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I have been a very keen carp angler for 20-odd years and am now turning to the sea.

As you're probably aware carp fishers have used all sorts of free offerings to attract fish to their swim.
I was wondering if there's anything similar that you use for beach fishing? I've seen fish heads/guts used on TV when boat fishing and obviously currents and tides would constantly move any groundbait type offerings around but what about net bags like we've all seen/used for crab fishing? Full of smelly stuff to attract fish in?
I may be even more naive than I thought and you fella's may already be using something like this but I've been doing alot of reading and seen anything.
Holidaying for a week in Mullion from Saturday and then a week over in St Keverne, have spent a few quid on rigs, line and lures and I'm desperate to catch a bass!!
Look forward to your comments.
 

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I've used berley (groundbait) ocasionally here in the UK, after picking up the technique in Australia last year. It's not a widely used method and I'd expect some to say don't bother, but it can be useful.

Much depends on the species your targeting and the conditions. Here in the Norfolk coast with huge tidal currents I don't bother, you'll likely be atracking them in to the benefit of someone a couple of hundred yards down the beach. However, in some circumstances it can prove fruitful. In esturies or off piers I think it is worth trying for getting mullet to feed.

In Oz they were using it to hold a saltwater bream around bridge piers, or for attracting squid in to feed off boat ramps. I've also used burley with sucess to attract wrass in Ireland; and of course the boats often use it to attract sharks.
 

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if your fishing Mullion I would recommend a 2 litre coke bottle with a few 5mm holes made in it with a hot metal spike mince up whatever heads guts etc you can find and ram it into the bottle with a large funnel and a wooden dowel (WOODEN SPOON HANDLE). WHEN ITS FULL SCREW THE LID ON AND DRILL A SMALL HOLE THROUGH THE CAP AND NECK A THICK LOOP OF MONO AND FIX A LINE TO IT FIX ENOUGH WEIGH TO IT TO SINK IT AND THROW OUT INTO THE HARBOUR YOU CAN ALSO FIX A FLOAT TO MARK THE SPOT AND FISH JUST DOWN TIDE OF IT. IF YOUR AFTER A BASS PLEASE DONT FORGET THERE IS A SIZE LIMIT AND CERTAIN AREAS ARE NO TAKE BASS NURSERYS . TRY THE ROCK LEDGES AROUND THE MINACK THEATRE WITH PEELER OR LIVE SANDEEL AS BAIT . GOOD LUCK LET US KNOW HOW YOU FARE! PS SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS AS MY SHIFT BUTTON IS PLAYING UP.
 

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i use a dvice, with that bait up as usual using the old left overs or old smelly worms i pop that lot in the dvice then put my baited hook in with them then cast out hopefuly when the dvice hits the water everything comes out
 

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There are various methods depending on how and where you are fishing. Boats : you can tie onion sacks to the anchor, or a better method is to drop a sack full of ground bait off the stern. Around piers or harbour walls etc a sack of groundbait dropped over the wall and given a good shake every 10/15 minutes. Open beaches it is best to dig holes and bury groundbait, this will get washed out by the tide. When fishing this method remember not to cast over these areas but bang your bait right in the middle of it
 

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Sorry forgot to mention. Any oil based fish minced up will help attract fish. Keep any unused bait and refreeze ready for groundbait. bulk up groundbait with bran or boiled rice and add this to the mixture as it will soak up any juice/oils. If you are struggling to make enough groundbait bulk up with bread and grab anything to enhance the scent trail, hardback crabs, pilchard oil, tuna fish the list is endless
 

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I've tried using swimfeeders but to no real effect. One thing I do is rebait every second cast (at least) and chuck any old bait or odds and ends back in the sea. Quite often I will use big baits with double penell rigs so no groundbait is required as the scent trail from the bait is good enough
 

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I'd recommend you take a look at internet report of what's done in the Channel Islands where groundbait or "shirvy" seems to be used more than elsewhere in the UK for a variety of species. "Chunking" is another approach - free offerings of chunks or steaks of oily fish such as mackerel or members of the herring family.

As you say, appreciation of tide/current is the main difference: the challenge comes in making them work with you rather than against you. I've lost count of the number of times I see newbie mullet anglers saturating an area in front of them with bread - only for their free offerings to end up miles away from where they're fishing
Tide/current can also be used constructively to take groundbait to a spot far enough away for the fish not to be spooked by the angler if you can't help but be visible, but near enough to be within casting range - particularly useful in shallow-water areas.

Something that leaves a floating trail often attracts gulls, and sometimes bass seem to move into an area where gulls are feeding on surface offerings. As messy eaters, gulls also tend to break up what they grab at so scraps sink down - so long as it's not something they can pick off complete. They can be a real pest though.

Other approaches involve baiting up areas prior to the flood tide so that the fish find the food as they move inshore . If you're fishing over shallow,broken ground, bass moving in with the newly-rising tide often mooch much closer to the shore than is commonly thought, and free offerings that get washed out of rockpools, cracks in the rocks etc. as the new tide rises will encourage them more. They're pretty easily spooked though when doing this, so using a bit of watercraft pays off.

Don't understimate mackerel or garfish as sporting fish - the shirvy approach can be used for these. On a match rod they go like stink - great fun!
 

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I have been a very keen carp angler for 20-odd years and am now turning to the sea.

As you're probably aware carp fishers have used all sorts of free offerings to attract fish to their swim.
I was wondering if there's anything similar that you use for beach fishing? I've seen fish heads/guts used on TV when boat fishing and obviously currents and tides would constantly move any groundbait type offerings around but what about net bags like we've all seen/used for crab fishing? Full of smelly stuff to attract fish in?
I may be even more naive than I thought and you fella's may already be using something like this but I've been doing alot of reading and seen anything.
Holidaying for a week in Mullion from Saturday and then a week over in St Keverne, have spent a few quid on rigs, line and lures and I'm desperate to catch a bass!!
Look forward to your comments.
pva bags all day long two or three at a time is sufficient to delay long enough to attach and cast it out attached to your lead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the advice, very much appreciated.

One more thing, if I'm not being too stupid - can you buy live sand eels or do you have to catch them?
 

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You can buy them, just ask at local tackle shops and they can point you in the right direction.

But if you've got sandy beach or pier, you can catch them your self quiet easily aswell using small Sabiki feathers, only problem i find is you tend to foul hook more than you actually hook in the jaw so they dont last very long when u use them live baiting.
 
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