Catching live baits offshore

Catching live baits offshore

Whether you’re chasing tasty reef fish, toothy pelagics or trolling for marlin, many offshore trips begin with the obligatory trip to the ‘bait grounds’, wherever they may be in your local area. Bait species such as cowenyoung, slimy mackerel, yakkas and scad are highly sought-after, and are often converted into fish many hundreds of times their size.

Catching these baitfish isn’t too difficult, but the whole process will be much more efficient if you kit yourself up properly, and in turn leave more time to fish for the bigger animals!

Firstly, if you’re not familiar with any bait grounds in your area, a quick look on the internet should reveal it in no time. Offshore anglers aren’t usually too cagey when it comes to bait grounds, and they should be well-known. With this in mind, once there, it helps to have a good sounder for identifying ‘shows’ of baitfish.

Once you get parked over a good show, deploying bait jigs on a spin rod, one that isn’t too light, but not too heavy either, should see you filling your tank in no time. Make sure your bait jigs are down where the shows are.

The Torpedo Sabiki Bait Jig, Wilson Bait Rigs, Wasabi Bait Rig Catcher and Oceanstream Sabiki Bait Rigs are all tested and proven on offshore bait species, and should see you pulling baits up 2-3 at a time!

If your boat doesn’t have a live bait tank, you can fill an esky or large bucket with ocean water and keep it aerated with an aerator. Luckily for you, these devices are now relatively cheap, and many don’t need to be connected to a battery. Rapala Aerator, Rapala Floating Aerator and Oceanstream Aerator are affordable and should last many trips off shore if cleaned and looked after.

Catching livies for a trip offshore is an underappreciated skill, and without it a lot of great memories wouldn’t be made. Take the time to make sure your bait catching gear is in order next time you go out, and stock up if need be!


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