C.Y.O. BAIT … Catch Ya Own


Ah the Memories

I can still remember the look on the tackle store owner some 25 years on, when we asked him for 25 packets of frozen prawns. It was a look of bewilderment, “why on earth would you want 25 packets of frozen prawns?”. He never asked that question but it was written across his forehead, along with a couple of dollar signs. We knew when we were walking out of that shop that he thought we were crazy, but we knew what we were doing. It was February. There was a new moon in 3 days time, so the fishing should be good. This was our third trip to our favourite estuary, and we knew prawn was a gun bait. What else did we need to know. We had a great trip. We fished all day, every day and caught some nice fish, although it was a little slow.

“What do you mean you can catch your own?”

COLLECTING LIVE BAIT 1 copyFast forward 12months and we were back, but just before we went and spent up big on frozen prawns, we spoke to a local that told us the when’s, where’s and why’s of catching our own fresh live prawns. It’s not that we didn’t know they were in there, but being pre Google days, information was not as easy to access, and perhaps we filed the thought to Get Our Own in the ‘too hard basket’. That conversation changed our fishing success in a huge way. That night we went out armed with a simple prawn net and a dolphin torch ( the only lighting we had quick access to) and scored ourself a couple of kg’s of the best bait on earth.

Tripled Success

When using the frozen prawns it wasn’t unusual to cast it out and 30 minutes later, find it hadn’t been touched, or perhaps it had been picked off by tiddlers. But try casting a freshly caught local prawn. One that last night was swimming around in this very water………..if it lasted more than a minute or 2, you would be questioning your location. These prawns were dynamite. The only down side is they were so good, you would run out in no time. Not to mention the fact you just wanted to eat them yourself.

Lesson Learned

10499428_1457617947829586_41064580842186517_oThat simple lesson would spill over into all facets of our bait fishing. No matter where we would fish we needed to work out a way to C.Y.O. The added success  was huge, not to mention that bait collecting in itself is half the fun and adds to the whole fishing experience. Besides Prawns some other critters you can get amongst, are
  • Sand Worm
  • Beach worm
  • Crabs
  • Baitfish (mullet herring etc)
  • Nippers /bass yabbies
  • Freshwater Shrimp.
  • Pippies
  • Mussels
  • Squid
  • Cherabin
  • And the list goes on.
In this week’s video on Kaydo TV we look at 3 of these. Bass yabbies or nippers,  mullet and freshwater shrimp. So here are a few simple tips.

Poddy Mullet

The key to successfully and consistently catching mullet is a good trap. Clarity is the key, and it’s why we use a 100% clear acrylic Perspex bait trap. Just place your trap in the area you see mullet,  on the sand about 200mm under the water. Add to you trap a handful of bread crumbs and some bread pieces if desired and leave the trap. Mullet seem to know if your watching and will be spooky, so resist the urge to watch and move right away. The key here is the first mullet. It may only take a minute for that first mullet to go in, but sometimes it may take 10. But once that first fish is in the trap…….its on. The rest of the school will go into a frenzy and one after the other enter the trap. So resist the urge to get that one or two out……leave them in and they will attract more. When you do empty the trap and add some more crumb, leave 1 mullet in as this will speed your collection process.

Bass Yabbies

10974335_1546624718928908_1511221677937263671_oAll you need is a simple stainless steel bait pump. These can be found at any good tackle store. Simply walk out onto the flats at mid to low tide. When  you see the thousands of holes in the sand or mud. Start pumping. Plunge the bait pump above one of these holes and at the same time pull back on the plunger, filling the bait pump. Discard the contents onto the sand and search through it to find your prized bait. It’s as simple as that. Sand worm can be collected in the exact same way. Even at times in the same location. Always remember to wash out your bait pump in freshwater after use and release the pressure on the rubber washer at the bottom end. This will ensure its good to go next time.

Freshwater Shrimp

An absolute favourite for our natives. All that’s needed is a fine mesh expandable bait trap. You can purchase one of these at any tackle store for around $10-15. The best bait we have found to attract shrimp is the humble catfood. The stink will attract them from a large area. Place the trap well underwater near some good timber structure or in amongst the reeds. Both these locations hold shrimp. Leave the trap for an hour or so before checking and you should have yourself one of the best baits to have a great day on the natives. Take out what shrimp you have, add a bit more stink in the way of catfood and repeat……simple as that.


Remember there are bag and possession limits for almost all types of bait collection as well as bans on collecting some species like crustaceans in some areas. Keep within the laws, get out there and C.Y.O.

Enhance your fishing experience. Get the kids involved and mostly,  improve your results by using fresh locally caught bait. You’ll never go back.

Troy Eaton & Scott Wakefield

About Troy Eaton & Scott Wakefield

We have been keen fisherman since our early childhood and have spent fishing experiences together in learning and experiencing all facets of fishing in the Victorian region. In our early years we weren't afraid to ask questions and were really keen to achieve the best results we could with our fishing.


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