“When it comes to which bait to use look for what occurs naturally around the area you are fishing.”
Keep your bait fresh in a waist bait bucket that slides onto your belt. Keep bait cool with a wet piece of kelp
Sand crabs are one of the best baits for surf fishing
How To Hook Sand Crabs (click picture to watch)
Keep your crabs in a waist bait keeper with a small piece of wet kelp to keep them cool and moist
Look for soft shell crabs in different sizes but use the size that occurs most commonly in the area you are fishing. Hard or soft crabs? I like sand crabs with shells about the consistency of a pop/beer can. Pliable but not soft.
Ghost shrimp work great for perch, corbina and all croaker.
I like to keep my ghost shrimp in a 5 gallon plastic container half filled with salt water. If you keep them in a cool place or inside a refrigerator in a temperature range of 54-65 they will live for about six days.
There are several kinds of mussel
Bay, rock and green mussel all work well for bait.
Clams work great for surf fish. Look for little neck clams under bay rocks, razor clams in muddy inter-tidal areas and pismo clams along the beach. They are especially effective October-December.
SAND WORMS, BLOOD WORMS, INNKEEPER WORMS AND LUG WORMS
Sand worms can be “caught” about 18″ down near the high tide mark at the beach. Innkeeper worms are found inside estuary and harbor areas. Lug and Blood worms can be purchased at your local tackle shop. See video above for more details on how to hook worms.
SIDEWINDER CRABS (LINED SHORE CRABS)
Sidewinder rock crabs make great bait. You’ll find them near rocks and jetties in almost any marine environment. They work best in the months of Dec., Jan. Feb. when the water is coldest and fish are hunkered down near structure.
Plastic grubs work unbelievably well for perch, croaker and the occasional corbina. Grubs work all year long but especially well in winter months. Cold water…slow down your retrieve. Cover as much bottom as possible by fan casting 10/12/2 and retrieve slowly. Cover your grub in “hot sauce” every five casts. I like to use Taco Bell’s El Scorcho hot sauce. Use dark colors like motor oil (gold glitter, red glitter, etc.) in low light times and bright colors like clear with red flake on high sun periods.
Grubs come in two common styles: Curly Tail and Swim Tail
Curley Tail (Motor oil red)
Swim Tail (Motor oil gold)
Flies work great in the surf, fished on the Carolina Rig
Small bright spoons work great to attract corbina, halibut, croaker and slab-sized perch
Hard suspension baits work great in the surf for halibut, croaker and large perch