How To:

Slidebaiting: The Basics

Author: Terra Firma Tackle

Fishing For Sharks Off Of California Piers By Slidebaiting

There is no disputing that the home of Landbased SharkFishing is on the East Coast. Places like the Florida Keys,Miami, and the Outer Banks dominate the scene undisputedlywith heavy tackle and kayak-deployed baits being the norm.

However, there is another type of Landbased sharking takingplace on the West Coast, one very different that centers ondistance casting and a unique style of fishing that has rootsabroad in the Hawiian Islands, South Africa, andAustralia.  This kind of fishing is referred to as "SlideBaiting".

Thresher Shark Caught Slidebaiting
Pictured above is an example of a Thresher Shark taken using the slidebaiting technique.


How does it work?

The backbone of "Slide Baiting" is the concept of an"anchor" and a "slide" or "trolley".In this tactic, a heavy lead, with or without grip wires, is castas far away from the angler as possible. Once the "anchor"is set firmly to the seafloor a "slide" leader,complete with hook and bait is clipped onto the main line andallowed to slide down the line toward the sinker. The hope is thatthe bait travels our away from the structure and angler and towardthe distant sinker, at some point in its travel intersecting with afish and leading to a hook up. Once bit, the "slide"travels down to the "anchor" and the fish is fought asnormal. This tactic allows large, fragile, live, or uncastablebaits to be slid down the line gently and reach distancesgreater than by any other non-kayak method of fishing.

Contrary to the relatively shallow waters found off the coast ofthe East Coast, the California Coast has a steep drop off foundclose to shore. This coupled with the multitude of public fishingpiers providing an extended and elevated platform from which tocast, the conditions are prime for adapting the Slide Baitingtactic to the sharking fishery.

Here in California pelagic shark species such as ThresherSharks, Makos, Blue Sharks, and even Great Whites are allaccessible via this "Slide Baiting" tactic. There arealso opportunities to catch non-shark species via this methodincluding tuna, yellowtail and even in rare cases billfish.

What Do You Need?

Tackle for slide-baiting can be assimple or complex as the angler desires. For the interest of thisarticle only the basic tackle requirements will be addressed, leavingthe more advanced techniques for a later publication.

Rod and Reel:

Rods for slide baiting should be fairlylong, at least 8 feet in length is preferred. For most applications 6ounces of weight is optimum, so the rod should be able to cast thisweight comfortably. A faster action rod with a flexible tip is alsopreferred to help “anchor” the sinker without pulling it free.Line ratings can vary based on target species but 30 or 40lb line isgenerally the best choice for most mid-sized sharks up to about 9feet in length.

As far as reels go, cast-ability is akey component, but not the only consideration. Lever drag reels, suchas the Qualia 2-Speed Lever Drag Reels( the best choice, providing enough high quality, smooth dragpressure to slow down the lightning fast runs of the pelagic speciesbeing targeted. Two speed functions provide an advantage in torquewhen utilizing the low gear, allowing the angler to keep a “straightwind” on the fish instead of an aggressive “pump and wind”technique. This avoids angler fatigue as well as reducing thelikelihood that a hook will pull during the fight.

Line and Terminal Tackle:

Reels used forthis kind of fishing should be backed with at least 300 yards of ahigh quality braided line such as the Bullbuster line of PremiumBraided Lines ( capacity, but need to be topped off with 100+ yards of a highquality, abrasion resistant mainline to allow proper sliding of the“Slider” or “Trolley” leader. The best mono for the job is ahigh abrasion resistant product that is inexpensive but high-qualitysuch as the Bullbuster Premium Monofilament Lines( line will take a lot of abuse, more so than other fishing tactics, as the leader slides on and rides on the main line like a zip-line. The mainline should be changed frequently! We change our topshots after every few trips, and after every decent fish landed on the line. Monofilament is cheap, and this is cheap insurance against losing a quality fish to abraded or damaged line.

Sinkers should befrom 4-10 ounces depending on sea and bottom conditions and shouldnot be tied directly to the mainline. Instead a “Surgeons Loop”or “Bimini Twist” should be used to create a 6” length ofdoubled line at the end of the mainline that is then tied with a“Palomar Knot” to a high quality snap swivel like those offeredby Bullbuster ( provides a little extra chafe proofing for the “Slider” whenit is at the end of the mainline.

Sliding leadersshould be made of a high quality stainless steel cable orfluorocarbon line. We personally use Bullbuster Fluorocarbon( the 100lb size for our live bait sliders when targeting ThresherSharks and a high quality coated steel product when targeting moreaggressive feeders such as Makos and Soupfin sharks. A good rule ofthumb for slider length is that the shorter the leader, the fartheraway and faster it will travel to the end of the cast. However, doremember that when targeting sharks or other abrasive species thatthe mainline will be rubbing on the body and tail of the animal ifthe slider is too short. In most cases we recommend a 2 foot lengthslider for dead bait presentations to smaller fish, and 12 footleaders for live bait presentations to larger pelagic species.

The leaders shouldbe built using a high quality snap swivel as the clip( remember to go up at least two sizes from the size used to attachthe weight to the mainline, that way the slider will ride on themetal of the snap swivel rather than the weaker monofilament. Wehighly recommend the use of a high quality circle hook on allleaders, and we offer our production leaders with custom long-shankcircle hook designed for commercial longline fishing.

By using themethods outlined above a great many species can be conquered fromland not only in California, but also worldwide. While not a typicalway to fish in most places, and a little more technical than most areused to, this slidebaiting tactic has been enormously successful fornumerous fishermen worldwide.

Is That All?

This article isjust the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the unique fishery thatis slidebaiting. A later article will address several additionalmodifications to the slidebaiting system that allow the angler moredistance, better presentations, and more targeted fishingopportunities!

Please check outour own website, for more information andproducts specifically designed for slidebaiting tactics!

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