Croaker usually weigh less than 2 pounds and feature three to five pairs of small barbells and five pores on their chin. You can identify a croaker because of its elongated body and slightly compressed, deeply notched dorsal fins, which feature 10 spines in the anterior section and one spine in the posterior section.
Spot typically grow to a maximum length of 14 inches and feature 12 to 15 dusky oblique bars on their upper side. You can identify spot fish by the distinct dusky to black spot that is located behind the top of the gill opening on its body. Like the croaker, it also has a tail fin that is distinctly forked and a body that is compressed.
Fishing for spot and croaker requires you to fish from a boat along coastal freshwater outlets, including estuaries where both species spawn. Fish within a few hundred yards of shore or near the pylons or supports of a bridge if bridge fishing. Both spot and croaker are bottom feeders, so rig your line with leader weights to maintain low depth. It's important that your line floats above the bottom, so a baited hook can attract fish.
You can use the same tackle including hooks and bait for both spot and croaker. But spots are more enticed to strike small hooks or spinning tackle. Use squid, shrimp, cut bait, fish bites or bloodworms for bait. It's important that you secure live bait, worms and fish bites securely to the line so it does not loosen and float away while drifting at the bottom. Thread the bait onto your hook. Add a bobber 2 to 3 feet just forward of the hook and tie the tag end using an improved clinch knot.
When fishing for croaker, it's important to keep in mind that croaker commonly steal bait that is not secured to the best tackle for this type of fish. To avoid this problem, use dual No. 4 spinner hooks. For superior striking action, opt for squid, cut bait, blood-worms or a jig for bait. Again, you'll need to thread bloodworms, squid and cut bait so it does not easily dislodge from the hook when pulled by a croaker.