Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bait Profile - Prawns

Prawns are one of the most versatile baits available for recreational fishers. They can be used alive or dead, cooked or uncooked, baited whole or in sections. They can be used for most species and are especially good for estuary and reef fish species. In most situations prawns are used frozen and while they can produce very good catches in this form, live prawns are certainly a top bait.

How to catch prawns?

Most rivers, estuaries and lakes have prawn stocks to some degree. They are usually gathered at night using a bright torch and a scoop net or a drag net. They keep well in a well aerated bucket and keeping them cool is very important.
In the North and West of Australia they are also caught using cast nets, which is a particularly popular technique in the parts of the country that contains crocodiles. However, drag/seine nets are often still used in these areas (with caution)
Note: Always check local regulations in regards to nets.

Scoop Net ----------- Cast Net ----------- Drag/seine Net
(click to enlarge)

How to hook/rig a prawn?
Live prawns should be hooked lightly through the tail so that the hook does not pierce the internal organs. (see picture)

To hook a dead/frozen prawn the hook (the size depending on the size of the bait) is pushed up from underneath the last segment towards the tail and out through the top of the shell so the barb is exposed.

To hook a prawn piece (used to catch bait and small fish) use a very small hook and hook the prawn flesh through once or twice.