Making Burley

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    Posted: 26 Nov 2023 at 3:19pm
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Looking to make berley for the first time to save some dosh.
Thinking of mixing pig pellets with tuna oil and some water. Will add chopped up heads and frames from previous catches. What ratio of tuna oil should I be using? Any other tips?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2023 at 4:05pm
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Welcome to the forums Kiwi Hunter. Don't over think it. Tuna oil is a good attractant but not necessary. If you add it it will be good. The most important thing about berley is the way it is deployed. If your baits aren't actually in the berley trail, it may well be counter productive. You want to draw the fish in to your baits.

I mainly fish the Manukau harbour where there is a lot of current. Any berley near the surface there will draw kahawai in for miles, which is great if you want to catch kahawai. For snapper, trevally or gurnard I will put it hard on the bottom. If there are lots of kahawai around and I'm more interested in catching the other stuff I tend not to use berley these days as they will beat my target species to the baits everytime. Tuna oil will also eventually find its way to the surface, which will bring the kahawai in.

Berley is invaluable off the rocks and will bring in all sorts of bait fish & eventually the big predators. Certainly no harm in keeping it on the surface but remember to fish into the trail.


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It's funny, I'm the last person to give advice on making burley as I primarily use lures, but after two La Nina summers, I ended up doing quite a lot of bait and burley fishing with my son and it was getting expensive, so made my own. I think you've worked it out. I added fish waste scraps (i.e. pin bone sections and guts); protein waste from the kitchen and bread waste. Also a little used cooking oil. A skippy goes a long way if cut up as finely as you can be bothered. Seemed to work. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote waynorth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2023 at 6:23pm
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Mincing the scraps & everything else worked for me - you want to excite the fish not feed them. Others prefer chunks, especially if surface-deployed.

Don't go OTT with the oil or it might not freeze properly. A litre goes a long way. Don't be afraid to add some water if it seems a bit dry.

Cardboard milk containers are perfect. Easy to tear apart if you want 'naked' burley, or whack them a couple of times with a cleaver for a slower release

Pig or chook mash might be easier to work with than pellets.

Surface release works well in water less than 10m or so. Deep water burleying is a bit of a guessing game re depth/distance off the seabed/local currents direction & speed/casting distance. 20% of the water depth is probably a good starting point.

Sharks love burley, and burley containers, especially if it isn't in a metal cage.

Don't tie your burley to the anchor rope. See previous point.
treat fish like fish
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2023 at 7:50pm
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Have to agree. Keep at least a metre of rope between your berley and anchor warp. Have heard some horror stories and have some spectacular berley bag assaults.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kiwi_hunter678 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2023 at 9:52pm
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Thanks for your replies guys, yeah we are normally buying a berley from the shop and then drop it down. Just bought a wobbly pot as our last berley got sharked funnily enough. Will be fishing around Limestone Island in the Whangarei harbour, mainly off the island (as we live on the island) and in a little runabout tinny in the holes. It does get extremely sharky here in summer due to the bronzies coming in but will deal with that then.

Won't complain if we catch a few kahawai, seem to be a lot around here. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Reel Deal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2023 at 7:20am
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You live on limestone island? Nature reserve? Fishing around there can be amazing. A few days been out wide for little result in the bumpy stuff then cone in harbour and bin up in 4m at the island. Good trevally too 
The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent on fishing - Assyrian Proverb
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Yep sure do, it is a scenic reserve so anyone can land here. But yes we are the Rangers, only recently moved on but definitely pumped for this fishing season. Had a bit of luck off the back wharf and in the boat so far.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2023 at 5:56pm
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wow, sounds like a good life KH!
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I find chicken pallets are good by themselves, just throw hand fulls up current of where you’re anchored.

The long life burley not bad as well.
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For gurnard I make a chicken pellet/scallop gut/whatever mix but mostly it is bulked up with chook pellets. I roll it into tennis ball sized 'hand grenades' with a stone or two inside so they sink and throw them all around the boat at slack water. Gurnard have tummies full of the stuff when I catch them
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Originally posted by smudge smudge wrote:

For gurnard I make a chicken pellet/scallop gut/whatever mix but mostly it is bulked up with chook pellets. I roll it into tennis ball sized 'hand grenades' with a stone or two inside so they sink and throw them all around the boat at slack water. Gurnard have tummies full of the stuff when I catch them
Good idea I find the same thing the snapper are full of the munched up pallets, pig pallets are good as well they smell like they have a bit of aniseed in them.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Reel Deal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Nov 2023 at 5:59am
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Hey Kiwi Hunter658 I’m guessing you are on the island due to kiwi program? Your handle sort of explains that. Was wondering on security for parking boat on the wharf. Often the wife has said we have never walked the island. should only take an hour or so. But I have been cautious about tieing up my boat on wharf for that time with rods etc on board. 
We volunteered last weekend to pick up rubbish with the Whangarei group on Sunday along the onerahi shoreline directly opposite the island and picked up over half a ton of rubbish. I focussed on fishing line (and sinkers😎) is there much rubbish around the island that needs cleaning off? The group is council backed and we could organise a few boats. Just a thought. 
The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent on fishing - Assyrian Proverb
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Now that you know how to make cheap burley, I would deploy a pot just off the sea bed and have a bag on the surface as well. Surface bag will attract all sorts of critters that you can see which may bring some added interest. 

Living on Limestone Island is cool Cool



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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kiwi_hunter678 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Nov 2023 at 8:09pm
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Hey Reel Deal, yes Kiwi are a big part of the program but mainly working with schools at the moment as it's end of term year and they all want a trip over. I would be a little hesitant tying the boat up with rods accessible, it would probably be fine but you never know someone could be boating past and pinch them, although that would be pretty brazen. If you want you can give me an email at [email protected] and I can lock the rods/valuables up while you do your walk? It is a great island to explore if you have never been.

Regarding the rubbish we are lucky to have a great volunteer group too, and with a lot of school groups the rubbish is taken care of very quickly. I also walk the coast to clear traps every two weeks so we keep on top of it. Sea Cleaners come over and collect the rubbish every now and again. Great offer thanks for that though, I do see the work FORCE does, great stuff!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Gerifisher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Dec 2023 at 12:10pm
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For Snapper I make a burley from minced chicken frames (body minus meat).  The chicken frames contain a lot of fat.  I don't add anything to the burley - it's not necessary.  
Attracts Snapper, Trevally, Blue Cod, Macs.
Does not attract Sharks, Rays, Kahawai, Kingfish and Gurnard.
The frames used to be cheap as chips, but now being bought by many more people for soup so price is getting up close to what you pay for bought burley.
We only target Snapper and has not let us down.
From our boat, if current is strong, we keep it close to the bottom.  As the current diminishes we lift it closer to the top, even off the back of the boat if no current.   Works just as well off the rocks too.
Only problem we get is the boaties who anchor up 50 metres behind us to fish into the area where the seagulls are picking up the bits that have floated to the surface.
In the Manukau will unfortunately attract all the juvenile Snapper from miles away.
I have also tried chicken necks but found they are too boney and don't work as well.
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