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Bait selection and presentation are the most important parts of successful surf fishing.

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Bait Selection

Selecting bait for surf fishing is very important. The bait will vary depending on criteria such as location, time of year, and target species. A 12" kingfish requires different bait than an 8' shark! Whenever possible the bait should mimic the natural food sources of the target species. For example blues and sharks tend to feast regularly on small fish. If targeting those species, some type of whole or cut fish will probably be most successful. Specifically, fish that are a part of their natural diet.

Whenever possible, fresh bait should be used. Most tackle stores local to the beaches will offer fresh bait when available. Look for it! Ask for it! Fresh bait offers two distinct advantages. First, it still has all of the natural characteristics of the bait swimming in the ocean such as smell and texture. Again, the closer you can get to the target's natural diet, the better. Second, it is easier to use. it stays on the hook better. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to put a piece of fish that has been frozen on to your hook only to have it fall apart.

While fishing be sure to store your bait in a cooler or shaded cool place. This will help the bait stay as fresh as possible.

Local tackle shops are the best resource to find out what type of bait is successful at a particular beach. Remember that they are fishermen just like you and they want to help!

Bait Presentation

Just like surf fishing bait should mimic your target's natural diet, it should be presented in a way that makes it look like a natural meal. Try to imagine how the bait will look to the fish. It should be as natural as possible. If presenting a whole fish, hook it so that the fish will look like a natural dead or dying fish.

Smaller fish will typically bite on smaller baits such as worm pieces (like blood worms), small crustaceans, or small cut pieces of fish. The size of the bait typically will match the size of the fish.

When cutting pieces of fish, try to cut them in strips. The natural movement of the bait in the current will attract bites.

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