Thursday, 8 March 2007

Bait; sandeel, squid & ragworm.

Frozen sandeel.

Sandeel is a good standby bait, they come in various sizes. The AMMO packs are colour coded, blue being the larger size and green the tiddlers. The sandeel can be fished whole for fish such as rays or bass or can be filleted with a sharp knife to give a smaller bait for other species. A ragworm bait tipped off with a small piece of sandeel is a favourite for black bream and will take most small species. "Spinning" from rocky marks with a whole sandeel on a metre long trace following a small ball weight can be very effective for pollack, bass and large wrasse.

Mini squid, or party size as some call them.

Frozen squid is a good, cheap, all-round bait, find it in the freezer section in your tackle shop and in some supermarkets. It can be stored for months in a freezer and is a good standby bait. Squid come in various sizes, the mini squid as illustrated, the calamari which is twice the size,and, more rarely, the native squid which can be up to a metre long including tentacles. The squid can be used whole, depending on size of squid and size of species targetted, or sliced into strips. Whole squid, or multiple squid baits are good for cod and conger eels.

Ragworm, usual size and kingrag

A single kingrag, they come bigger than this !

Ragworm is probably the best all around bait, it is fairly readily obtained from tackle shops.(from £10 to £14 per pound in weight, some shops sell by number rather than weight.) It is farmed for the angling market. Other worms are dug by hardworking baitdiggers who are out at all times to suit the tide and in all weathers. Some worms are dredged by netters working in places like Poole Harbour. Ragworm take many beginners by surprise; the head of the ragworm contains a pair of sharp pincers, like an earwig's pincers, and they can give you a nip if you are not careful. Hook the worm in the head first and thread the worm onto the hook. If the worms are tiny, head hook a bunch of them, the wrigly tails attract inquisitive fish. Large worms are best cut into small sections if small fish are being targetted with small hooks. Ragworm are supplied wrapped in newspaper, keep them dry. If you have any left over from a trip they can be kept for days in a fridge as long as dead worms are removed and they are wrapped in new dry paper.
All bait should be kept cool, use a cool box and some cool blocks, the little boxes that hold six cans are ideal. Squid and fishbaits can be refrozen and reused if they have been kept cool. A large cool box in the summer ensures that your bait is cool, anything you catch and keep will stay cool and your drinks will stay cool. A good tip is to freeze plastic drinks bottles full of squash or juice and use these instead of the 'dead weight' of cool blocks, less weight to carry back too.
Do not leave the old newspaper on the beach. Take it home along with sandeel packets, tackle packets and food wrappings. Lots of people leave litter on the beach but bait wrappers and bags with the name of the local tackle shop on them are a dead giveaway that anglers are to blame, we will then be blamed for all the stuff others leave behind.

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