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Bread, is it worth using it for berley when fishing off the rocks?

'The author with part of his catch'    Gary Brown    Click Here to view large photo

Back in January 2013, I put together a part one and two on Berley Techniques and stated that to my way of thinking that anglers who don’t berley when they are bait fishing are mad. Since then I have had a few emails from other anglers who state that they hardly use any berley at all and still catch fish. This is most probably correct, but I still stand by what I stated back then.

The trick to successful berleying is to have the correct combination of ingredients, consistency of the flow and timing and to my way of thinking those anglers who don’t use berley are mad, as it would have to be the most effective way of attracting the fish to you. But when using berley, no matter what the combination is, you need to use it as a technique of getting the fish to you, while at the same time not feeding so that they fill up on your berley. The main thing that you have got to remember is that the largest object that is floating down that berley trail is your bait with a hook in it.

In those two articles I went through the following:

1. Does the berley take the fish away from where you are fishing?
2. Are you just feeding the fish so much that they will not want to eat what you have on offer?
3. When should I berley or when should I not berley?
4. How often should I berley?
5. Is it a waste of time and effort?
6. What types of berley should I use for each fish species?
7. Do I have to berley differently from a boat than to when I am fishing from the shore?
6. What types of berley should I use for each fish species?
7. Do I have to berley differently from a boat than to when I am fishing from the shore?
8. Berleying from the beach.
9. Berleying from the rocks.

You don’t have to take in too much gear to fish off the rocks -  Gary Brown   Click Here to view large photo

A few weeks ago I organized a session off the rocks in the Royal National Park in Southern Sydney with a couple of friends of mine, Scotty Lyons (tour guide) from Southern Sydney Fishing Tours and Paul (Co-owner and Chief) from Fratelli Del Mare at Cronulla who are also the stars of the great TV show the Hook and the Cook.

Now I would like to set the scene before I get into why using bread as a berley off the rocks is great.

Scott had suggested that we go to a spot in the Royal National Park that few other anglers would take the trek into as they would have to walk a fair way to get in there and as it is not a very popular spot not many anglers would know of it. We parked our cars and began the very long walk in. After about 15 minutes Scotty spotted an opening and decided that this is where we were to go in. Little did Paul and I know that Scotty hadn’t been in here for at least 15 years and when I had last walked in here it was from another direction.

After about thirty minutes of winding our way through what Scott kept telling us was just an overgrown track we finally managed to find our way onto the rocks, only to find that the real track was about 200 metres to the south.

Scotty with a nice drummer that came in after being attracted to the bread -  Gary Brown   Click Here to view large photo

Over the years I have found that every fish that I have targeted off the rocks has responded to a steady stream of bread in the berley trail. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it is bream, trevally, tailor, Australian salmon, drummer, luderick, groper, sweep, whiting, flathead, snapper, bonito, garfish, yellowtail, mullet and many more the list just goes on. They all love bread. Maybe it is the ingredients that are used in making bread; flour, salt, sugar, margarine and yeast.

Scotty deploying the first ball of berley. Check out how flat the sea was -  Gary Brown   Click Here to view large photo

It doesn’t matter whether you are fishing in a wash, gutter, a wash away, off sloping rocks or a flat platform, there needs to be some kind of water movement when using bread for berley otherwise it will either sink to the bottom and do nothing or it will float on top of the water and all it will attract is seagulls. Now this movement can come in a number of forms: the tide, the wave action and the wind.

When using bread for berley you will need to make sure that you only add enough water to the mix so that the mixture is not too sloppy that it runs through your fingers and not too hard and solid that when you throw it out it just doesn’t sink to the bottom. I have found the best consistency to have is that some of the bread will sink at a slow rate while breaking up and a small amount of the bread will float on the top.

Paul with his first ever groper -  Gary Brown   Click Here to view large photo

On the day we fished off the rocks the water was extremely clear, there was very little wave action and the wind was vertically non-existent at first. What we did have in our favour was a change of tide at around 9am and if it wasn’t for the steady stream of bread berley we would have really struggled to catch any fish at all.

This is only a small amount of bread we took in -  Gary Brown   Click Here to view large photo

So, you ask 'How much bread do you need to take in with you for a five hour session off the rocks?' Well, Scott and Paul took in a bread bag each and I carried in a bucket full plus two extra loafs in my back pack. When we finished our session we had no bread to cart back. What we did have was a combination of silver trevally, groper, drummer, salmon and leatherjackets. All of these fish were caught on either peeled Hawkesbury River and Clarence River prawns.

We had just walked in through that -  Gary Brown   Click Here to view large photo

One thing I will advise you is, if you haven’t been to a spot for a while make sure that you check out where you are going before. Not after you get there like Scotty did, by checking his GPS plotter on his I phone. We could have come out of the bush at a cliff edge, not at the edge of the rock platform like we did.

The Cook and the Hook -  Gary Brown   Click Here to view large photo

by Gary Brown


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3:47 PM Sun 8 Sep 2013GMT

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