This is a fantastic bait to use whenever you are battling for a fish. Loads of smell gets released from the blood in the stomach of the sardine and fatty oil in the liver. Combined with the protein oils contained in the squid, this makes it irresistible to most fish, writes Dean Dickinson.
I often use the sardine teaser when targeting sandys in competition angling, or blue rays. It is also a very effective bait for kob, shad and steenbrass in the surf. I tend to use a longer sinker drop, keeping the bait up in the water, when targeting kob and shad, and a shorter hook trace when targeting flat fish.
The piece of foam cottoned onto the hook keeps the bait in place, and floats the bait, giving it a natural appearance in the water. The long tentacles create a lifelike action when floating in the current. The oil and blood released from this bait travel for a long distance in the current, and attract fish from miles around.
Start with a fresh sardine and some good-quality squid; the fresher your bait, the more chance you have of out-fishing the anglers next to you. I prefer to cut the sardine for this bait when it is still slightly frozen. This has two advantages: it keeps the stomach contents together and makes it easy to cotton into a neat little bait. In addition, the bait releases the oil and blood slowly into the water as it defrosts, giving the fish a better chance of finding the bait before all of the blood disperses in the water.
Cotton some foam onto a 4/0 or 5/0 Mustard Soi hook, then split the squid using a sharp bait knife. Cut three thin strips of squid for the teasers.
Lightly smash the teasers using a chokka hammer. Place one of the strips onto the foam to use as a base, and cotton it on using Kingfisher latex cotton. Using a sharp bait knife, remove the stomach cavaty of the sardine.
Remove the intestinal contents and cotton them around the foam and shank of the hook, keeping the gap of the hook well-exposed. The more proud the hook, the better the chance of hooking a fish when it takes the bait.
Place the last two teasers either side of the stomach bait and cotton them on with the Kingfisher latex cotton.
The combination of chokka and sardine works really well. The blood, oil and red colour of the sardine contrasts but compliments the acid, white subtle smell of the chokka. The soft, mushy sardine often calls the smaller fish that create a chum line leaving the tougher more resilient chokka for the bigger fish to eat. If the smaller fish are a problem don’t beat your chokka. Add sardine gills and squeeze the oils and blood out of unused heads onto your bait to maximize the smell.