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How to Cut Bait Fish for Surf Fishing

Surf fishing with whole, cut chunks, or strip baits made from bait fish is an effective technique. There are a variety of bait fish that can be used in the Great Lakes. The local forage base contains: lake herring, alewife, smelt, and a variety of chubs. Fresh baits are generally the best but frozen herring can also be used for bait when fresh caught bait is not available. The bait pieces can then be stored in a small plastic bag or plastic container. Some fishermen add a scent product to the cut bait fish pieces for added attraction. The pieces can be cut at your fishing location. The cut bait pieces should be kept cold and out of direct sunlight.

Cut bait chunks for surf fishing:

Step 1: Place a bait fish on your cutting board.

Step 2: Remove the tail from the bait fish.

Step 3: The next cut is made on a diagonal just behind the dorsal fin of the bait fish.

Step 4: The next cut is made on a diagonal to the front of the dorsal fin.

Step 5: The next cut is made on a diagonal behind the gill plates.

Step 6: The two large pieces are split along the backbone.

Step 7: The result will be 6 pieces of cut bait chunks from a large bait fish.

Cut bait strips for surf fishing:

Step 1: To cut strips start your cut behind the gill plates to the backbone, then turn your knife and follow the backbone to the tail of the bait fish.

Step 2: Remove the head and tail from the two bait strips. The backbone is left in one of the strips for added support.

Step 3: Two resulting strips of bait fish.



For more information, fishing tips, tactics and techniques about Surf, Shore and Harbor fishing.
Click here to visit our Shore Fishing Tips section

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