Choosing the Perfect Bait!
New Zealand's a special place and has some world class fisheries due to its diverse and remote waters. Loads of different fish species call it home. So, whether you're throwing a line from the shore or out on a boat in the open sea, getting the right bait is key for a successful and enjoyable fishing trip. Burnsco have a fantastic range of bait available in their 17 stores across NZ, this will differ from store to store depending on location. Rest assured; they have the right bait to suit your target species wherever you are heading.
Know Your Fishing Grounds
One of the first considerations when choosing bait for your trip is understanding the species prevalent in the area. Given the vast range of fish found in these waters, including snapper, kingfish, and blue cod, tailoring your bait selection to your target catch is important.
Boat vs. Land Based Fishing
The type of fishing you're undertaking, be it from a boat or the land, can also influence your bait choice. Boat fishing allows for a broader selection, considering the ease of transportation and storage. For boat adventures, popular bait options include pilchards, squid, bonito, jack and blue/english/slimy mackerel and bullet tuna. Due to storage capabilities, usually you can take larger quantities so, consider taking more than what you think you might need. There is nothing worse than sitting for a few hours wading through the small fish, then as the bigger ones come on the bite you are left with no bait!
Land based anglers face a separate set of challenges, such as transport limitations and the need for bait that stays on the hook. In such cases, choices like pilchards or anchovies (combined with bait cotton) and squid often prove effective, the latter providing durability and the former providing attractiveness. Due to the smaller nature of these baits, you can take more of them with you on your fishing mission.
The Bait Arsenal:
These small, oily fish are a staple in New Zealand bait boxes. Their strong scent and versatility make them effective for a range of species. For boat anglers, pilchards are a reliable choice, and land-based fishos appreciate their size and numerous quantities per packet. Usually sold in 1kg, 2kg or 5kg bags, these are available in most Burnsco stores around New Zealand. Perfect for targeting snapper, kahawai, and trevally.
Squid is a go to bait for its universal appeal, literally everything in the ocean eats squid. It’s soft but durable texture and enticing scent make it an irresistible choice for various species, including snapper, kahawai, trevally, kingfish, blue cod, and terakihi. Whether you are on a boat or casting from the rocks, squid is a dependable option. Usually available in 1kg and 2kg bags.
3. Bonito and Mullet:
For those wanting to use bigger baits or have the facility to store larger baits, then bonito and mullet are great options. Due to the sizes of them, you can cut these baits much larger than that of a pilchard, as such being able to target the larger fish that may be in the area. You can also cut it into smaller baits while targeting terakihi on small flasher rigs. Usually available in medium sized for bonito or twin bags for mullet these work well for snapper, terakihi, blue cod, kahawai, or kingfish.
Additional options include Salted Baits – this adds additional durability to the bait while also reducing the smell and need for freezing. Great option for people travelling and not in a fixed location with large freezer capacity.
4. Bullet Tuna and Jack Mackerel:
Bullet tuna, a smaller cousin to larger tuna species, and jack mackerel are super effective baits. Their compact but deeper size is ideal for targeting a variety of fish, and their natural oils give off great scent. A supreme option for stray lining as a whole bait either intact or butterflied to target big snapper. Alternatively, cube them and attach to your hooks as smaller cut baits for ledger/flasher rig fishing, usually supplied in 2kg bags they are a favourite choice for many anglers.
Berley: Enhancing Your Odds
Berley, or chum, plays a crucial role in attracting and keeping fish in your vicinity. In New Zealand, 1.5 or 3kg shellfish or pilchard/bonito berley are popular choices. Depending on your target species, experimenting with different berley types and quantities can significantly improve your chances of a successful catch. If you are going to be fishing in a location for a longer period, make sure you have sufficient berley to last. If in doubt, get more!
Keeping It Fresh: Salt Ice is Key
To ensure your catch stays in prime condition, invest in a chilly bin/bag and some salt ice. A couple of 5kg bags will keep your fish chilled during the trip, preserving their quality and taste.
Where possible, put the fish you catch into a slurry first to chill them faster.
Choosing the right bait is an art that combines knowledge of the local waters, target species, and fishing method. Whether you are on a boat or casting from the shore in New Zealand, understanding the preferences of your prey and having a well-rounded bait selection ensures a memorable and rewarding fishing experience. If you are ever in doubt, pop in to one of the 17 Burnsco stores nationwide and ask one of their friendly team. They have a broad selection of bait options which will vary depending on store location. They will be able to point you in the right direction of what and how to target each species and you never know, they might give you a spot or 2 to try as well!