Bunker, clams and mullet are the most common bait used for surf fishing. This section shows how to rig these baits for fishing from the surf.
Bunker is one of the best baits to use when fishing for striped bass. Cut the bunker into chunks. Use all but the tail. Do use the head. Some of the biggest striped bass have been caught on bunker heads. If really large stripers are around you can ue the whole bunker for bait.
A fishfinder rig is a good choice for fishing with bunker chunks. Hook them as shown in the photographs below.
Clams are another good bait to use when fishing for striped bass. A good rig to use is a "High Low" rig with circle hooks on dropper loops. With this rig your hook up rate will be high, and you will seldom, if ever, gut hook a striper. You can release the shorts you catch without injuring them.
An advantage of the High Low rig is that when it is cast, the sinker goes first, and the clams fall back along the line. This is somewhat streamlined, and avoids wind milling, and results in further casts.
Bluefish usually attack a baitfish from the back and bite off the rear section of the fish. Because of this it is necessary
to rig the mullet bait so that the hook is at the rear of the fish. Special mullet rigs are available to accomplish this. Three
of them are shown in the photos below.
The mullet rig has a float and a long wire with a loop at the end. The wire is inserted through the mouth of the mullet baitfish, then out the rear of the fish. A special hook that has two shanks and hooks then is threaded through the loop on the end of the wire. The hooks then are at the rear of the baitfish, where you want them to catch a bluefish.
The large mullet float rig has a float and a large hook with a long shank. The hook is inserted in the front section of the mullet, through the fish, and back out the back section. The point of the hook is near the rear of the baitfish.
The small mullet float rig has two floats and two smaller hooks. The mullet baitfish is cut in half, and the two halves are put on the two hooks. Since the baits are short, the bluefish tends to take the whole bait, and the hook. This rig works fine for small and medium size bluefish but the hooks are a little small for really large bluefish.