5 Simple Tips on How to Catch Croaker

I won’t call myself the perfect angler despite my countless attempts at seeking recognition as one. It’s possibly the reason why I am constantly pushing my fishing skills as far as I can go.

​Hopefully, this guide should be able to show you how to catch croaker through some of the best croaker-specific fishing tips I could find. The two most common species of croaker are the Atlantic croaker and the Virginia croaker.


Follow me as I guide you through the process of catching croaker.

Tip 1: Setting Up Your Rig

When fishing for croaker, it is important that your boat is set up along coastal freshwater outlets as well as estuaries in which the croaker species spawn

Croakers, as I have said earlier are bottom feeders so I sincerely advise that your rig is lined with lead weights to ensure that you keep depth.

set up rig

I like many experienced croaker anglers like rocky bottoms because croakers get attracted to rocky bottoms with the mild swift moving current. So I follow them there.

However, in case you are thinking in that direction, you can always go back to the store to have your hook and sinker replaced because there is going to be some tackle.

There is always going to be that one time you dropped your hook and sinker into a pile of rocks giving away a little piece of your tackle.

Tip 2: Find The Perfect Rod and Reel

reel fishing

Top 5 Rod And Reel You Should Buy

My rod basically is what I was advised by my angling buddy. It is a 7 foot long Shakespeare Ugly Stik bait cast rod. (1)

I also accompany it with a Shakespeare bait cast reel or spinning reel SKP 4000A and SS 3835 respectively.

For hooks, please endeavor to use long shank hooks No. 1 and 2. Croakers are not the biggest fish.

As a matter of fact, the croakers weigh under 2 pounds and grow to a maximum of 5 inches in length.

hook fishing

So any hook bigger than that would not work. Any rod and reel between the light to medium range constituting a 1/0 hook and with just enough sinker should be sufficient.

Tip 3: The Terminal Tackle

You need sinkers ranging that do not weigh a lot more than an ounce. Always remember that croakers are bottom feeders. As such any bait that goes up as much as a few feet would be a complete waste of time and effort.

terminal tackle

I had previously read online that the best hook for croaker was the Daichi Circle Wide in 1/0 size and as such decided to put it to use. (2)

It works perfectly! Using a polymer knot , tie a small barrel to your line. Then tie a 3ft, 20-pound piece of microfilament leader on the barrel swivel.

From the base of that microfilament leader, tie a loop knot. Then about 6 inches higher, have another loop knot tied that would stretch out for about 4 - 6 inches of the microfilament leader.

Repeat this process about 6 - 8 inches higher. Should you have done this properly, you should have two additional loop knots that are between 6 - 8 inches apart from each other and are about 6 inches above the sinker.

Next, tie the loop knots with the tag end of the line and passing it through twice through the loop and pulling it tight. Then slip in the lead sinker and hoop (Daichi hoop, if you got one) right through each of the loops you had knotted earlier.

Once you have done this, you are more than ready to move on to the next stage of choosing your bait.

Tip 4: Choose Your Bait

There are many ways to catch croaker. The most important thing is to choose the bait that is best for you.

I prefer bloodworms, squid, and fish bites. In this case, I would put you through bloodworms.

bloodworms bait

If you know absolutely nothing about fishing, then this introduction is for you. Bloodworms are invertebrate that can be found on mud flats, shellfish beds, marshes and other saltwater habitats.

As an angler I find the bloodworm to be an excellent choice for baiting fish like croaker. The reason is that croaker loves blood and is easily attracted to it.

The problem I usually had was that no matter how much I bled the croaker, could not get the fish as easily as I wanted to. So I discovered the perfect way to put bloodworm bait together.

The first part is to rig a bloodworm. A bloodworm has two sides; a head and a butt. Now use a 4-0 Baitholder hook with barbs and thread the worm around it. It is important you use a very fine wire because baits are often prone to bursting.


Always be careful when handling bloodworm, as their sharp mouth can be painful if it pierces your skin. Anglers are therefore advised to remove the mouth before catching the bloodworm.

The bleeding bloodworm should attract the croaker with ease. I learned that by holding the rod, I could feel every gentle movement in the water.

Tip 5: Precautions And Tips When Catching Croaker

Now there are a few lessons I have learned fishing for croaker that I would like to pass on. I would rather you learn from me than the hard way.

  • First, I realized that I have an easier time catching croaker with the outgoing tide.

This doesn't mean that the croaker still wouldn't bite with the incoming tide. It is a matter of preference.

I do most of my fishing in the late afternoon, usually terminating latest by 8 in the evening.

tips when catching croaker

The cool weather helps me relax and enjoy my angling expedition.


Always remember that croakers have very sharp gill plates that could do a bit of harm. As such you will need to go out on your expedition with quite a few hand towels.

Not unless you want to end the day with chopped fingers. I must emphasize on carrying enough hook and sinkers as well as bait. I have found out that croaker runs through bait faster than other fishes.

I also found that Fish Finders are quite useful in such scenarios, and they help a lot too. So, if you are carrying a decent fish finder then it will definitely going to help a lot.

  • I have also learned that there is no such thing as bad croaker no matter how small the croaker may be.
  • Unless you are solely interested in catching croaker, you can fillet the small croaker and use it as bait to attract other bigger fish like Black Drum, Redfish or Small Trout.
  • I have noticed how easily Redfish are attracted to small croakers when used as bait.

Final Thought

Lastly, before I sign off with the best wishes on your next fishing expedition, I feel an obligation to tell you that my motivation for writing this article is the barbecued marinated croaker fish I made. Yum. Try it and see what you are missing. You won't regret your decision.

Did you love reading my article? If yes, please share. You may never know who subconsciously needed this as much as you do. Feel free to pass on your comments as well. I love reading from you.

Ted Thomas

Hi there, I'm Ted Thomas, an ardent adventure writer. I write for readers with a genuine interest in enjoying the great outdoors. By sharing my experiences camping, hunting and fishing, I hope to inspire others to fully explore the depths of their passion.

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