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Sardine is one of the most commonly used baits along the South African coast. Not many fish will pass up a fresh bloody sardine bait, especially the sharks and rays that occur along the South African coastline.

I frequently use this bait when fishing for blue rays and sandies in the Eastern Cape and often burgle a kob when using it, or even the odd white-and-black musselcracker when using it in the rocks.

This is a good bait to use when fishing in a crowd of anglers and yours is one of many types of bait in the water. The blood and oil released into the water from this bait make it impossible for a fish to resist, especially blue rays, and the combination of squid guts and sardine blood is enough to drive any fish into a feeding frenzy. This type of bait also works especially well in a shad run, or will get them running because of all the smell it releases into the water when your sinker lands. 

Step 1



Start by cutting the tail section off – this will be used for the base of your bait on the hook.

Step 2



Remove the head and split the belly open.

Using a squid hammer to smash the stomach contents into the flesh – this releases all the blood and gives your bait maximum smell when it hits the water.

Step 3




Remove the tail fin and split the tail open to form the base of your bait.

Cotton the tail section on, leaving your hook as proud as you can.

Wrap the smashed belly around the tail section and cotton it on.


Step 5


Step 6



The next step is to remove the squid guts and wrap those around the sardine belly.

Smash the guts to release even more smell and cotton it on

Cut two strips of squid for teasers to cotton onto the sides of the bait


Choosing your sardines



Always turn your sardines over in the shop to see if there is any blood frozen under the block of bait. This will indicate that the bait has defrosted and will not be good for use.


Always make sure the sardines you buy are firm with a deep blue sheen and no yellow flecks on the skin. This will also indicate old bait if the sardines are yellow in colour.