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In this day and age, no-one wants to be left behind with technology and newer, bigger, better, fast inventions. We love keeping up with the Jones' or ahead of them if possible, following fads and trends is just part of life now and most important; staying up to date with the ever changing face of our favourite leisure activities is a must. Fishing changes constantly - new tackle is developed each year, bait is slowly getting transformed into life-like rubberized versions with realistic scent to boot, fish-finding technology has made the "hunt" a whole lot easier and burley is now fully equipped with motion sensors and fish-seeking hook missiles. Well, the last one about the burley is a bit farfetched but the rest is very true. Burley is possibly one of the only elements of fishing that has changed little over the years.

A customer recently came into the shop asking why there wasn't more information on the internet about burley. Puzzled, I told the chap that there should be plenty of information online as any angler who is worth his salt would use burley and everything is on the internet! Little did I know that the term burley is used only in Australia, and the term is chumming in other parts of the world. Chumming came about in the 19th century in California when fish guts and pig's heads were tossed off the end of a pier to bring the sharks in for tourists to see.

For those anglers looking for burley recipes online, be sure to type the word chum into the search - results will be plentiful including great recipes from America and local recipes with Chum dog food in the ingredient list!

The use of burley is by far the best way to attract fish from all over the place to your bait via a trail of food particles. It is commonly used by boat and bank anglers in the river and in offshore waters to increase your catch rate. Not many anglers use burley off the beach but if the correct technique is used in the surf gutters there can be great advantages.


Current, tide and wave action are two strong factors that influence where your burley will end up. Make sure you take these factors into consideration when positioning a burley dispenser. A small cylinder style burley pot with plenty of small holes or slits that allow a slow and steady flow of burley is the only instrument that you need. Homemade pots are cheap and easy to make - head to Bunnings and get some PVC pipe from the plumbing section if you are handy and creative, or pick up a readymade pot from your local tackle store for around $10. Attach the pot with a length of rope to your boat, a tree or a sand spike in the sand so that the burley can disperse gradually within close proximity to where you are fishing.

If on the beach you want the burley bucket to sit just in front of you and be washed around in the shore break so small amounts are released with each surge. Depending on the current and the waves, place the pot up current so that the burley ends up in the general area where your bait is sitting. When you re-cast your bait out, make sure it lands on the upside of the burley pot and with the current, it sinks into the trail.


Any fishing scraps and off cuts from cleaned fish can be used as burley. Chook pellets, bread crumbs, old bread, pilchards and prawns are also good. When using pellets or bread, it is well worth adding a small amount of 100% tuna oil to give the fish plenty of sent to follow. The main aim is to crush or cut up all of the solid material into small pieces that will slowly break up and flow out of the burley buckets holes.

If you want to keep costs down buy yourself a second hand food processor or a meat grinder. Blitzing up old bread into crumbs and then adding minced up meat and seafood scraps so that you get a fine composition. Then you can freeze good handfuls of the mix into old stockings (tied off and bagged) - check first before you raid your other half's hosiery draw though!

Waste not - want not: this old saying is what my granddad lives by - he is the king of burley. Grandad added old leftover bait to his mixture. Rather than throwing old bait into the river after a day's fishing, he would process it into a fine paste and add to breadcrumb mixture. Prawn heads, squid, whitebait or any pilchard as well as the frames and guts of any fish he caught went into the freezer for the next burley making session!

One recipe that I did happen to come across on the internet which sounded pretty scrumptious is as follows:

5 kg block of Pillies.
3 kg bag of Flour.
2L Tuna oil.
Optional to add a bag of cat or dog biscuits. If you do add them, give the mix about 5 or 6 hours to marinate.
Plus all your old bait, fish frames, meat & table scraps.
Blend it all together in a 20lt bucket, ensuring everything is a thick paste. Adding some water to help it mix and pour better. Use a paint mixing attachment on a drill to assist. Pour the burley mix into old cordial/milk bottles and freeze. This should be enough to make up 10 or 12 bottles.

I am keen to try this mix and report on the results in the coming weeks. On a last note, make sure that you don't go over board when you do use burley as the fish will gorge on it and will be less likely to eat the bait you are offering. Fish will travel long distances along a burley trail to reach the source. The stronger the scent in your trail means the fish will travel from farther distances. If you do a lot of fishing and have never tried using burley to attract fish then maybe it's time to fill your burley pot and give it a try.


Noosa: Snapper to 6.5kg, a 7kg bar checked trout and cobia to 12kg from North Reef. Cobia from Chardon's Reef. Snapper to 6.5kg on trolled bait from Jew Shoal. A 10.5kg golden trevally was taken from the rocks off Double Island Point. Luderick from the rock walls at Main Beach. Tailor, bream and dart in good numbers along the north shore. Tailor and trevally in Woods Bay and around the river mouth. Flathead from the mouth and off Petrie Bay Park.

Maroochydore: Mac and long tail Tuna between Old Women Island and Point Cartwright. Sweetlip to 3kg and a few small snapper around Old Women Island. Grunter above Bli Bli Bridge. Bream to 1kg from the cod hole and river mouth. Flathead and chopper tailor from Cotton Tree. Jew to 7.5kg, tailor and trevally above the cod hole. Tailor to 2kg and a few good bream along the North Shore.

Kawana: Snapper to 4kg, parrot, sweetlip and cod from Murphy's. Dart, bream, tarwhine along access 4, 9 and 15 in the Kawana stretch. Good schools of gar in the sand basin and along La Balsa wall. Chopper tailor fro the rock walls and Point Cartwright in the mornings. Bream and trevally in Kawana Waters Canal.

Caloundra: Snapper and sweetlip from Brays Rock and the Coffees. Tailor from the bar. Queenfish and trevally in the canals. Big flathead at the mouth of Bells Creek. Quality bream from the boardwalk and in Pelican Waters.


Gary Wilkinson and Graham Anthes like trolling hard bodied lures through the cod hole during the week for enjoyment. They had an excellent run this week and loaded the boat with tailor, trevally and a 7.5kg jew.


Andy Gunn is a strong believer in establishing a solid burley trail when fishing on offshore reef systems to attract the big fish. His system paid off last weekend, when he fished Currimundi Reef for spangled emperor to 6.2kg, cod to 4kg, snapper and moses perch.


Chad and Corey Stevens had a good session on Marcoola Beach with this 3.5kg tailor taking their pilchard rig over night.


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