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Best Baits for Croaker Fishing (Natural and Synthetic)

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Atlantic Croaker

Atlantic Croaker

Best Atlantic Croaker Baits

Atlantic croaker are caught with a variety of cut baits. Top baits may vary widely depending on location and season. Some baits seem to work in almost any situation, while others are for specific situations.


In most areas, squid is the most common bait for catching croakers. Squid is widely available, inexpensive, and catches a variety of species.

Small boxes of squid are available in grocery stores, seafood markets, or tackle shops. The quality of grocery store squid is not as high as bait quality squid but it does work in a pinch.

The best squid for catching croakers is caught locally and specially packaged for fishing. These squid are usually larger, tougher and whiter than calamari.


Bloodworms are another excellent bait for catching croakers. These large saltwater worms bleed profusely when cut up, which helps to attract fish. Bloodworms have an impressive mouth, armed with 4 sharp fangs. They can and will bite unwary anglers. Removing the mouth before cutting up the worm is usually the best approach.

Bloodworms are usually fished in small sections on a top and bottom rig. In areas where spot, pigfish, or other small species are mixed in with croaker, bloodworms may be well worth the expense.

Peelers (Shedder Crabs)

In areas such as Chesapeake Bay, peelers or shedder crabs are the best bait for catching croakers. These are Atlantic blue crabs which are almost ready to shed their shells.

Fresh shrimp are also popular for catching croaker, especially in southern states. In most areas, shrimp is readily available, inexpensive, and easy to use.

Other Natural Baits

A variety of other natural baits are sometimes used for catching croakers where local conditions warrant them. These may include sea clams, quahog clams, minnows, and other baits.

Synthetic Baits

A number of synthetic baits are effective for catching croakers. These baits have several advantages. Most do not require refrigeration or special storage. They come in a wide range of shapes, scents, colors, and patterns. Some are molded into strip baits for bottom fishing while others are shaped like bait species and can are suitable for casting, trolling, drift fishing, or jigging.

Gulp Baits

Best Croaker Bait Poll

© 2011 daybreak


Big Tom on August 21, 2019:

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I have found that atlantic croaker fishing in lower estuaries near the ocean are best caught using cut shrimp

Hman on March 27, 2012:

I believe that dead shrimp on the bottom works best for croaker

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on May 01, 2011:

Thanks for the clarification! I never saw one around here!


daybreak (author) from Atlantic Coast of North America on May 01, 2011:


Croakers are more common from Delaware and states to the south although they are occasionally caught in New England states.

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on May 01, 2011:

Great information! I am from the East Coast. I found a squid fishing spot on Goat Island in Newport, Rhode Island. I haven't tried it yet, but I know a few people who get them and eat some, and use the rest for bait.

I have never heard of "Croakers". I am not sure if they are from the Mass-RI area, or maybe they go by a different name.

Great Hub! Thanks for posting!


Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on May 01, 2011:

Brought memories of when I lived on the east coast

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