QUICK GUIDE TO READILY AVAILABLE BAITS FOR BEACH FISHING
One thing I really like about beach fishing is the fact that I can find many of the baits right there on the beach or purchase them closeby. The beach is great for providing fresh and free bait. On the other hand, there is nothing worse than getting all the way down to the beach and not finding what you want because you don’t have the skills. Because of this, I recommend supplementing what you can find at the beach with what a local tackle store has on offer. I always get live beach worms and something frozen just in case.
Here is a look at some of the most widely available baits that I regularly use when fishing from the beach
PIPIS OR COCKLES
Pipis are commonly found on many coastal beaches. They are also called cockles or Cockle Shells. They are your typical round triangle shaped clam shell.
They are an excellent bait for Bream, Tarwhine, Whiting and many other species. To find pipi, look for small sandy bumps in low levels. To get them out of the sand, simply drag your fingers through the bump. They are good for use with smaller hooks.
Beach worms take some skill to catch. If you are not confident where you can find them and you don’t have a lot of experience, you can’t go wrong by stocking up on some from your local tackle store. To be honest, I think getting them from the tackle store is much easier than the trouble of catching them.
Beach worms are one of the best baits for beach fishing.
Here is a video that gives you an idea of what you need to go through to catch them. Those who are good at it have no trouble catching a load in no time at all.
Pilchards are often sold in bags at tackle stores. They are extremely popular with Chopper Tailor and Salmon. That doesn’t mean that Pilchards are limited to those 2 species. Pilchards will take just about any fish so be prepared for anything that could and will happen.
I use Pilchards on 3 or 4 gang hooks, casting out and retrieving or letting them sit. If you are on an extended fishing trip, I highly recommend salting your Pilchards to keep them in the best shape.
Bonito has an oily flesh which will attract many predatory species including Jewfish and Shark. Bonito work best after being salted. Bonito works well on 2 gang rigs and I recommend fillets of around 8-10cm.
Salting Bonito and Pilchards keeps the fish flesh firm. This means the fish stays in tact even over a number of casts. I recommend salting fish flesh around 4 days before going fishing. This is how I prepare my salted flesh baits.
I allow my Bonito or Pilchards to thaw just enough so that I can cut them. I don’t want them so defrosted that the guts makes a mess. I take a fillet from each side of the fish and normally cut that in half again so that I get 4 flesh strips per fish.
As for the salt, use rock salt to cover the bottom of a plastic container before laying down your flesh baits. Once you have a layer of flesh baits, generously cover in salt again. And I do mean be generous with your rock salt. Keep layering with flesh and salt until you are done.
The next step is to put your salt flesh strips in the freezer (or fridge if you want but I prefer the freezer). I have to say that I like to make sure I have them in the freezer for at least 3 days, making sure to drain the water from the container each day.
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