Dress up your bait….it can make a real difference.

Dress up your bait….it can make a real difference.

Some small changes to your bait can get you a lot more fish!!

I once thought that bait had to look real natural…if it didn’t you’d never catch any fish….

…..I now know different!

Some years ago I experimented with my bait when I was surf fishing.

In desperation, after catching no fish at all, I tied a bit of silver foil around the eye of my hook. I was blown away when about 15 minutes later I landed a 30 cm Australian salmon….that was great!

The real excitement started happening when the piece of foil slipped of the hook and moved up to a swivel on my line. I got 2 more, much bigger salmon, when this happened……

….I knew I was on to something.

Ever since then I have experimented with “dressing up my bait” with extra stuff to get it noticed by fish.

Colours make a real difference in clear water but can also work in coloured water.

Lure manufacturers understand that different colours make lures more visible in coloured water.

Light colours can make lures visible in bright sunshine while dark colours can make the lure outline (silhouette) visible in dark, coloured water…and different colours work in different conditions.

Colouring your bait or adding a bit of coloured foil, streamer or even string can make a difference.

If you boat fish, pier fish or rock wall fish and can drop your bait straight down can really benefit from this.

You can add a bit of action like a “lift and drop” method that gets your bait moving up and down. This makes the foil flash in the light and really attracts the fish….then they find your bait.

I used some silver streamer I got from a discount store to tie to my hook. I was boat fishing for elephant fish in Western Port bay and ended up with 3 good fish (6kg – 7 kg each) as well as 2 huge eagle rays. (the rays weren’t target species but they fight like crazy)

I’ve also used this, on a smaller scale, fishing for trevally off the rock wall at Apollo Bay, in south western Victoria. I cast out, about 5 metres from the rock wall and slowly jigged the bait to give it a little action. I also threw in my pellet berley close in to add a bit of smell to the water.

  I ended the session with 4 legal size fish and one big one around 45cm long…not a bad session.

The coloured foil was working so well I did a lot more experimenting.


I cut up potato chip bags and used the silver on the inside to make streamers for my hooks…

….then I found some other stuff in discount stores that made it easy to add colour.

I bought lengths of wire that were covered in shiny foil. These could be cut into short lengths and twisted onto the shank of your hook .

These worked really well in fresh water especially on cod and redfin. They add a flashy red colour to the top of your hook with your  or yabbie bait adding movement and smell to the curve of your hook.

You can also coulour your bait.

Buy some food color and dip your bait in it. I’ve done this to a range of salt water and fresh water baits. Pippie, squid, prawn, chicken, dough…even maggots and corn!

I like red colour but yellow also works-it just makes a bait look different and can get some attention from disinterested fish…

…it really works well when the bait has plenty of smell…cos your making something easier to see and easy to smell.

I was fishing the Murray river at Yarrawonga with a mate years ago and he added a few drops of red food colour to a piece of bread and molded it onto his hook.  We were fishing for the biggest carp where the loser buys the winner steak dinner at the pub…so there was a lot at “stake”!

My mate cast in and got a solid bite. When he reeled it in it was a 40cm Murray cod. What a surprise…on coloured bread!

Colour can be real good with trout in stocked lakes. You can colour some dough, corn or even worms. Then you can add a thin strip of foil to your hook, or just above it, to get a bit of flash in your terminal tackle.

You use your home made dough baits and add sparkles to them. You can mix this into your dough to add the same flash that looks like small fish scales. 

Some tackle stores sell packets of fine sparkles that can be sprinkled on lures and bait. You can use these or even the ones (fairy dust) sold at discount stores.

It’s worth looking through discount stores and party shops for all the shiny stuff they have…it’s amazing what you can find!

Flash, sparkle and  extra colour can all make your bait easier to find. If the sparkle makes the bait look like it’s alive this is even better…and if the fish find a nice piece of bait attached then your chances of a bite just got better!

Dressing up your bait is not a “silver bullet”. It won’t catch fish if there are no fish around…but sometimes dressing up your bait will get fish to bite on days when they wont touch a plain bait.

 Keep experimenting with this stuff and you might just find the next big fish “magnet”!






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