New Surf Fishing Baits from Berkley A Sure Byte

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A small section of Surf Bytes Strips mounted on a size 4 circle hook is a good balance between hook and bait size.
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Berkley Gulp! Surf Bytes review

BY BEN HERVEY-MURRAY

With spring comes a run of croaker, halibut and bigger surf perch into Southern California, and the killer baits for these species over many years have come from the Berkley Gulp! range – primarily small artificial sandworms and shads. Considering the great track record of these infused artificial  baits, it’s no surprise that the formula has been extended into three new surf fishing offerings under the Surf Bytes umbrella.

Probably the most interesting for West Coast anglers is the Strip baits, which take the form of spongy segmented strips in 14cm lengths that can be cut to match hook size and target species. I’m sure these will be highly effective for West Coast croaker species like yellowfin and spotfin when early summer arrives – both are absolute mugs for small scented strip baits like these on dropper loop rigs in the surf. They’re also regular catches on the other Gulp!-infused baits like sandworms.

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Available in five colors, the most useful Strips are likely the orange – a classic shade for match sand crab eggs and ghost shrimp – also chartreuse and pink are reliable colors, especially when doused in that magic Gulp! juice. Speaking of which, because of their sponge-like nature, you can reuse all of these baits when they’ve been soaked for a while by throwing them back in the bag and letting them reabsorb the liquid ready for another cast.

Although softer than some other artificial strip baits, these work in a different way with no dissolving elements, so they’re likely to last a little longer in the surf overall. I’m sure a small fingernail-size section on a circle hook will account for plenty of fish on guided trips this year.

The 1-inch Sand Flea have the same Gulp!-boosted scent as the rest of the successful range, and comes in five colors.

The second bait of interest is the Surf Bytes Sand Fleas – 1-inch grape-size baits molded to look like a sand crab and also available in five colors, all infused with the same juice. These little baits have great definition and will be ideal for bait and wait fishing for larger croaker and anything that eats the bigger sand crabs. The orange and pink fuze colors are ideal for this style of fishing and are proven shades in shallow surf.

For the bass and halibut anglers, the Baitfish Surf Byte is a 3-inch mini fish or shad imitation ideal for drop-shot tactics or mounting on small jig heads for bass. I can’t wait to use this little guy as a trailer on a big spinnerbait. Twelve in a pack and the same five eye-catching colors.

I’m looking forward to the first spring run of croaker and sand crabs that comes along with the warmer water associated with April and May, when these versatile baits will really come into their own as the yellowfin and spotfin get switched on to finding food items in the surf. For our East Coast surf casters, they’re going to be a hit for the pompano, drum and whiting anglers who know the value of small but heavily-scented baits in various neon shades.

The shad-like Baitfish version of Surf Bytes is ideal for bass, halibut and trophy surf perch hunting.

The great thing about these baits is that they’re all shelf-life – you can sling them in your bag after fishing, go to work and forget about them for a week, and they’ll be just as good when you need them on your next session. Eliminating the need for fresh bait removes a lot of hassle from the surf fishing process, meaning more time for the fun stuff like actually fishing. I’ll definitely be carrying multiple bags of all three of these baits on trips this year, and I’ll update you in a later column with my findings and tips.

The Berkley Surf Byes range is out now and costs $7.99 per pack. Find out more at www.berkley-fishing.com

Bait and wait surf fishing with small, bright artificial baits like the new Surf Bytes Strips is a fun way to catch croaker, and the Gulp!-infused baits are likely to be a big hit.
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