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Fish prefer to have bait that is fresh and well presented. The best way to ensure that your bait is fresh is to collect it yourself or to catch the bait. There are a number of baits that fishermen use. The common types of bait are discussed below.

Bloodworms are collected by pumping sand and then the worms are forced to the surface. Bloodworm is a favourite bait when targeting White Steenbras and Kob (Kabeljou), but many other fish find it irresistible. There is an advantage to using bloodworm as they are difficult to remove from the hook. Once caught bloodworm need to be cleaned before being used or stored. This is done by cutting off the thin tail part and squeezing out the body contents and sand by running your thumb and forefinger from the head downwards.

Worms -
Earthworms are similar to bloodworms, but bloodworms work best for saltwater fishing.

Once cleaned bloodworm should be used or they can be individually wrapped and in clingwrap and be put in the freezer.

Mole Crabs

Mole Crab or Sea Lice -

Mole Crabs, commonly known as sea lice mainly occur in Northern Kwazulu-Natal and there are strict regulations that control their capture. They are caught during low tide on a flat stretch of beach. Wait for a wave to roll back and then look for V shapes in the sand. These are the marks of the sea lice burrowing into the sand. Run to the marking and with both hands collect a handful of the sand. Close your hand around it and place the sand into a bucket. Then check if you caught him.

Sea lice will live for some time in sea water, but they are most effective when alive. They are excellent bait for species such as a Pompano, which feed close inshore near sandy beaches.

Sardine (pilchards)

A whole sardine/pilchard - 

Sardines are used by almost every angler, where off the shore or on a boat. Sardines can be used in various ways from a whole fish to cutting them into different sizes depending on the species you are targeting. Sardines are also cut up into small pieces and along with other fish pieces this can be used to create a chum line to attract larger fish.

The best time to collect sardines is during the sardine run which happens during June/July. This spectacular event is the migration of millions of sardines. Sharks, Dolphins and large gamefish follow these massive shoals of bait fish and they have a fest. During this time anglers catch their share using cast nets or they purchase a crate full from the seine netters.

Seine netter with his haul of sardines from the sardine run
A seine netter with his share of the sardine run.

Tip: Make sure that when buying sardines that they are not yellow or the skin is crinkled. If so this will mean that they have been defrosted at least once and they will not be fresh.

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