Anyone ever freeline big baits in the surf?

greyreefsharkgreyreefshark Posts: 473 Deckhand
Like Blue Runners and other similar sized Baits for larger fish.

Besides Blue Runners what other types of fish would be good swimming out to deeper water for this purpose?

Also just wondering if more people out there do this type of fishing, cause I don’t ever hear much about many people doing this type of fishing for bigger stuff.

Replies

  • kellerclkellercl Posts: 4,236 Captain
    By "bigger stuff," what particular species are you looking to catch?
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 3,741 Captain
    edited February 11 #3
    I’m not a surf fisherman so can’t help much. I don’t see surf fisherman freeline big live baits often. Maybe because of swimmers? Maybe the bait swims back to shore? Tide and wind will play a role.  Most use weights to pin down their live of dead bait. It’s a good question for the surf pros. One thing about a blue runner, they are fast. In our area people like them for Aj’s cause they like a fast moving bait( most jacks can’t resist a fast moving bait).... not a tarpon bait. Probably ok for sharks, which I assume would be welcome......good luck 
    You should have been here yesterday
  • Navy1970Navy1970 Posts: 147 Deckhand
    Seen a guy catch a nice tarpon surf fishing the Jacksonville beach area on a live mullet.
  • greyreefsharkgreyreefshark Posts: 473 Deckhand
    In the past, a surf guide had me Hook a Blue runner in the back by the dorsal fin and simply allowed it to swim out to deeper water. Was able to catch a Huge jack one day, then a big barracuda another. 

    I haven’t tried it since then. So I’m looking to give it a go here again soon. 

    Just surprised I don’t really hear of others fishing like that way often from shore.

    Thankyou saltygatorvet for mentioning that not being a Tarpon Bait. Because I was wondering what other possible big fish species I could catch doing that.
  • kellerclkellercl Posts: 4,236 Captain
    I wouldn't free line from the shore.  I would only do it while drifting from a kayak or boat.  The lack of control on the bait seems like a bad idea.  I would expect a tangled mess and big sharks, neither of which i would want to seal with.
  • WetBanditWetBandit Posts: 88 Greenhorn
    Can't say I'm familiar with freelining surf baits.  What I've done and I think is more common practice is using live baits with a fishfinder rig.  I like spider weights for the surf.  Depending on conditions, sometimes I open the bail and let out a ton of line so the bait can roam over a large area.  I've done this with finger sized baits and 6-10in mullet.

  • JettyparkJettypark Posts: 1,969 Captain
    Wow... i know i'm not the only one... i freeline large bait from the beach all the time...but i also soak large live bait while i'm doing it...and yes its a pain at times.. but that happens all the time when you are freelining You just have to keep on top of it with your fishing rod in hand not in a post...in fact i will have a setup just rig to catch whiting or anything else that i might use as a bait fish...that way i have fresh live bait right on hand...Once you get use to doing it.. it get easier you just have to figure out what works for you.. and when the snook are roaming the beach.. you don't have to cast that far at all..
    aa13.gif "A ship without Marines is like a garment without buttons"
  • greyreefsharkgreyreefshark Posts: 473 Deckhand
    edited February 12 #9
    That’s sweet that you do that too Jettypark! 👍

    When you guys talk about also casting live bait out into the surf, I’m always scared of casting the baitfish off on the long casts, or else killing the baitfish as it zips through the water cause of the heavy Sinkers. But maybe you guys aren’t trying to cast it as far as you can.

    instrested how you guys make that work?

    I have always just stuck to cutbait for the surfcasting.
  • kellerclkellercl Posts: 4,236 Captain
    Free lining pilchard or pinfish seems significantly different than blue runners.
  • hossmosshossmoss Posts: 1,259 Officer
    I used to do it with a large balloon rig. It only works well if you have a good offshore breeze blowing the balloon out.


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  • JettyparkJettypark Posts: 1,969 Captain
    Balloons were use alot just about everywhere yrs ago... but its not safe for alot of reasons...i believe some counties have outlawed it, but not the state...again i'm not sure on that...  but instead of using a balloon, just get a snap float if you want to go that route and they are easier to cast then a balloon...
    aa13.gif "A ship without Marines is like a garment without buttons"
  • sonicsonic Posts: 75 Greenhorn
    If you are casting out far you are missing the best bite (unless you want jacks and sharks), snook, redfish and tarpon patrol that first through right off the shore, literally right under your nose. Also, use whatever bait is already there, that's what they are feeding on. I walk the shore to an area with no swimmers, usually best at dusk and dawn, with a small cast net, catch a bait fish and toss it right back out. If no bites within a few minutes, walk down a bit and repeat.
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,015 Admiral

    ^^^^^^

    What sonic said. All the good fish are right there close.

    I have had plenty of surf success with standard inshore tackle and a 1 or 2 ounce egg sinker above a 2' leader with small shortshank hooks.

