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Catching Croaker for Bait
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HighTide
Flour Bluffian in training


Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Posts: 419
Location: Padre Isles

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:33 pm    Post subject: Catching Croaker for Bait Reply with quote

Does anybody know how to target small Croaker for bait? If you use a castnet, where would you look for Croakers? I've heard of using a series of very small hooks baited with shrimp so that you can catch several at a time. As far as I know, if you do anything like that, all you're going to catch is Perch. Is buying them the only option?
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kiyu
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Joined: 14 Mar 2006
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Location: Rockport

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a trap,bought it in rockport at the tackle store, catch more perch in it than crocker but there not bad bait ether, I have been catching more on live scrimp. Buying them is a lot easer.
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Skipjack
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Joined: 29 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Luck catching croaker. You have to weed through 10 perch for one croaker. They are tough to find these days.

I used to catch them under bridges with cast nets cause it seems they preferred the shade. I haven't caught a croaker in a cast net since Hurricane Brett trapped a whole bunch in the washouts on the National Seashore when they refilled with sand. That was 9 or 10 years ago right? Dang time flys.

Another option is a trap just like all the other bait stores. Make sure your legal though.

If you are just short on cash, your best bet is to use pinfish with the dorsal fin cut off with scissors. Plenty of pin fish out there and sometimes they make a nice alternative when trout are primarily feeding on finned fish.

Good Luck!
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JLKing
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Joined: 06 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 4 year old girl and I catch them in the canal behind the house on cut up Gulps and small trebble hooks under a bobber...

Usually it's more perch than croaker, but we do catch croaker.




Back in the 80's before the "croaker for bait" craze, we used to fill ice chests with eating sized croaker fishing dead shrimp on the bottom in the intracoastal around Surfside. That made for some good eating. Now it's rare to catch an eating sized one...
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OsoJo
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what's the thinking on cutting off the dorsal fin of a pin perch when using it for bait?
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2salty4U
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Joined: 14 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I could offer where not to try to catch them with a castnet and that might half-inform you. I wouldn't try in very shallow edges of water where there's grass - but I would try for small mullet, pinfish and mud minnows in a spot like that. And those are great for bait themselves (pinfish with fins cut off like previous poster said). I'm talking 3 to 6 inches of water and you can usually see their movement in such shallow water. I have caught a very few croaker in this kind of spot, but far fewer than the other bait fish I mentioned.

For croaker, I've caught them along and between wooden piers in about 3 to 4 feet of water.

I have a minnow/perch trap, but I haven't tried it out yet. I think I will the next time I'm out fishing - and I plan to set it in about 6 inches of water along a shallow grassy shoreline. >>>I'd like to know how others of you set your minnow traps. What's your best bait and do you chum an area?<<< Where I fish a freshwater creek in LA, I can catch a couple of dozen huge shiners (for those trotlines) in an hour's time in the right place And early am always seems to produce best. So, it'd be worth trying in the bays.
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Big Ed
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The croaker you buy at the bait stands are almost all caught by "shrimp boats", or trawlers. They have to sift through a lot of by catch to get their croaker. I doubt there is a reliable place to throw a cast net for croaker without one heck of a lot of work. We try to catch our own bait, but end up with finger mullet & pin perch 30 to one over croaker. Personally I have had just as good if not better luck with finger mullet.
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HighTide
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, it sounds like a trap in 3 -4' of water near boat docks might be the ticket.

JLKing: I own a canal front home on Mutiny Ct. What canal do you catch Croaker in? The canal in my area is about 6' at the edge and goes to 14' quickly. Is that a reasonable area for dropping a bait trap?

I think somebody already asked this, but what do you bait the trap with? I'm assuming the bait traps you guys are referring to are the torpedo shaped cylinder about 16" long with holes at each end?
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robul
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really dont soak croaker.. but Iv got quite a few looking for mullets and mud minnows.. Yes theres mullet and perch in there as well.. But throw your castnet on a steep drop off like an edge of a channel and let it sink all the way to the bottom. Then slowly pull it back so they dont slip out from underneath. I probably threw back 15 last night.
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IslandMike
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

carlosh wrote:
OK, it sounds like a trap in 3 -4' of water near boat docks might be the ticket.

