Berley - The Universal Fish Dinner Gong

"Do I Need To Use Berley?" Yes if you want to catch more fish.  Berley will ensure that fish are attracted to the same patch of the ocean as your waiting hooks. Anything less is a waste of time, money and effort. The sight, scent and taste of Berley drifting down the current has one simple meaning to fish - smorgasbord ahead! The prospect of an easy feed will get most fish on the move and on the bite, most of the time. At Top Catch we have more types of berley than you can shake a stick at. Better still for a NO MESS ON THE BOAT result and excellent berley distribution take a look at the Wobbly Pot below.

Top Catch Berleys

The "Mega Bomb"

The biggest berley we do, 100% fish. Excellent life in the water, puts out lots of berley and you get the best value bang for your buck.


Shellfish/Kina Mix and Fish

Perfect for when targeting snapper around mussel farms and reefs as this formula is made from what the big moochers love best. 


Pure Salmon

These are very popular due to the high oil content. Some swear it is the best berley bar none!


 Berleying Techniques By Captain Swish (courtesy of Bruce Duncan)

Traditional methods of deploying Berley include dispensing it directly into the water from the boat or rocks (including hanging a bag of Berley off the transom), tying a bag of Berley to the anchor or warp, or attaching additional weights to a bag of Berley and lowering it to the desired depth.

Deploying Berley at the surface in deeper water or stronger currents usually results in the Berley getting to the target fishing depth (usually at or near the bottom) a considerable distance from the boat.

As many target fish species will not venture far from the sea floor, it is often the case that anglers' hooks are considerably closer to the back of the boat than the fish which are attracted by the Berley. In such cases, Berleying actually becomes counter-productive in that it 'holds' the fish in an area, which is not accessed by the angler.

Picture a couple of ledger rigs directly below the boat and a school of ravenous snapper swimming madly around in a feeding frenzy, hoovering up tiny scraps of Berley - a hundred metres away! Bugger!

Deploying Berley from an anchor or warp is often defeated by winds which differ in direction from that of the current. Most boats will tend to sit more to the wind than to the current. As a result, Berley flow from the anchor will often run parallel to, but some lateral distance from your baits. Again, the Berleying actually becomes counter-productive in that it 'holds' the fish in an area where your hooks aren't.

When you've settled to anchor, throw over a few scraps of bait and watch them sink out of space. The angle that they drift away at is the same angle your Berley is drifting away at - from over where your anchor is. How much warp did you let out?

This method also creates another type of problem - you'll have to retrieve the pick in order to check or top up the Berley. Now you'll need to re-anchor and its even money that you wont be able to get back on the same spot.

And if the fish didn't come on because the wind and current were out of whack, you're probably going to want to move after about half an hour or so. Up with the pick - and where are you going to put those three kilos of melting mussel mix? Yuck!

Attaching weights to an onion bag is another popular method which tends to have a couple of common disadvantages. One is that shark or rays frequently rip through the Berley bag and eat or release all the Berley. You won't know until you pull it up. And then you wont know whether it just happened or whether is was gone five minutes after you dropped your lines over!

Another is that the onion bags have a relatively fine mesh, which clogs up and prevents good dispersal. Fisho's using this method will be all too familiar with the grapefruit sized glob of washed out goo that comes up at the end of the trip. It's not attracting fish if it's sitting in the bag!

Best Berley Deployment System There Is!  - We are often asked what is the best method for dispensing berley. Without doubt it is the Wobbly Pot!  Hint:  a great gift idea!

The Wobbly Berley Pot has been designed to overcome all of these problems. Its galvanised steel coil construction and open mesh configuration minimizes drag in the water and allows the Berley to be positioned as near as possible to vertically beneath the boat at any depth or current. Even when it is angling out the back in a fierce current, it will be closer to the boat than your baits. By lowering the Wobbly Pot from the boat, you can be sure that your baits are positioned in the Berley trail no matter what the wind and tide is up to. If the boat swings on the wind, the Wobbly Pot will move with it and the fish will still have to get past your baits to get to it!

Most bites will be adequately discouraged by the steel frame, and the heavy duty mesh will take care of the others. Dispersal of the Berley is excellent, so once all your Berley has melted, the Wobbly Pot will come up clean.

Almost all of the commercially available Berley bombs will fit into a Wobbly Pot and the pots will fit inside a 20-litre pail to make retrieval clean and simple.

On the "Wobbly Pot" - What Expert Fisherman Bruce Duncan has to say! 

Over the last forty years of fishing I have been a big advocate of using Berley and ground bait to bring the fish on the bite. In the early days we just used chopped up baitfish along with leftover bait. While this was great for fishing in shallow water, in fast flowing water it was a waste of time, as you could not get it down to the target zone where your baits would lie on the bottom.

Along came commercial Berley bombs, which we put in weighted onion sacks to solve this problem. While they worked to a point the problem is that the close weave of the onion bags would clog up and restrict the flow of Berley. Because these bulky bags had so much resistance to the current, seldom could we get them close to the bottom at an angle that they were not in the way of our lines.

Good old Kiwi ingenuity has now overcome this problem with the invention of the "Wobbly Pot". This unique invention is made up of a heavy galvanised iron coil, which is covered with a commercial trawl net. The heavy metal coil is such a weight that it gets to the bottom almost directly behind the boat, even in the strongest currents. With the large mesh size it allows all the Berley to dispense without clogging up the mesh.

I have been testing the Wobbly Pot for a couple of months now and have found it to be the ultimate answer in all conditions. By opening the top of the mesh, simply slip in your Berley bomb. Leave the plastic wrapper around the Berley bomb, just split the bag from top to bottom and slide into the Wobbly Pot (the plastic wrapper cannot escape from the Wobbly Pot). This single cut will slow down the flow of Berley in the warm summer water. More often than not you will have some left over bait at the end of the days fishing which when refrozen is never as good, so I cut this bait into small pieces and refreeze them in small containers.

I will add a couple of these to the Wobbly Pot; as they defrost the large mesh size allows the large chunks to pass through and put your ground bait right into the Berley trail. For the first time you can now get your ground bait right behind your boat in fast flowing water.

Berley is an added expense to your day out but is not an option in my book as it does get results. The huge advantage of the Wobbly Pot is that they are designed to fit inside a plastic bucket when not in use. The large pot fits into a 20-litre bucket and the small pot fits in a 10-litre bucket, which is ideal for keeping the boat clean. A leaky Berley bag makes a hell of a mess when pulled on board and is not a good thing if your family are only half keen on fishing, and you are trying to encourage them to come out with you. If you do have some Berley left over in your pot, now you can refreeze it by putting the pot and container in the freezer. Before now I was never brave enough to try and bring old Berley home to refreeze.

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