At Lureandfly.com it is not just all about lures and fly to catch fish, yes even we use bait. How many times have you heard of that saying as you are selecting a lure out of the tackle box that you need to match the hatch. Well sometimes depending on the species you are fishing and the method you are using to catch these fish there is no substitute for live bait. Whether it is squid, slimy mackerel or yellowtail they all have their purpose whether you are live baiting off the rocks, trolling or down rigging. Species like Tuna, Kingfish, Marlin, and Mackerel etc are great target fish using these methods of live bait.
Half the battle in successfully catching fish like these is catching your live bait. We would normally have no problems in catching live bait in our local area, knowing all the usual haunts of where to catch them but I must say in the last couple of weeks we have really struggled to catch live bait. The reason we have struggled is that we have been fishing a new area and trying to find where these baits can be caught consistently has been a struggle.
There is lots of reef and weeded areas but some work better and more consistent than others. I really don’t have an answer as to why. We spent two days in the area this week to spend more time nutting it out. It sounds easy when people just say go to here and you will catch your bait. For me I would prefer to visualize the area to make sure I am on weed or reef as no use fishing sand. Once you start catching fish or squid it is not until then you gain confidence that you are in the right area.
You can catch bait all day but the more productive times are at first light or dusk. However given we were fishing a new area we didn’t want to leave in the dark until we had more confidence in navigating the reef systems. We marked the areas that we caught bait on and saved a track in our GPS so that we can safely make it in the dark next time.
Once we found a good area we spent some time casting squid jigs with not much return however we were soon marking bait schools on the sounder. So instead we would throw out our squid jigs dragging them behind the boat and drop a bait jig just off the bottom.
It wasn’t long before we had yellowtail, slimy mackerel and a couple of squid in our live wells. It is important when catching bait to keep a sustainable amount. If you overcrowd your live well the slimy mackerel will not survive long and if you have fish that bleed in the well the contaminated water can kill your other baits. Try to minimize handling the fish before use, as they will last longer.
Once you have the bait then hopefully comes the prize. For us that came in a dozen kingfish between 72cm-80cm, unfortunately no metre fish this time but we got to watch a friend catch one. It was very exciting and a great learning curve for us both. Happy bait gathering for your prize.