For many years commercial fishermen have used cured freshwater eel fillets for gummy shark bait.
A select few have disclosed their ‘secret’ bait in recent years in the hope that others will have the same success they continue to have.
The 2005/06 gummy shark season in Western Port was mind blowing and rivalled, in shark terms, the sensational snapper season that Port Phillip enjoyed months earlier.
Given the widespread interest in cured eel as gummy bait, an article outlining how to rig it properly seemed timely.
When rigging fillets of cured eel fillet I use a single circle hook rig.
A circle hook is designed in such a way that there is no need to strike. In fact, it’s counter productive!
Essentially, the rod is left to buckle over and let fish hook themselves.
Firstly, take your piece of cured eel and remove a fillet from one side.
Lay the fillet skin side down on the chopping board and slice it into three pieces, each around 6 to 8cm long.
Take the single circle hook in one hand and insert the hook point into the skin side of the fillet, about 2cm from the end.
That’s it – too simple isn’t it?
The final product, a perfectly rigged cured eel fillet with the point of the circle hook well exposed.
Top Five Tips
1. Don't bury the hook point in the bait. Maximise hook point exposure for a solid hook up.
2. Change the sinker weight according to the strength of the current. Your bait must sit on the sea floor to catch a gummy.
3. Ball bearing or rolling swivels are necessary in fast tidal locations to avoid line twist.
4. When using eel there’s no need to check the bait often. Eels are thick skinned – they won’t fall off the hook and scavenger fish won’t make of an impression on them.
5. Check whether your bait spins next to the boat before casting out. It takes 10 seconds but can be the difference between going home empty handed or with a meal.