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Best Expert Bait Tips

Best Expert Bait Tips

Local fishing enthusiasts are likely very familiar with Paul Anderson and his loveable dog, Tye, who are the face of Arundel’s popular Bait Shop Gold Coast. The shop’s extensive range of bait is sourced far and wide across Australia, coming exclusively from commercial fishermen.

While many people will have their own opinions about whether live bait is better than frozen, Paul believes it is the presentation of bait that is the real key. A common mistake is covering the entire hook with bait, in the belief that fish are more likely to bite a hook they cannot see. However, it is essential to leave enough of the hook out of your bait to enable fish to bite down on it.

An ideal hook placement when using entire fish as bait is to have the hook going through a small part of their back, remembering to keep a good amount of hook presented. Two hooks are also often better than one, because it makes it harder for the fish to be stolen. For live bait, such as yabbies or worms, it is helpful to use hooks that have bait holders on them, which are tiny hooks on the shaft of the hook.

Frozen and live bait are ideal for many fish, but Paul explained that lures certainly have their place too. Lures can be very effective for flathead and marlin, and enable you to just throw and tow.

Paul’s knowledge about bait is legendary. Below, he gives us his tips on the best bait and fishing locations for a range of classic coastal catches.


Bait Tip: Pilchard

Location: These beauties can be found anywhere there are sand banks.

Tip: Incoming and outgoing tides are both ideal as the fish will be moving up on the banks, following the whiting.

Bait suggestions: live yabbies, live poddy mullet, live herring, squid, white pilchards, sand worms, prawns, anchovies and blue bait

Size restriction: QLD – minimum size is 40cm, maximum size is 75cm (only 5 in total); NSW – minimum size is 36cm (only 1 over 70cm)


Bait Tip: Frog Mouth

Location: These are found primarily in offshore reefs, throughout all of Queensland and northern NSW.

Tip: Lures are very good; trawl at various depths.
Bait suggestions: slimy mackerel, garfish, wolf herring,

sauries, bonito, pilchards, frog mouth, anchovies, blue bait.

Size restriction: QLD – minimum size of 75cm, bag limit of 3; NSW – minimum size is 75cm, bag limit of 5


Bait Tip: Mullet


Location: They are found off the coast in areas where there are structures at the bottom and currents that form an eddy to hold the bait.

Tip: Switch baiting is a popular technique.
Bait suggestions: bonito, finny scad, mullet, garfish,

queenfish, squid and pilchards
Size restriction: QLD/ NSW – limit of one of each species’


Bait Tip: Squid

Location: One of the Gold Coast’s more elusive fish, these are found around rocky headlands, entrances and canals.

Tip: Lures are effective.
Bait suggestions: pilchards, bonito, squid, prawns,

stripy tuna, blue bait, anchovies

Size restriction: QLD – no size limit, bag limit of 20; NSW – minimum size is 30cm, bag limit of 10



Bait Tip: Poddy Mullet

Location: These are normally found around rocky areas, jetties, bridges, mangroves and deep water.

Tip: Lures are more effective during the day, but live bait is better at night. Berley bombs are great for getting them to come out. (For those who are not familiar, berley is any bait, such as chopped fish, broken bread, chopped green weed mixed with sand, that is spread on the water by fishermen to attract fish.)

Bait suggestions: live poddy mullet, live herring, chicken breast, freshwater eels, mullet fillets, pilchards, slimy mackerel, yakka, garfish, silver biddies, prawns, anchovies

Size restriction: QLD – minimum size is 35cm, bag limit of 5; NSW – no size limit, bag limit of 5


Bait Tip: Blood Worm

Location: They are found around sand banks, on the Nerang River around the council chambers, and around jumpinpin.

Tip: Incoming tide is better. Try using surface poppers (lures that splash as you pull them in).

Bait suggestions: live yabbies, live blood worms, sand worms, prawns, pipi

Size restriction: QLD – minimum size of 23cm, no more than 30; NSW – minimum size is 27cm, no more than 20


Bait Tip: Bonito

Location: They can be found outside of the seaway, about 1.5 hours out.

Tip: cut your bait into little bits, and throw them out to start attracting the fish. Using live bait and trawling with lures are both effective.

Bait suggestions: pilchards (trap bait & cube forms), bonito, garfish.

Size restriction: QLD and NSW – 7 in total (only 5 under 90cm, and only 2 over 90cm).


Bait Tip: Fish Carcasses

Location: These crabs are found around mangroves, along the main channels, and up the Nerang River. Look for them in soft muddy bottoms at the low tide.

Tip: Best tactic is to use traps or dillies with a fish head as bait. Bait suggestions: chicken and fish carcasses, slimy

mackerel, bonito, mullet

Size restriction: QLD – minimum size is 15cm, with 10 in total; NSW – minimum size is 8.5cm, with 5 in total

Bait Tip: Garden Worms

Location: They are found in most rivers and dams. This pest fish came from Africa and was introduced as an aquarium fish, but has now become pest. Any you catch must be killed and binned.

Tip: Catching these is a cheap day of fun. With $10 of bait, you will catch a lot.

Bait suggestions: garden worms, bread, chicken Size restriction: QLD and NSW – no limit

Bait Tip: Yakka

Location: They are found in holes and around drop- offs, and common at the Seaway and breakwalls of northern NSW.

Tip: Live bait is best.

Bait suggestions: whiting, yakka, slimy mackerel, squid, sand worms, prawns

Size restriction: QLD – minimum size is 75cm, with a 2 bag limit; NSW – minimum size is 70cm, with a 2 bag limit


Bait Tip: Slimy Mackerel

Location: Look for them in shallow bays and estuaries, especially among areas with seaweed.

Tip: These crabs love oily fish bait.

Bait suggestions: bonito, mullet, pilchards, slimy mackerel

Size restriction: QLD – minimum size is 11.5cm, with no total limit; NSW – minimum size is 6cm, with 20 in total

Bait Tip: Fresh Water Eel

Location: They are in the canals (all the way up to freshwater) and in the Broadwater.

Tip: The ideal rig is a 15-pound line and a six-foot rod. Use a small fillet of eel, defrost it, cut it into chunks about 2 inches; keep a lot of hook exposed.

Bait suggestions: freshwater eel, stingrays, mullet, bonito, slimy mackerel

Size restriction: QLD – only one (must be under 1.5m); NSW – no limit.


By Narayan Pattison





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