    I was fishing just south of the Flagler pier one time, using my tactic, just casting to the first trough, and nailed some perfect eating size black drum and an upper-slot red.

    The guy on the north side of the pier (it was closed at the time) was wading out with his 12' stick, casting his pyramid sinker chicken rig as far as possible, and walking back to put his rod in a sand spike. Never saw him catch squat, his bait was probably gone by the time he got back to his lawn chair.

    That's another thing, hold the rod, don't put it in a spike. Strikes can be tough to detect in the surf.

  • kellerclkellercl Posts: 4,236 Captain
    I third the fish are close to shore.
  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 1,034 Officer
    put out a 10 to 12 inch lady fish, with a biodegradable balloon if wind  and or current is going out.
    hold on.
  • greyreefsharkgreyreefshark Posts: 473 Deckhand
    Thanks guys! That’s some helpful stuff there. That will certainly make things a lot easier for me, to
    just focus on the first trough.

    I can just walk the beach from where I’m at on Pompano beach and head towards the Inlet and back each morning and evening. 

    Nice plan 👍, thanks much! I’ll also hit the tide changes, but won’t miss the dawn and dusk times either.
  • LastCallJUPLastCallJUP Jupiter, FLPosts: 6 Greenhorn
    Yes! Close to shore is where the good ones are. I've only caught sand sharks when I launch my bait as far as possible. 
  • tarponhuntertarponhunter Posts: 334 Deckhand
    I will say if your aiming at tarpon there will be a lot that move further off the beach so don't be afraid to let a bait swim out there. And down where you're fishing guys use blue runners and dogs off the piers for the tarpon all the time
  • greyreefsharkgreyreefshark Posts: 473 Deckhand
    I will say if your aiming at tarpon there will be a lot that move further off the beach so don't be afraid to let a bait swim out there. And down where you're fishing guys use blue runners and dogs off the piers for the tarpon all the time
    😳 A Tarpon would eat a blue runner?! That would be cool, I didn’t know they would.
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 3,741 Captain
    I will say if your aiming at tarpon there will be a lot that move further off the beach so don't be afraid to let a bait swim out there. And down where you're fishing guys use blue runners and dogs off the piers for the tarpon all the time
    😳 A Tarpon would eat a blue runner?! That would be cool, I didn’t know they would.
    A tarpon is capable of eating almost everything. But some baits are are better than others. I’m sure  location and availability play a big part. I’d probably trim the tail if I were using a hard tail (blue runner)....Some people swear a hard head catfish is the best tarpon bait. A buddy caught a monster on a hardhead last year when he couldn’t find anything else in the cast net. 
    You should have been here yesterday
  • greyreefsharkgreyreefshark Posts: 473 Deckhand
    And a Hard Head Catfish!? Man, this is good stuff to hear, so I know there more options available if I can’t get a certain bait.

    Thanks for that Saltygatorvet!
  • greyreefsharkgreyreefshark Posts: 473 Deckhand
    In another thread I talked about trying to use my Shimano Corvallis 400 to try and handle a Tarpon or big snook if I ran into any. I was trying to save money if I could from buying another reel. By what everyone said that wasn’t gonna be a good idea. I didn’t have the money for another Spinfisher right now, so I just went to bass pro to pick up a Battle 6000.


  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 1,034 Officer
    ...about a 6 inch cat, cut spines.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 11,020 AG
    permit_me said:
    ...about a 6 inch cat, cut spines.
    I wanted to try a 8-10" cat with the spines cut off for tarpon at Vaca last time I was there but i never ended up getting the chance.   Still convinced it will produce.   
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 482 Deckhand
    They use them in Charlotte Harbor. Also just catfish tails. Pretty bloody so lots of scent in the water. 
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 3,741 Captain
    Lostconch said:
    They use them in Charlotte Harbor. Also just catfish tails. Pretty bloody so lots of scent in the water. 
    A buddy’s in laws run a marina down there. He said that frozen hardheads fly out of the freezer during tarpon season. I’ve heard of folks skiinning them (live), too cruel for me. I also know for a fact cobia will eat hardheads. I’m sure others will attest to finding many a hard head in a cobia stomach. Wonder if s grouper would eat one? 
    You should have been here yesterday
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 482 Deckhand
    I have found small ones in red a well
  • kci-miakci-mia Posts: 257 Deckhand
    Not exactly surf fishing but guys in Hawaii do cliff fishing where they fish from sea side cliff.  They use kite to put out large live baits off shore to catch marlin, tuna, Mahi, sharks, etc.  It was wild to see guys catch 200+ lb. marlins or 100 lb. tuna from cliff.  They use large reels holding a lot of line.       
  • Tony RomaTony Roma Posts: 616 Officer
    Best fish close to shore? Totally agree me and fam go to captiva every summer and giant snook and tarpon run the first trough depending on water clarity. Not unusual to catch 15-20 snook in a 2 hour session. 2 or 3 will be big sows
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