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The Lowdown on Bait Cannons: Blast Your Baits Beyond The Breakers

Welcome to the exciting world of bait cannons! In this article, we're diving into the nitty-gritty of these bombastic fishing tools. Get ready to discover how bait cannons are allowing you to cast further and fish smarter. Let's reel in the details!

Why would a fisherman use a bait cannon?

A bait cannon is a tool used by fishermen to cast their bait further out into the ocean than they could by traditional casting methods. The main purpose of using a bait cannon is to reach distant waters where fish are more likely to be found, especially beyond the breakers (the point where waves break as they approach the shore). This can significantly increase the chances of catching fish. Additionally, bait cannons can add an element of fun and excitement to the fishing experience. They are especially useful in surfcasting and rock fishing, where reaching far-off fishing spots is crucial for a successful catch.

What is the maximum distance a bait cannon can cast bait?

The distance a bait cannon can cast bait varies depending on the model and design of the cannon. In general, smaller models like the Surface Measure can launch bait up to 200 meters from shore, while larger models such as the Big Bertha can cast bait up to 300 meters away. These distances are significantly greater than what can typically be achieved with traditional hand casting, allowing you to reach deeper waters where fish are more likely to congregate. The exact range will depend on factors like the design of the cannon, the weight of the bait, and the air pressure used. Checkout
for a range of availabe bait cannons in New Zealand and Australia such as the Big Bertha and the handy Surf Smasher. They can be ordered online.


bait cannon - big berthaShowing off the Big Bertha Bait Cannon at
Thornton Beach, Bay of Plenty

What is the working mechanism of a bait cannon?

A bait cannon works by using compressed air to launch bait out into the ocean. Here's a basic breakdown of its mechanism:

1. Air Chamber:
The bait cannon has a high-pressure air chamber. This chamber is filled with compressed air, either using a hand pump or an electric compressor.

2. Loading the Bait:
Bait, along with a sinker (a weight used to ensure the bait sinks in the water), is loaded into the barrel of the cannon. This barrel is typically made of robust PVC pipe. The bait can be either fresh or frozen, and sometimes it's secured with bait elastic to prevent it from coming loose during launch.

Triggering Mechanism: The separation between the air chamber and the barrel is controlled by a ball valve. When you're ready to launch the bait, this valve is opened rapidly.

Launching the Bait: As the valve opens, the compressed air from the chamber is released suddenly into the barrel, propelling the bait out at a high speed and over a long distance.

The design of the bait cannon allows for much greater casting distance compared to traditional fishing methods, making it an effective tool for reaching deeper waters where fish are more abundant.

Is it necessary to use frozen bait bullets in a bait cannon, or is there a simpler method?

No, it's not necessary to use frozen bait bullets with a bait cannon; there are indeed simpler methods available. While frozen bait bullets are one option, offering a compact and aerodynamic way to cast the bait, they require preparation and freezing time. An alternative and easier method involves using fresh baits with specially designed sinkers that fit snugly into the barrel of the bait cannon.

These sinkers act as a 'bullet,' providing the necessary weight and shape for effective casting. The bait, such as squid or other types, is attached to hooks and secured with bait elastic to prevent it from detaching during launch. This method is less time-consuming than preparing frozen bait bullets and allows for more spontaneous fishing trips, as it doesn't require pre-freezing the bait. 

So, while both methods work, using fresh bait with custom sinkers is generally simpler and more convenient, especially for anglers who prefer to avoid the extra preparation time involved with frozen bait bullets.

How user-friendly are bait cannons for beginners?

Bait cannons are relatively easy to use, even for beginners in fishing. Here are a few points highlighting their user-friendliness:

1. Simple Operation: The basic operation of a bait cannon involves loading the bait, pumping air into the chamber, and then triggering the release valve. This process is straightforward and can be quickly learned.

2. Minimal Physical Effort: Unlike traditional casting, which can require a good technique and physical strength, using a bait cannon is less physically demanding. This makes it accessible to a wider range of people, including those who might find casting a rod challenging.

3. Quick Learning Curve: While the initial setup and understanding of how to safely operate the cannon might take a little time, most users can become proficient with just a few tries.

