Step 4
Put clams and mussels onto a hook by placing as much of the meat on the hook as possible. Because these shellfish are slippery and can fall off the hook easily, many anglers prefer to either use frozen shellfish or to set the meat out in the sun for 3 to 4 hours. This will toughen the meat and make it easier to hook. With both clams and mussels, your best bet is to fold the meat in half and put the hook all the way through the middle of it, turning the hook back up into the meat at the end to hide it from the fish.
Step 5
Use squid and other types of dead fish by cutting them into thin, worm-like strips and using each as bait. The most successful strips tend to be 2 to 3 inches long, and you should place the hook through these strips once about half an inch from one of the ends.

Tips & Warnings

Check your line frequently to make sure you haven't lost your bait in the surf or current.
The best type of sinker for sandy conditions is the pyramid sinker, which will stay close to the ground but be easy to drag as you reel in the line.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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