I recently laid my hands upon some frozen baits from ‘Fishfinder Baits’. An Irish company established and operated by Terry Kennedy, ‘Fishfinder Baits’ are stockists of the largest range of frozen baits to the Irish market. They are also the agent for ‘Tasty Mac Pac’ baits in Ireland. As well as looking after the angling trade, Terry also supplies Dublin Zoo and a few of the country’s larger public aquaria. Their products include a host of baits aimed at the marine angler including mackerel, squid, and sandeel in various sizes, blueys, razors and lug wraps. They also supply a plethora of baits for the discerning piker, the range covering roach, mackerel and smelt in various sizes as well as lamprey, trout, pollan and herring. The company also produces a range of terminal tackle, oils and accessories for pikers.
I collected some of their sandeel, squid and mackerel baits. The sandeel were to be used for fishing for rays in Connemara. The squid was earmarked to be used whole with the hopes of catching cod. The abysmal weather that we have been experiencing has meant that any cod on a kayak trips have been shelved but who knows what the next couple of weeks may bring? If I don’t get my way with the cod I’m sure there will be a couple of bass that will be more than obliging to dine, when the water temperatures start to creep upwards again. The mackerel is a fail-safe. What self-respecting bait fisherman heads out without mackerel? Whole, halved, diced, stripped and mashed, it has a myriad of uses and will catch a whole host of species.
The first thing that impressed me was the quality of the baits which can be appreciated without even opening the packet. The baits looked as though they had just come out of the water; pristine. The first thing I had a look at was the sandeels. Having worked in a couple of tackle shops and having seen bait come and go, it was easy to see that these had been frozen rapidly and care had also been taken with their transportation. All too frequently the transportation of delicate baits like sandeels can see them part thawing and then being refrozen. This results in a softer bait that is next to useless for casting and requires more bait elastic than should be necessary to secure them to the hook. Not so with these sandeels.
Fishing from a kayak, which most of you know is now what I predominantly do, casting is obviously unnecessary. Regardless, quality bait is bait that catches fish and inferior baits that require extra binding to the hook lose a little in terms of presentation, I think. With the ‘Fishfinder’ sandeels bait elastic was unnecessary when fishing from the kayak as would be the case when fishing from a boat too. Just thread the bait onto the hook and it is ready to go. The couple of very short trips I got to fish for rays this winter produced some small fish but I will return to the area very soon and have another go.
The mackerel I was using also saw quite a lot of interest but seeing as I had rigged it on larger gear with the hopes of larger fish, I feel that the smaller ray were picking it up and shaking it, not quite able to get it into their mouths. The procession of small ray on the sandeels backs this up. This winter has been a strange one in terms of fluctuating water levels, water temperatures and barometric pressure. The few lakes close by that I would try for pike do not respond well at all to high water levels and I am waiting patiently for a few consecutive days of settled conditions to see if the pike will have much interest in the mackerel. I am certain that they will.
The squid, intended for cod fishing, are also waiting to be used. At the time of writing, things have not conspired as planned for the shore fishermen, never mind the kayak fishermen. I do hope to head home over the next few weeks and try a few east coast marks for cod, weather permitting. The squid will make a fine bait fished whole on a pennel rig. Winter storms have kept anglers away from the beaches but news of catches made in the last couple of days have started to filter through and I hope to get amongst some of these fine winter/spring fish very soon indeed. Like the pike and the mackerel, I am sure the bucket-mouthed cod will delight in this bait.
‘Fishfinder Baits’ are producing a high grade bait product that is attractively packaged and will catch fish. When fishing I think a couple of things are very important for any angler and can be the difference between success and failure; good presentation and good quality bait. The quality of these baits are evident when you pick them out of the freezer and it is the attention to speed and detail in the freezing process that produces this attribute. This in turn leads to good presentation on the hooks. Confidence in your tackle and bait is paramount in fishing. It is what I feel helps put a lot more fish on the bank for those that possess it. ‘Fishfinder Baits’ are certainly a product that I can reach for with confidence.