Live baiting in estuaries: Part II
  |  First Published: October 2008

This month Jay and I will be writing about fishing in the estuaries with live bait.

This is a very good technique for targeting the lager fish in the eateries because in stops the little fish from picking off all the bait. There are many different types of live baits you can use like poddy mullet, winter whiting, gar, squid, prawns, worms, yabbies, hermit crabs, hardy heads, herring and crabs.

Live bait is very good because when the hooks are in the fish they get stressed and wriggle a lot, which can attract the fish. When you are live baiting in estuaries you can catch lots of different fish like mangrove jack, cod, bream, whiting or flathead. If you are fishing up north you can catch barra, salmon and fingermark.

When you are collecting live bait you can use a cast net, drag net and little hooks for gar and mullet. If you want to use squid it’s best to try to catch them at night. Just shine a spotlight in the water and wait a little bit and you will notice squid coming up from the bottom because they are attracted to the light. You then scoop them up in a small wire net, so the squid don’t just slip out through the holes. Once you have the squid you have to look after them well or they will die because they are delicate.

When Jay, Dad and I go fishing with livies we do our best to keep them alive. We put them in a live bait tank or a vegetable box with a 12 volt aerator or we hang them over the side in a keeper. If one of the live baitfish dies you have to get it out or it could kill all the other ones.

Worms and yabbies don’t really need an aerator, they can survive if you change their water every now and then. If you are trying to keep them alive over night it would be wise to use an aerator and change the water first thing in the morning.

Livie’s can last for a while if they are looked after. It is best to only cast a livie in once or twice or it will die very quickly.

Sometimes it takes more than one hit on a livie to hook a fish. After the first hit you don’t wind in straight away, you should give it a bit more time because most of the time the fish will come back for more.

In the estuaries you can still use stinger rigs but use smaller hooks. For live bait for mangrove jack put your livie just out from the snag so the mangrove jack will think it’s a little fish swimming by. The live bait will be hurt from the hooks so the mangrove jack thinks it is an easy target and go for it.

When you are fishing with livies it the estuaries you will notice that different livies catch different fish. For cod we usually use crabs, winter whiting, herring and hardy heads. When you’re using live crab you have to make sure your hooks are shewn or it will just swallow it and you won’t hook up.

For whiting we use live worms or live yabbies. For mangrove jack we use whiting, mullet, or gar. When we are targeting bream we use live prawns or poddy mullet, hardy heads and herring. On jewfish we use live squid, poddy mullet, live prawns, and gar. For flathead we use winter whiting, poddy mullet, winter whiting, gar, prawns, worms, yabbies, hardy heads and herring. When you go after finger mark live squid are the best bait to use.

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