Bait gathering techniques
  |  First Published: September 2007

This month is going to be on bait gathering. There are heaps of different sorts of gathering and ways of getting bait. One form often used is cast netting, and we use the cast net to catch bait like poddy mullet, prawns, gar and herring.

Here are some techniques you can use for mullet when you’re fishing with them dead or alive.

If you’re using them alive, then either put one hook through the mouth and let it swim around or set up a stinger rig with one hook trough the mouth and another hook somewhere along the body.

If you’re going to use mullet dead, whole or as flesh bait, you can use a stinger rig as well. But what we like to do when fishing for reds or snapper is to use gangs and place them neatly down the side of the fish or flesh and slowly float them down.

If your going to use them as a bottom basher, for bream fishing or squire fishing, just use a single hook and a piece of flesh or a chunk of the whole fish and neatly feed it on and then cast it out or feed to the bottom.

Prawns can be used for bait either dead or alive. When using them alive, get the smallest hook you can possibly use for the occasion and feed the hook through the tail and pop the point out half way (if you go any further into the head you will kill the prawn) and then gently cast it out.

If the prawn is dead, feed it from the tail right through to the head and then pop it out, and then cast. If your going to use gar it’s exactly the same as using mullet, except when you use the stinger rig you have to snap its long beak.

When using herring/hardiheads you can use them the same way you would use any of the other baits we just mentioned.

Another form of gathering bait is drag netting. Drag netting needs two people; one person goes on one end and one person goes on the other end and you slowly drag it. The person out deep should slowly start arcing around towards the beach and then pull the net up on to the beach and collect your catch.

The bait you catch is pretty much the same when cast netting, but when your dragging for bait you could also net other fish like whiting, flat- head, bream, flounder etc. Make sure you release these fish immediately.

Another way of catching bait is on a live bait jig. Drop the jig to the bottom and jig it up and down. This is a good technique for catching yakkas, slimy mackerel and herring. Happy bait gathering.

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