The use of berley is by far the best way to attract fish from all over the place to your bait via a trail of food particles. It is commonly used by boat and bank angler in the river and in offshore waters to increase your catch rate. Not many anglers have tried berley techniques from the coastal surf gutters despite the advantages. If used correctly berley in the surf should attract fish into your gutter and onto your hook.
Currents and wave action are two strong factors that influence where your berley will end up. Make sure you take these factors into consideration when positioning a berley dispenser. A small cylinder style berley pot with plenty of small holes or slits that allow a slow and steady flow of berley, is all that you need off the beach. Attach the pot with a length of rope to a sand spike so that it can be washed around in the shore break and small amounts are released all the time. Depending on the current and the waves, place the pot up current so that the berley ends up in the general area where your bait is sitting. When you re-cast your bait out, make sure it is throw up current of the burley pot and sinks into the trail.
Make sure that you don’t go over board when you do use berley as the fish will gorge on it and will be less likely to eat your offering.
Any fishing scraps and off cuts from cleaned fish can be used as berley. Chook pellets, bread crumbs, old bread, pilchards and prawns are also good. When using pellets or bread it is well worth adding a small amount of 100% tuna oil to give the fish plenty of sent to follow. The main aim is to crush or cut up all of the solid material into small pieces that will slowly break up and flow out of the berley buckets holes.
Fish will travel long distances along a berley trail to reach the source. The stronger the scent in your trail means the fish will travel from farther distances. If you do a lot of beach fish and have never tried using berley to attract fish then maybe it’s time to fill your berley pot and give it a try.
This week, Swan Boat Hire team member Ben Forgan looks at a great winter popper - The Hawk HB Splasher. Hawk HB Splasher poppers mostly have a slim clear design making them unreal for bream, whiting, flathead on the flats and the odd trevally. They cast incredibly well even in to strong wind, you can put your Hawk popper where you want; under that fallen tree or over hanging mangrove.
Ben appreciated that Splasher’s come fitted with VMC trebles so they’ll jag a big bream or whiting’s mouth with few problems at all. They’re uniquely weighted for floating at 3.5 grams over 50mm, this makes a very impressive lure which is easy to work for anyone starting on poppers in the rivers and those of you who have been casting popper for years will have a very good day out, bringing home a good feed of fish.
Ben believes techniques and gear needed to chase bream, whiting and the smaller trevally or flathead on the Hawk HB Splasher will also mean the difference between a hook up or not.
“You need a nice light line (1 to 3kg or 2 to 4kg), a smaller 1000 size spin reel and 4 to 6LB braided line to help fan out your cast. This is necessary if you want to be covering as much water as possible over the sand banks. It is worth using 4 to 12LB leader materials incase you come across a bigger trevally however”.
The techniques are fairly straight forward once the popper hits the water give it a few seconds as bream and whiting can be spooked easily the start the retrieve with a constant slow wind and a twitch of the rod every wind of the handle or two.
“The Hawk HB Splasher popper is by far one of, if not the best estuarine poppers I’ve used. I’m just getting in to whiting and bream on poppers so have tried quite a few different styles of poppers” says Ben.
“As far as consistency goes, you couldn’t go past the Hawk, it’s such an easy lure to cast and work it really makes what can be frustrating work easy and enjoyable to someone new to poppers.”
Hawk's Splasher in Clear Red Eye colour is menu item of choice for hungry winter bream, trevally and even flathead in the summer.
Splasher colour options are just like sparkling jewels in the eye of a hungry fish or an eager angler!
Jeff Vere spent the morning fishing the Maroochy River Mouth to catch a couple of nice Flathead to 70cm.
Michael with a rare catch, a Maroochy river diamond trevally caught at the Cod Hole
Simon Inns fished the Maroochy river mouth to catch these two tasty flathead to 63cm.