Fishing with Tony Lincoln | Fishing with burley

Published 1:21pm 3 November 2021

Fishing with Tony Lincoln | Fishing with burley
Words by Tony Lincoln

In this edition, we’ll cover fishing with burley.

For the uninitiated, burley is a substance or scent added to the water to attract fish, and establishing and maintaining a burley trail in the current is a fantastic way to bring the fish to a bait presented in this same trail.

Fish have the ability to sense vibration in the water regularly, but they also have an incredible ability to detect minute traces of scent in the water down to the level of parts per million. This being said, using scent and naturally occurring tidal flow or currents to attract them to our bait can be a very successful tactic. This can especially be the case for land-based anglers chasing fish that may be out of casting or drifting range or even fish that are uncatchable due to their proclivity to stay tight in among tackle-destroying structure unless given a reason to venture out into clearer, less obstructed water away from their home environment.

Introduced into the water at spaced intervals, so the current takes our burley trail to where we think fish may be congregating or passing through, can be a sure-fire way to bring these fish within range.

Ingredients are wide ranging with many anglers putting a lot of effort into their burley recipes and preparation and while these concoctions certainly attract fish, beginners can start out with ingredients as simple as old fish frames or leftover bait from previous outings.

A stale loaf of bread soaked until soggy can attract surprisingly large numbers of fish and a wide variety of species. Breadcrumbs, chook pellets, some grains, brans and cereals also produce results. The addition of scents such as tuna oil or aniseed oil are a definite plus although they can make burleying by hand a smelly exercise, but the results are definitely worth it. And if you find yourself being followed around by cats for a few days afterwards, your burley mix is more than likely a good recipe.

Next issue I'll discuss some methods of application and dispersal.

Thanks for reading again, and remember;

Talk to old people, they know stuff you don't.

Talk to young people, they know stuff you don't.


  • Once again, not a lot of feedback this issue as the weather hasn't been playing the game.
  • Summer whiting are still patchy but seem to be improving in numbers.
  • A few flathead in the Pine River, Hays Inlet and the smaller creeks.
  • Giant trevally, fringe fin trevally in Bramble Bay and also off Scarborough in Deception Bay.
  • Some more consistent, grassy sweetlip catches reported on the inshore reefs, rocks and jetties.
  • While not as thick as in the winter months, squire, snapper are still available for land-based anglers right around the peninsula and off the jetties.
  • Some respectable sandcrab catches taken in Deception Bay.
  • A couple of unconfirmed reports of a threadfin salmon and a mangrove jack being caught in Bramble Bay and the Newport canals respectively, (the weather's definitely been warm enough at the time of writing this).
  • Not a lot of prawns yet, but fingers crossed we have a better season than last summer. Do your rain dances!


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