With a variety of cut baits, Atlantic croakers are caught. Depending on the location and the time of year, top baits can vary greatly. Other baits are for specific situations, while some seem to work in almost any circumstance. Visiting a coastal bait shop is a great way to learn how to catch Atlantic croaker. Here, you can find great places for fishing access and learn what is the best bait for croaker fish.
The body of an Atlantic croaker is silver with a pink tint. Typically, they have a white or silvery belly. It can be challenging to see the brown spots on their backs because they are so light. Barbels, usually three to five in each size, are present on the chins of croakers. The average croaker will grow to be about 18 inches long, but larger ones can grow to be up to 24 inches long.
Best Atlantic Croaker Baits
The most typical bait for catching croakers is squid in most places. Squid is widely available, reasonably priced, and captures a wide range of species.
You can purchase small boxes of squid at grocery stores, seafood markets, or tackle shops. Although the quality of squid from the grocery store is not as good as squid used for bait, it can still be useful.
Locally caught and packaged squid work best for catching croakers. Typically, these squids are bigger, tougher, and whiter than calamari.
Another effective bait for catching croakers is bloodworms. When cut up, these large saltwater worms bleed profusely, which draws fish. With four razor-sharp fangs, bloodworms have an impressive mouth. They have the potential and will bite careless anglers. In most cases, it is best to remove the mouth first, then cut the worm up.
On a top and bottom rig, bloodworms are typically fished in small sections. In areas where spot, pigfish, or other small species are mixed in with croaker, bloodworms may be well worth the expense.
Peelers (Shedder Crabs)
Peelers or shedder crabs work best as bait for catching croakers in places like the Chesapeake Bay. These are blue crabs from the Atlantic Ocean that are almost ready to molt.
In particular in southern states, fresh shrimp are frequently used for croaker fishing. Shrimp is typically inexpensive, readily available, and simple to use.
Other Natural Baits
When local conditions call for it, a variety of other natural baits can also be used to catch croakers. These might include baits like minnows, sea clams, quahog clams, and others.
For catching croakers, a number of artificial baits are efficient. The benefits of these baits are numerous. For the most part, refrigeration or special storage are not necessary. They come in a wide variety of forms, tastes, hues, and patterns. While some are shaped like strip baits for bottom fishing and can be used for casting, trolling, drifting, or jigging, others are shaped like actual bait species.
How To Catch Croakers
In the surf close to the beach, croakers are frequently seen. Keep an eye out for river outlets with rocky, sandy bottoms. They can be found in estuaries in the spring, summer, and fall, but in the winter they may move to deeper parts of tidal rivers.
Since they are a schooling species, you will almost certainly find more in the same area after you catch one.
Croakers can be identified by the following characteristics:
- A silver body with a light pink glow with a silver and white bottom
- Irregular stripes on the back and dorsal fin
- A deep notch on the dorsal fin
- Mature croakers (two to three years of age) are around 18 to 20 inches in length and are around three pounds on average
- Produce a loud and distinguishable croaking sound
Fish The Bottom
Bottom-fishing species include croakers. You must therefore lower your lure until it is at their level. With great success, you can use artificial lures or a bottom rig worked along the bottom.
Try a Multi-Hook Rig
Schooling croaker can be caught using a three- or four-hook rig worked along the bottom. To really increase the feeding activity, you can use squid strips or other cut bait. Make sure your area is permitted to use the type of rig you are using.
Find The Food
The croaker school can usually be found close to food if you know where to look. If you can locate where the smaller fish and crustaceans are in your waters, the croaker won’t be far behind.
Croaker Gear Recommendations
Rods And Reels
The ideal spinning rod and reel for the croaker are 6 feet long and have medium action. Even though they are not particularly large, they are known to put up a little bit of a fight, so make sure your equipment can handle it.
Baits And Lures
To catch croaker, use small spoons, bucktail jigs, or plastic worms as artificial lures. A lot of people also use life or cut bait. Squid strips, bloodworms, nightcrawlers, shrimp, and crab are also effective. The most frequently used fish is probably a squid.
The most effective bottom rigs for catching croakers are multi-hook rigs. Most anglers will use a two to four-hook rig with strips of squid or other bait to entice bites. There are numerous ways to set up these rigs; just be sure to use a weight that will raise your rig to the proper level. Frequently, all you really need is a sinker that weighs 2 ounces or less.
Circle hooks and Mustad hooks are frequently the most effective for croakers. Commonly used sizes range from 2 to 1/0. Use several smaller hooks, such as size 6 or 8, if you’re going with a multi-hook rig.
How To Clean Croakers
Many anglers catch croakers with the intention of later cooking them because they are known to be quite tasty. The most popular way to clean a croaker is to fillet it, especially if it is larger. Cut along the dorsal fin with a fillet knife. Once the skin above the ribs has been removed, flip the fish over and remove the skin from the other side. Once you gain some experience, filleting a croaker is not difficult.