Bait Review May
Mackerel are very oily and very bloody; combined with fresh sardine, they make the ideal raggie magnet.
Raggie fishing has become one of the main ways to win nationals over the past few years. Due to the size of these fish,
it is difficult to catch up once one of the sides has landed a few big fish. The focus of national tournaments is to land a few big raggies and the team that manages to land the bigger fish normally runs away with the tournament.
After getting back from the Zululand nationals, we took a tour of Ushaka and I watched the feeding of the sharks and noticed that the raggies didn’t even turn their heads to any small food. Bearing this in mind, I decided that the following year I would fish the biggest bait I could possibly throw. My catch rate on raggies improved tenfold, proving that these fish prefer big food. If fish are going eat something, it must be worth their while chasing it, something I remember hearing on a bass channel. Fish are cold-blooded and can’t waste energy chasing small food. This raggie bomb is packed with oil and loads of blood from the sardine guts and attracts the fish onto your bait better than most in a smash.
The oil slick drifts for hundreds of metres within a few minutes and anything swimming through the slick swims right up to your bait – and then the fun starts.
Fillet the mackerel and remove the backbone. Then cut a piece of high-density foam into a triangle and push it into the mouth. Cut two more slices of foam and place them under the flaps.
Using ghost cotton, tie the flaps of the mackerel sides around the foam. The foam will float the bait and help you get a quicker bite. It also keeps the bait in mid water and reduces the chances of the shark swimming into your leader and biting you off.
Split three fresh sardines and, one by one, cotton them on around the mackerel head. Place the top hook towards the back of the bait and push a toothpick into the eye of the hook to keep it from folding back into the bait.
Using a pair of bait scissors, trim the toothpick. Take a small cable tie and strap it in front of the mackerel’s nose to keep the hook in place. This will keep the hook standing proud and also prevent it from slipping out of the bait.
When fishing for sharks with big bait, always make sure your hooks are standing proud outside the bait – this will ensure that you don’t miss the fish when it picks up the bait. Get as much blood on the bait by adding sardine bellies onto it.