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BAITS

Damon Sherriff
There are many types of baits available. There is frozen, fresh, live or artificial and they all work.
Bait fishing is the most popular fishing method. Generally because any angler, of any skill level or any age can fish successfully.

Bait is a very productive method mainly because of the smell or scent of the bait. Fish have an extraordinary sense of smell and some fish can smell bait from hundreds of meters away. The scent is carried down the current and the fish swims back up to find the source.
I love using bait and so do my children. We all fish together and it gives you time to enjoy the day and have some fun. It is a lot easier than using lures all the time as you seem to spend a lot of time untangling and releasing snags. Although lure fishing is very productive and is fun, I believe more big fish are caught using bait than any other method.
Some great baits are available at your local tackle store. If you haven't got time to catch your own bait this would be your next best option.

Bluebait
Tasmania's most popular bait would have to be Bluebait. It is available in a 400gm bag. Bluebait is a small salted pilchard type fish which is very oily and makes a great tough smelly bait. This bait is ideal for most estuary and saltwater fishes. Bluebait can be fished whole or cut into small chunks or larger bluebait can be filleted. Bluebait is also in high demand from the pet food people as well and occasionally shortages can occur for long periods of time.

Whitebait
Whitebait is also very popular recreational bait. It is also great bait in tidal estuaries. It is a bit softer and tends to come of the hook much easier than bluebait but the fish don't seem to mind. Whitebait is successful on most estuary species. Whitebait can be fished whole or cut depending on what type of fish you are chasing.

W.A Pilchards
Pilchards are also convenient bait and have high oil content. Pilchards are normally unsalted but some times when bluebait is in short supply pilchards are salted and sold as bluebait. Pilchards are great bait for larger fish and can be used whole or cut into pieces. Once pilchards are defrosted they get very soft so the use of bait mate or hosiery elastic is a must. Use it to bond your bait onto your hook. This will stop it from coming off easily. Pilchards normally come in 400 or 500gm bags but are also available in 2kg or 10kg blocks. Whole pilchard baits are normally rigged up on 3 ganged hooks or a double hook rig.

Prawns
Frozen prawns are also good bait for many fish such as bream, zebra fish, luderick and many more species. Prawns are normally fished whole but if you purchase fresh prawns they are usually cut into smaller pieces. Frozen prawns are bought in 200gm bags.
Pippis
Pippis are another very good frozen bait and are also great for bream. Pippis are a small shellfish commonly found in the sandy, muddy areas of most estuaries. Pippis come shelled but the meat is the part that you use fro bait. In Victoria there is a type of pippi that has a soft shell. These make great bream bait and can be used unshelled. Pippi meat is tough and stays on your hook reasonably well.

Squid
Squid is also a very popular bait used in Tasmania. It is very tough and stays on the hook very well. Most squid comes in 200gm packs. It is a small Californian squid. It can be used whole or cut into smaller pieces. Most fish will have a go at squid, although some prefer the more oily baits. When buying squid avoid darker pink or purple coloured flesh. This normally means that it is a bit old or has been defrosted and re frozen.

Sandworms
This is another good frozen bait. They come in a packet of one. Sandworms are quite large and many baits can be cut out of one worm. Sandworms are productive on most estuary fish as well. Bream, trevally, mullet and salmon are just a few of the species that enjoy sandworms.

Ancient Fishing Secrets
Ancient Fishing Secrets have a range of different types of bait that are infused with mutton bird oil and then sealed. They are produced on Flinders Island. Most fish seem to be attracted to mutton bird oil so this gives a burlying affect. They have quite a range of different types. Squid, garfish, salmon, wallaby and mutton bird hearts are just a few of the types available.

One tip to looking after your baits is to keep them out of the sun. Keep your bait in a cool place as the bait will get soft which will make it easier to fall off the hook. I could go on for ages but this is just a few of the most common baits used which are easy to access and are still very  productive. But don't forget that the number one bait in my opinion doesn't come packaged or frozen from your local tackle shop, service station or corner store. It comes straight from the water. Fresh! Fresh bait is still number one. And it really is worth putting the time and effort into catching it. So if you are really serious about getting good results you should try and catch your own fresh bait.

Damon Sherriff