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Baits to impress your mates - Whole Pilchard

By Jeff StrangNZ Fishing World
Baits to impress your mates  - Whole Pilchard

Equipment

  • 1 x whole pilchard – recently defrosted
  • 2 x hooks – sized to match the width of the pilchard (6/0 usually a good choice)
  • 4 to 6 foot trace – author’s preference is 60-lb supple trace. Lighter fluorocarbon trace is an option
  • Sinkers - sized to match the fishing circumstances
  • Scissors or clippers to trim trace

Application: Straylining with various weights, running sinker rig, bottom fishing.

Tail First

Instructions

1. Prepare a standard 2-hook trace. The author prefers to fix both hooks in place. The first hook is attached with a uni-knot while the second is snelled to the trace.

2. Place the point of the first hook on the lateral line of the pilchard, about one centimetre behind the head. Push the hook firmly through the spine line of the pilchard until the hook point and barb are clear on the other side. Rotate the hook to sit neatly against the bait.

Wrap the trace a couple of times around the pilchard and repeat the process with the second hook, this time from the opposite side and about 2/3rds of the way towards the tail.

3. Secure with a pair half hitches snugly around the tail of the pilchard. This is to allow for correct presentation and to help keep the bait together when it is under attack by the peckers.

4. Load the trace with the appropriate sinker for the application (it may not require a sinker at all), tie to the mainline and get fishing.

Note

This is my go-to snapper bait. It is extremely versatile, drifts naturally in the current, and catches plenty of fish.

Head first

Application: Straylining with various weights, running sinker rig, bottom fishing, cast-and-retrieve situations similar to a stickbait.

1. Before picking up the bait prepare a standard 2-hook trace as pictured. It is essential both hooks be fixed, as the bait cannot be correctly prepared with swinging keeper hook. The first hook is attached with a uni-knot while the second is snelled to the trace.

2 & 3. Place the point of the first hook on the lateral line of the pilchard, about three centimetres in front of the tail. Push the hook firmly through the spine line of the pilchard until the hook point and barb are clear on the other side. Rotate the hook to sit neatly against the bait with the eye of the hook at the head end of the bait.

The second snelled hook needs to be pushed through the bottom jaw of the pilchard vertically all the way up through the pilchard’s head. The ideal line is to have the hook pass almost touching the front of the pilchard’s eye socket, as pictured.

4. Load the trace for the appropriate sinker for the application (it may not require a sinker at all), tie to the mainline.

Note

This rig fishes well in all conventional applications and is particularly well suited as a quick and deadly cast-and-retrieve bait targeting kingfish around structures like channel markers and buoys.

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