Berleying for Better Rewards

Do you or don’t you? Berley that is! Jarrod Day does and he believes that it can make the difference between a good day and a great day.


In the mindset of some anglers, using berley can be like tossing a handful of money out into the water while to others, it is the difference between catching fish or going home empty handed.

Berley methods can differ greatly and so can the ingredients used for the different species being targeted. When you break it down, there are no disadvantages behind using berley in fact, adding something extra into the water to aid in attracting fish to the area being fished can only be a good thing.

Gone are the days of hoping to catch a fish, rather you should be expecting to catch one, well that is if you’re using berley anyway.

Boat Based Methods

There are many different berleying methods to use when fishing from a boat, however, each method can vary greatly from one another.

Berleying methods heavily revolve around the species of fish being targeted and from a boat, there are three main methods used.


Berley Bucket

Most boats are factory fitted with some type of berley bucket mounted to the transom. Ideally, these types of buckets tend to be used when targeting snapper, sharks or even mackerel if you want to get a consistent light berley trail established.

A berley bucket that’s attached to the boat can be filled with pilchards (mullies) or any other fish offal that can be punched through the bucket with a masher to create a fine trail of fishy smell. This is quite a cheap and an effective berleying method for pelagic’s that swim higher in the water column. In saying that, when targeting species such as mackerel while anchored up over a reef system, the flow of berley will travel with the current attracting a wide range of species.

Once the trail is established, fishing weighted baits or unweighted baits into the berley trail will yield a good success rate.

Cage Berleying

Another extremely effective berleying method for when fishing from a boat is with the use of a berley cage. These come in many forms such as stainless steel, wire and plastic. Other styles may exist, but when it comes to berleying from the seafloor, these three styles of cage are at the top of the list.

Using a cage allows anglers to cover a broader array of species purely due to the fact that they can accommodate a wider variety of different types of berley.


For instance, a stainless steel weighted cage can be filled with mashed pilchards to attract King George whiting and or snapper. You can also cut section of onion bag and place it into and around the inside of the cage to reduce the hole size allowing you to fill it with bread, bran, pollard or pellets. The onion bag’s smaller holes will let smaller particles flow though it at a more steady rate, ideal for when targeting mullet, bream, whiting etc.

This in turn will allow the berley trail to continue on for a longer period of time without over filling the fish, allowing them to locate your bait in the trail.

Another berley cage is known as a Secret Weapon. The Secret Weapon is tubular in design and once it hits the seafloor opens up releasing the berley. This is ideal in locations where there is little current so you can get it to the bottom. This cage requires it to be dropped multiple times to get enough berley to the area. Secret Weapons are extremely effective and can be filled with pellets, tuna oil and fish offal.


Cube berleying is extremely effective on a variety of species including tuna, mackerel and snapper in some parts of the country. Cube berleying is one of the simplest methods and still one of the more effective providing the trail is kept at a constant flow.

Though you can make cube berleying as complicated as you’d like, tossing out good handfuls of cut pilchards at equal intervals is as complex as it needs to be.

When cubing, there are two main methods used to catch the fish that have been attracted. Firstly is to cast out a selection of unweighted baits and leave them to slowly sink towards the sea floor or to put a hook into one of the cubes and send that down the trail with the rest of the cubes.

Either way, both are exciting fishing methods and are very effective. The only time this berleying method falls over is if you break the trail by forgetting to toss in more cubes. Although the fish might swim off, a few more handfuls will bring them back around soon enough.


Pier Berleying Methods

Fishing from a pier is a popular affair right around the country. While there are hundreds of different species that can be caught, fishing from a pier can be challenging to catch anything due to increased fishing pressure. Berleying from a pier or jetty works exceptionally well, especially if the water in the area is quite tidal. If it is, your berley will carry over a further distance meaning it will attract more fish.

A berley cage can be used and sent to the sea floor next to one of the pylons. The force of the current will carry the berley away from the pier and attract fish; however the berley will get eaten by a lot of unwanted species too but if you just want to catch fish, then this is effective.

Another berleying method is to use an onion bag. Due to the smaller holes, smaller berley’s can be used such as pollard if fishing for garfish or pellets if fishing for flathead, whiting, trevalla or salmon. Once the bag is filled with the berley it can be lowered to the surface of the water and tied off into the pier. The waves and current will then carry the berley for quite some distance.

Beach/Rock Berleying Methods

Berleying from the beach and rocks can be trying mainly due to the constant wave action. Very few angler fishing a beach for salmon and the like use berley but when your fishing a stretch of beach that’s possibly 20km’s in length, a school of fish is unlikely to find your one piece of bait.


Berley works extremely well for beach fisho’s and is a simple matter of once again, using an onion bag or fish keeper bag. The hardest part of berleying from the beach is ensuring that the bag is secured so it doesn’t wash off or away with the force of the waves. When using an onion bag from the beach or the rocks, always ensure you have a long enough rope. A 10m length of 5mm rope will be suitable and if on the beach, secure it to a rod holder or tree branch that is forced deep into the sand. From the rocks, wither tie it around some of the larger rocks and or wedge the rope into crevices so it wont wash away.

Another effective berleying method is to walk up and down the beach sprinkling broken up bits of pilchard or other smaller baitfish along with bread soaked in tuna oil. Providing you drop this along the wave line, each wave will take a bit of berley back into the water as it recedes. The only problem with this method is that the local sea birds are quite prone to eat your berley too!

While there are many different ways to berley the above are just some of the more practiced and proven methods for fishing right around the country.


Regardless of where you’re fishing or what your fishing for, the next time your planning to hit the water, take along some berley, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.



  • Wilson Berley Pellets with aniseed
  • Wilson Tuna oil
  • 1ltr of water
  • 1 bucket.

Blend all ingredients together in the bucket and leave over night. Next morning, poor mix into onion bag ready for use.

Jarrod Day

About Jarrod Day

As a young boy, fishing from the Portsea and Sorrento piers along the Mornington Peninsula coastline was a regular occurrence during the school holidays. My love for fishing grew and many years later now find it much more than a hobby, but a lifestyle. My website has been developed with fishing and photography in mind. Take a look around, I hope you enjoy it.

Previous Bumper year for WA salmon
Next Worlds Largest Fishing Tackle Store

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