JLKing: I own a canal front home on Mutiny Ct. What canal do you catch Croaker in? The canal in my area is about 6' at the edge and goes to 14' quickly. Is that a reasonable area for dropping a bait trap?

I think somebody already asked this, but what do you bait the trap with? I'm assuming the bait traps you guys are referring to are the torpedo shaped cylinder about 16" long with holes at each end?


I am no expert, but I wouldn't waste my time if I were you. I live on the canals as well. I have not tried a trap, but I can tell you you will not be catching croaker in a trap in the canal......but I guess I could be wrong (not likely). You will catch pin perch though (no piggies). I have also spent alot of time in the past throwing a cast net and have never caught a croaker that was a worthy bait. They are always to small and don't even grunt yet. Best bet for getting good croaker is to buy em at the bait stands. Or you could just use atrificials and save the money Wink .
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Tyler
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IslandMike wrote:
carlosh wrote:
OK, it sounds like a trap in 3 -4' of water near boat docks might be the ticket.

JLKing: I own a canal front home on Mutiny Ct. What canal do you catch Croaker in? The canal in my area is about 6' at the edge and goes to 14' quickly. Is that a reasonable area for dropping a bait trap?

I think somebody already asked this, but what do you bait the trap with? I'm assuming the bait traps you guys are referring to are the torpedo shaped cylinder about 16" long with holes at each end?


I am no expert, but I wouldn't waste my time if I were you. I live on the canals as well. I have not tried a trap, but I can tell you you will not be catching croaker in a trap in the canal......but I guess I could be wrong (not likely). You will catch pin perch though (no piggies). I have also spent alot of time in the past throwing a cast net and have never caught a croaker that was a worthy bait. They are always to small and don't even grunt yet. Best bet for getting good croaker is to buy em at the bait stands. Or you could just use atrificials and save the money Wink .


I tried a perch trap at my folks across the street from you Carlosh, and all we got were pin perch and in the summer they would die quickly if you had too many of them in there.
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Oil Field Trash II
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oso jo,

I've never done that with perch in the bay, but I usually do that with large pin perch for offshore use.

it makes a fish less likely to drop a pin perch if you remove that dorsal spine. it also makes them wounded basically, and a fish might be more likely to target them as wounded.
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Rebecca of Sunnybrookfarm
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:52 am    Post subject: Re: Catching Croaker for Bait Reply with quote

carlosh wrote:
Does anybody know how to target small Croaker for bait? If you use a castnet, where would you look for Croakers? I've heard of using a series of very small hooks baited with shrimp so that you can catch several at a time. As far as I know, if you do anything like that, all you're going to catch is Perch. Is buying them the only option?


are you kidding me? because,

JLKing wrote:


Back in the 80's before the "croaker for bait" craze, we used to fill ice chests with eating sized croaker fishing dead shrimp on the bottom in the intracoastal around Surfside. That made for some good eating. Now it's rare to catch an eating sized one...


what you SHOULD do is,

Skipjack wrote:
your best bet is to use pinfish with the dorsal fin cut off with scissors. Plenty of pin fish out there and sometimes they make a nice alternative when trout are primarily feeding on finned fish.


or what would be EVEN BETTER is,

IslandMike wrote:
[ Or you could just use atrificials and save the money Wink .

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surffan
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This probably will not work ever again but I will try it again maybe this weekend. July 5th, I was fishing from the Charlie's Pasture bulkhead in Port A, my usual method of catching Pinfish/Piggy perch of small hook, tiny piece of FishBites was not working so I clipped on a Sabiki rig and tried that still nada. I then tipped each Sabiki hook with tiny piece of FishBite and starting pulling in about a 4 inch Croaker with each cast. They were big enough to croak.
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Dink
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Joined: 06 Mar 2006
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Location: Pharr, Texas

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some one is surely call BS on this story, but I have witnesses....

On the Thursday before the last Sharkathon, we were fishing around the 10 mm on PINS. I was standing in calf deep water trying to catch some bait for the long rods, suddenly tons of bait started boiling up. I yelled at my buddy Dave to use the castnet.... He made a perfect throw, cinching it up tight... One toss.... over 200 three inch croaker! We keep what we needed to fish and tossed the rest back... Hard to keep those guys alive. Many got zip-locked and placed in a cooler... This year we will have oxygen tank and cooler livewell, just in case!

Tight lines!
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