On the east coast of Australia, there is bait that seems to outshine many others in terms of availability and attractiveness to fish, and that is the saltwater yabby, or nipper. In the estuaries, they are a premier bait, however they can also be successful in the freshwater. What’s more, they can be soaked in methylated spirits, frozen, and then kept for months. What’s not to love?
In Queensland and NSW, bait pumps are the favoured method of collecting yabbies, and while you can get away with just a bait pump and a bucket, a few extra accessories can make your yabby collecting more efficient and maximise your fishing time.
The Wilson Bait Pump 30in S/S is a great ergonomic pump that will suck up yabbies sitting up to 2 feet down. You can also buy replacement washers, and the Wilson Bait Pump Washers and Ocean Stream Bait Pump Washer are both inexpensive and will save you when the washers in your pump wear out. There’s no need to buy a whole new pump!
Another handy piece of kit is a bait sieve. Pumped yabbies can be sprayed onto the sieve, which will allow the sand and mud to fall through and expose the yabby, which can then be collected. Some even go a step further, and add floating foam around the edges of the sieve so it floats, and they can then pump yabbies in the water.
Finding areas that harbour yabbies fairly simple, and any mud or sand bank with noticeable yabby holes dotted over it is a good place to start looking. Low tide also makes finding these areas easier, so try to time your bait collection with a low tide.
There are many ways to keep your yabbies, but if you need to keep them for more than a day, then aerated saltwater should keep them alive for a few days. Otherwise, non-aerated saltwater should see them kicking for at least a few hours.
Make sure to adhere to local regulations, as there are areas where bait pumping is not allowed, and make sure you only take what you need so there’s plenty for next time.
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