The pinfish is otherwise known as a butterfish, sand perch, or pin perch. This type of fish gets its name from the twelve spines protruding from the top of the dorsal fin. The spines inflict painful wounds into the hands of unsuspecting anglers when improperly handled. Butterfish are excellent fighters when hooked on rod and reel but are best known as superb bait when presented to larger fish. Here is what you need to know about pinfish in the coastal waters of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. 

How Do You Identify A Pinfish

The most notable marking is the twelve sharp spines extending from the dorsal fin when it comes to identification. A second obvious indicator is a well defined black spot behind the gill plate on both sides. 

Tails of sand perch while the body is silver with blue and yellow lines above. Lastly, the mouth contains sharp incisor teeth. Use caution when handling the fish. 

How Big Does A Pinfish Get

Anglers most frequently catch pinfish ranging between four and eight inches in length. However, it is not uncommon to catch a monster exceeding eight inches. We suggest keeping sand perch between four and six inches when utilizing them for bait. 

Where Do You Catch Pinfish

The fish is widely distributed along the east coast of the United States. Anglers catch sand perch between Massachusetts and Florida, making Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina the center of the action. 

How Do You Catch Pinfish

The mouths of the fish are tiny; therefore, utilize small hooks and baits. When setting up to catch sand perch, use a lightweight spinning rod and reel combinations, a bobber, a leader line, and a hook.

Yes, catching butterfish will bring you back to your early days of learning how to fish. For this reason, focusing on sand perch is exciting for young anglers being introduced to the sport. 

Tip the hook with squid, shrimp, or small fish chucks. Cast the baited hook and bobber near channel markers, grassy areas, over rocks, or any other structure beneath the surface. 

Once the bait is soaking, watch the bobber closely. When a fish strikes, reel the line quickly, land the fish, and place it in a live well. 

Is Pinfish Good Eating

Pinfish are mild, white, and flaky when it comes to taste and texture. However, the fish are seldom eaten because of their size. The minimal yield per fish is not worth the effort of filleting compared to other meatier species.  

When cooking the fillets, we recommend breading and deep-frying. Add tartar sauce for dipping and a side of french fries or coleslaw to complete the meal. 

What Are Pinfish Good Bait For

One of the most popular baits for catching gamefish are pinfish. The butterfish can be fished along the surface or dropped to the bottom. Check out the fish that bite live pinfish.

Inshore Waters

The most popular type of coastal fishing in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina is inshore. Inshore anglers focus on redfish, sea trout, flounder, snook, and sharks. Pinfish are used for both nearshore and deep water dropping with heavy weights on the seafloor below. 

Offshore Bottom Fishing

Offshore bottom fishing is excellent. Nearshore anglers catch shark, cobia, and redfish dropping to the bottom on reefs and wrecks. Offshore, live pinfish are used to target all species of grouper and snapper on hard bottoms. 

Blue Water

The coastal waters are murky because of the nutrient-rich shoreline. There is blue water, far offshore of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Anglers utilize live pin perch for dolphin, sailfish, tuna, and more. 

How Do You Keep Pinfish Alive

Live bait is meant to be fished alive and kick to cause vibration in the water attracting gamefish from far distances. 

When shore angling and catching sand perch, for bait, bring along a live well bucket with an air pump. Fill the bucket with saltwater, turn on the air pump, and gently handle the fish when removing the hook and placing them in the container.

Anglers fishing by boat must follow a similar approach. When the watercraft is fitted with a live well, secure the drain tube, turn on the switch, and drop them into the bait until you are ready to fish. 

In either situation, keep the water flowing until the day of fishing has come to an end. 

Are You Ready To Catch Pinfish For Bait Or Sport

Pin perch are fun fish to target for young anglers learning the sport because of their aggressiveness and willingness to bite. Secondly, fishers targeting gamefish highly regard pinfish as a top bait. The fish is widely distributed in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, so you will have no trouble finding them around structure.