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Best burley


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I fish a lot midweek early morning in the harbour when the boat traffic and other fisherman are minimal.

What I often see in these conditions are fish coming right up in the burley trail into clear view. So I throw different baits at them and watch. (nice to have time to just sit and watch eh?) It doesn't matter whether they are yakkas, bream or kingfish they all respond much better when I burley with the same bait as I am fishing with.

I think fish are pretty dumb, or at least very much driven by instinct and single mindedness. Burleying gets them focused on a smell/taste that they associate with food. They eat some burley and then start to look for that smell/taste as their main (sometimes only) food target often ignoring anything else that you put in front of them.

Sometimes it is size,shape and movement that they look for. Just think about how many times we throw lures at a salmon schools monstering bait schools on the surface and they just ignore it because we are throwing lures that don't match the baitfish size or colour. It's the "match the hatch" principal that trout fisherman talk about.We swap lures, hook up and when the fish is in the boatand , lo and behold, they regurgitate some baitfish that look like our lure!

If I am using pilchards as bait I would dip the pilchard bait in some tuna oil if I intended to burley with a mixture pilchards and tuna oil otherwise I would just burley with pilchards. Personally. I would do with out the tuna oil if I was fishing with pilchards.

For me, it’s not so much a question of what to burley with because most concoctions will attract fish, its more about what to burley with that will make the fish commit unreservedly to taking the bait. If a fish ate half a dozen smaller pieces of pilchard and that went down ok its likely to snaffle a whole pilchard without hesitation but if your bait was squid, it might ignore it or at least not take the bait so enthusiastically.

Of course, if the fish are hungry enough nothing will stop them but most times we want to increase the strike rate when the fish are not feeding so agressively ... and that’s my strategy.

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I'd have to agree with Fragmeister.

Mix whatever bait you're using with the burley. I like pillies, personally, as you then then either crush pillies into the burley (soaked chook pellets, bread and sand is good) and / or add a little tuna oil. Same goes for mackerel or any other oily fish. If using prawns, be a bit more circumspect with the oil.

Dipping lures into the burley is a good practice. You don't need prepared fish attractants with a nice burley mix. It's all there in the burley bucket. Speaking of which, a good cheap burley bucket can be made from a wet wipes container. Just cut the cap off at the top, attach a line through a hole in the side, and drop it in, giving it a jiggle occasionally.

Edited by GreyNurse
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Does burley help much with time of day say when they might be more off the bite, or just bringing them in if they are about?

Have never really burleyed much, but maybe that explains my results :)

Burleying always helps.

Just make sure you use a little at a time and use it often.

Some fishos make the mistake of burleying for a while and then moving somewhere else.

You have to give it some time particularly if the fishings a bit slow.


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