4. Safety Features: Many bait cannons come with safety features like valves and locking mechanisms, reducing the risk of accidental discharge.

5. Versatility with Baits: Bait cannons are versatile in terms of the baits they can use – both fresh and frozen baits can be used effectively, giving anglers flexibility.

However, like any new tool, it's important for beginners to carefully read the instructions and perhaps watch some tutorials or demonstrations (like in fishing videos or from experienced users) to ensure safe and effective use. With a little practice, using a bait cannon can become an easy and enjoyable part of the fishing experience.

How does a bait cannon compare favorably to a fishing drone in terms of advantages?

Bait cannons offer several advantages over fishing drones, particularly for certain types of fishing:

1. Range and Power: Bait cannons can cast bait to significant distances, sometimes up to 300 meters. While fishing drones can also reach great distances, bait cannons often provide a more powerful launch for heavier baits and sinkers.

2. Simplicity and Reliability: Bait cannons are mechanically simpler than fishing drones and can be more reliable in harsh fishing conditions. They don't require the technical knowledge or maintenance that comes with operating a drone.

3. Cost-Effectiveness: Generally, bait cannons are less expensive than high-quality fishing drones. This makes them a more accessible option for many anglers, especially those who are just starting with advanced fishing techniques.

4. Durability in Harsh Conditions: Bait cannons are often more durable and better suited to withstand harsh marine environments like saltwater, sand, and sun, compared to the sensitive electronic components of drones.

5. No Need for Batteries or Charging: Unlike drones, bait cannons don't require batteries or charging, making them more convenient for extended fishing trips where charging facilities might not be available.

6. Legal and Regulatory Simplicity: Using a bait cannon typically involves fewer legal and regulatory considerations compared to drones, which in some areas are subject to strict regulations regarding where and how they can be used.

However, the choice between a bait cannon and a fishing drone often depends on personal preference, the specific fishing environment, and the type of fishing being done. Drones offer their own set of advantages, such as precise bait placement and the ability to scout for fish from the air.

In what ways can using a bait cannon be cost-effective for fishermen?

Bait cannons can be a cost-effective solution for fishermen in several ways:

1. Eliminates Need for Specialized Surfcasting Gear: Bait cannons can cast bait to long distances without the need for expensive, specialized surfcasting rods and reels. Since these cannons can achieve greater distances than even high-end surfcasting gear, anglers can save money by not having to invest in such specialized equipment.

2. Increased Efficiency in Catching Fish: With the ability to reach deeper waters where fish are more abundant, bait cannons can potentially reduce the time spent waiting for a catch. This increased efficiency means more successful fishing in less time, which is especially beneficial for those who fish commercially or for sustenance.

3. Versatility with Different Bait Types: Bait cannons are not limited to one type of bait. They can efficiently launch both fresh and frozen baits, giving anglers flexibility without the need for additional gear tailored to different bait types.

4. Reduced Bait Loss: By securely launching the bait to the desired location, there's a lower chance of bait loss due to short casting or birds intercepting the bait, which can be a common issue in traditional casting.

5. Durability and Longevity: Bait cannons are typically robust and durable, capable of withstanding harsh marine environments. This durability means they can last a long time, reducing the need for frequent replacements or repairs of fishing gear.

By saving on the need for specialized casting equipment, reducing time and effort to catch fish, and minimizing bait loss, bait cannons offer an economical and efficient tool for fishermen.


Watch our video on Bait Cannons, how they are made and used for fishing:



In our discussion, we explored the fascinating world of bait cannons, a tool that revolutionizes traditional fishing methods by allowing anglers to cast their bait much further into the sea. We covered various aspects of bait cannons, including their purpose, ease of use, the distances they can cast, and the types of baits they can accommodate. Additionally, we delved into the advantages of bait cannons over fishing drones and discussed how they offer a cost-effective solution for fishermen, especially in terms of eliminating the need for expensive surfcasting gear.

Have you ever used a bait cannon, or would you consider incorporating one into your fishing toolkit? Share your experiences or thoughts on this innovative approach to fishing!


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