Bait will bring results
  |  First Published: June 2014

This is probably one of the slowest times of the year to fish the Yarra. The water has changed from low and warm, to flowing and cold. The fish need time to adjust and realign themselves with this changed environment.

Bait fishing for all species is the key to getting in amongst them at this time of the year. Berley is almost mandatory and can bring some very good catches for those people willing to sit and wait for it to take affect.

Almost every fish in the river will respond to a good berley trail, but getting a good trail set and working isn't as easy as it might seem.

Flowing water means that things are going to move from upstream to downstream, however, in some instances, there will be back eddies and currents that can bring it back up the river toward you. Thankfully, these are easy to see and mostly lay against the bank beside a reasonably fast stretch of water.

To find yourself a good stretch of Yarra River to set a berley trail in, you want it to be medium fast to slow water and as deep as you can get it (keeping in mind that a lot of the river is only 1-3m deep). You’ll also need a little bit of bank to play with, say 20m! This will allow you to move down into what might be a slightly better position later in the day when your berley starts working its best.

Getting your berley into the water can be achieved several ways. The most popular is the ‘hand throw’, which is also the least affective. With the hand throw technique, you run the risk of spreading your berley far and wide instead of concentrating it in one spot. If you’re a good throw, you can sometimes get it right and produce fish, but it’s more hit and miss.

A much better way to achieve berley direction success is to use a feeder cage. You can either buy them or make them; they are essentially a sinker that carries your berley directly to the point from which your bait is located. All that’s required next is to consistently cast into the same spot at regular intervals to keep the berley flow continuous.

Your berley can be made of many different things. One of the best and cheapest additives for your berley is breadcrumbs. The particles are small and very hard for target spices to pick up but will carry a large amount of attractive scent and smell down to the fish – and this is what you want!

The main draw card in every berley is what you have on your hook. That is to say that if you’re fishing with worms, then you’d better have worms in your berley! Same goes with corn, maggots, meal worms, mussels, or anything for that matter. There’s no use you creating the smell of a roast and then serving up sushi!

Obviously because it’s berley, you don’t want to feed them too much, so you have to make the elements you put into your berley very small. Chopping up worms and adding the dirt that they came in is one way to keep things small but by using maggots or corn, you don’t need to do anything at all apart from put them in the mix!

The most important thing you can learn about berley is that if your feeder cage comes back with berley still in it you’re packing it too tight. You just want it to survive the cast and as it hits the water, you want to see a cloud of it on impact letting you know it’s come out on the spot.

You can recast as much as every 5 minutes to keep the trail steady. Also, with a good mix of breadcrumbs and the right amount of water added (you want to be able to make it into a ball in your hands but still rub it back out into crumbs) you can try some hand throwing a little more upstream from where your baits are to keep things fired up. Keep fishing in the same spot as the trail, will start working at some stage!

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