Now that we have covered hooks, weights, artificial baits and terminal tackle let’s talk about how to get baits to the fish. Most surf anglers know that casting gets the bait out there but, there are other ways to get bait to a fish. Anglers are quite ingenious when it comes to getting bait to a fish. Let’s attempt to break these down.
This method is best used when fishing piers. It allows you to get live bait out to a designated area and free float on a leader. To properly slide line you need two fishing rods. One that is going to be your target rod (the rod you are going to catch the fish on) and a static rod or anchor line if you like (used to hold the bait in a specific area.) The next thing you need is a spring loaded clothes pin. There are other ways to do this but for sake of explanation, let’s go with the clothes pin. The first thing is to take the static rod with a spider weight attached and cast it to a pre-determined area. Tighten the line and let it remain stationary. Thread the string through the eye of the clothes pin and the snap swivel and tie the string in a knot. The snap is what you will attach to the anchor line and the clothes pin will hold your baited leader. Now using your target rod, attach your leader by placing the swivel in the clothes pin. Placing the reel in free spool (allow plenty of slack and apply thumb pressure to avoid back lash) let the bait slide down towards the water. If it becomes stuck or stops, gently shake it up and down until it goes to the water. Once you get the bait in the water, set your drag and depending on your reel, the clicker and you are ready. When a fish takes the bait, it will pull the swivel out of the clothes pin and the fight is on. This can be repeated over and over as your anchor line remains in place.
Illustration for using a slide line
This procedure allows you to present live bait in its natural form. Spinning reels are probably the best method for using this technique. It is an excellent way to cast live shrimp, finger mullet, minnow or shad. It is pretty simple to learn this technique. The principle here is the bait is your weight. Place a large shrimp or other bait on the hook, gently cast it out and allow the bait to swim with the reel in free spool. If needed, a small split shot can be attached to allow a little more distance to the cast. Be careful not add too much weight or the bait will sink and defeat the purpose.
This method is mainly for fishing for Speckled Trout. They can be purchased in any tackle shop or sporting goods area of your big box stores. It consists of a Styrofoam cork with a leader threaded through it. The principle here is as you twitch or jerk on the line, it creates a popping noise creating the sound of fish surface feeding.
The Lemon Rig is another excellent way to free float live bait as well as double your fishing depth. It is pretty straightforward and easy to make for anglers wanting to use this method. The picture below is for illustrative purposes only and is not true to scale but consists of a three way swivel, two pieces of leader material, a float (preferably weighted) and a hook. Using the top of the swivel to attach your line from the reel, proceed to one side of the swivel and attach a leader with the knot of your choice. This end holds the float. On the other side attach another piece of leader material and using crimps or a snelled knot, attach your hook. It’s done. To better explain this method, Let’s say you want to fish a constant depth of eight foot. Throwing an eight foot leader is sometimes impractical. The principal of this rig is to shorten the leader in half using two four foot pieces of leader. Once the float hits the water, the four foot section of leader with the float attached drops with the four foot section with the hook and bait on the end and now you are fishing at an eight foot depth. To see a detailed explanation and clarify this, there is also an excellent video on this web site in the Surf Fishing Forum by TeamBuddaHead that shows how to make and use a lemon rig. Although hard to see, the picture below gives an illustration of a Lemon rig