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Monterey Surf Striper Bait Choice Help?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

I am from the Monterey Bay area.  We have some pretty good fishing here, and stripers are in the area at the local beaches.  I usually fish for Rock Cod here, but this year I'm going to give Striper surf fishing a try.  I figure that I want to start with Bait/Chunkin.  Here we have a few options for fresh caught local "food quality" bait from local seafood stores on the warf;


Pacific Mackerel




or beach caught "Sand Crab/Flea"


These 5 baits can be found in the bay so these would comprise the main food source of any Stripers passing through. My question is what do you think would be the best choice to try for a first timer?  All the above can be bought for $1 a pound locally with the Sand Crabs being caught on the beach for free, so cost really isn't a concern. I figure the best bait is one that the fish have access to naturally in the wild. 


Can one fish with bait in the surf?  I know people use SandCrabs in the surf, so I figure throwing out other types of bait might be effective.  I rather try bait fishing before I go with lures.


So what are your thoughts?


post #2 of 10

Good logic. I'd hook up a whole baitfish on a fish finder rig. SB like fresh bait, so buy it fresh and keep it on ice or catch it. I've heard of them caught on sand crabs, but I never have. I prefer circle hooks (4/0-8/0) for chunking.

post #3 of 10
You can fish multipule rods, so soak bait with "1"...and throw lures with the other....Mark
post #4 of 10

I asked a related question a while back, and I think you can find the thread if you scroll down a little, but I think some of the best bait is ghost shrimp! It's too bad they don't sell them anywhere in the bay. There are some places you can try, but I think they only carry them seasonally.

post #5 of 10
I only throw lures for them, but the bait guys I've seen (usually in Marina) seem to toss sardines chunks most of the time. I'd think this is because it has a good oil trail and is pretty robust ( seems like chovies would tear off in surf conditions - particularly if you were really heaving it out).

I haven't seen anything but leopards and bat rays caught on squid in the surf and the guys using sand crabs are often targeting perch (though they certainly nail a fair number of stripers with them.

If you do consider lures, pay lots of attention to the little wash out right behind the shore break. The stripers often cruise right tight to the sand looking for crabs being churned by a breaking wave. Little 20 or 30 yard casts, sometimes lateral to the beach, with a 1 oz. hair-raiser can be deadly.
post #6 of 10
Sand worms
post #7 of 10
Originally Posted by California Caster View Post

You can fish multipule rods, so soak bait with "1"...and throw lures with the other....Mark

+1. Maybe get a tinkerbell for the bait rod.

post #8 of 10

The #1 live bait of choice would be the soft shell sand crab.  Hard shell will work too just make sure you use the ones with the orange egg roe and peel back a little bit of the hard shell.  As for lures, 1.5 oz white hair raiser with curly tail worm.   That's as simple as it gets for the Monterey Bay beaches. 

post #9 of 10
If the tide is extra high like this month has I would use the sand flees especially if the fish are in tight to the shore up in the troughs. All of those baits you named will work fine I would use the squid next to or against the rocks. if casting within 100 feet then the anchovies. Beyond the 100 ft then mackeral...etc wink.gif
post #10 of 10

I found a place that sells dead head-on shrimp in santa cruz, if anyone was wondering- it's live oak supermarket

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