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Topic: Killer Bream Bait... | Category: Fishing Talk

itsaboat 5 days ago

I thought I might share my favorite killer bream bait...

Sorry about the photo quality. I forgot to bring my camera and so have to rely on the phone.

I got some nice tiger prawns today. Of course I am going to eat them. But there is more to a prawn than just the tail. The head, although it can be eaten, makes excellent bait...I prefer cooked prawns for this but green prawns are just as good.

Start by removing the head...we all know how to do that...I hope

Then holding the legs use a finger (a good finger if you have one) gently lift the head shell off...It comes off very easy.

You now have a prawn head with legs and no shell. You can eat it...I do !! Lightly crumbed and deep fry till the legs start turning white, about 30 to 60 seconds. Crunchy and delicious with a chili dipping sauce. Besides, almost half the weight of a prawn is it's head and you just paid close to $30 a kilo for it and most of the head is meat.

Now gently pull the legs off the head. Again, the legs can be eaten as is or deep fried. Fried is more crunchy and better.

Now that the shell and legs are off, you can see just how much perfectly good prawn meat you were about to throw away !! Although it can be eaten as is, there are some guts so you might prefer a quick rinse...personal choice.

If you want a larger bait, you are right to go. But for picky little bream I cut the meaty part of the head off. Yes, the meat gets eaten. In fact I will be using the head meat from these prawns for dinner tonight. A prawn omelet with green beans, Turkish pide bread and a home made habenero dipping sauce (yes, I like it hot).

So trim the meat off the head and you are left with absolute killer bait for bream -

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 4 days ago

great advise.

Here in New Zealand those prawns are also prime bait for rig shark and elephant fish.
I used them recently to catch a really nice rig.
People also use them as bait for stocked salmon in the Twizel canals.

I'm sure they'll also work really good on snapper and most other species.
Once I'm back in snapper territory I was planning to rig them up on my soft bait jig heads instead of soft baits and see how that'll work. I'm guessing it'll catch me a good feed.

Sometimes you get them really cheap in supermarkets, when they're close to expiry. Then I buy them and use the whole prawn as bait. Otherwise using only the heads and eating the rest is a fantastic option.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
itsaboat 4 days ago

There was someone on the forum a few years ago (maybe a bit more than a few) that was using whole prawn on jig heads.

I remember now. A woman with a couple of boys. She was just starting to fish but her husband was not keen on fishing...or something like that. Anyway, she was told to use a sinker and she was a bit confused. She then posted some pics and it turned out she was using a jig head...Oh, I remember I said I was going to give it a try, but I never did...She was catching some really nice fish.

Don't worry about waiting for the specials...Do some number crunching, you will find that bait prawns cost 2 to 3 times the price of eating prawns !! And it is not just prawns. I paid $12.50 for 1 kilo of pilchard bait a few weeks ago (Lakes Entrance). Yesterday I saw in the local fish shop butterflied, ready to cook sardines (pilchard) $8.50 per kilo. Bait prawns are $8 to $14 for a 200 gram bag. Eating prawns, already cooked and seasoned and ready to eat are $20 to $30 per kilo (ie $4 to $6 per 200 grams)....AND you will get eating prawns even cheaper if they are not "size sorted". AND you will get green (as in not cooked) eating grade prawns even cheaper...AND eating prawns are fresher. If the prawns have been on the boat an extra day they are not fresh enough for humans to eat and so are declared "bait grade" and are then sold for 2 or 3 or even 4 times the price.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Madmax0304 3 days ago


It’s actually illegal to use prawns bought from the supermarket as they aren’t native prawns which if you use them as bait they spread the white spot disease throughout the waterways. That’s why bait prawns are so expensive as they are native prawns.

The Bream Just Keep Coming
itsaboat 3 days ago

In what Act does it state that ?

It is not illegal. There is no Law stating you cannot used cooked eating prawns for bait.

The price of bait prawns is not reflected in the fact that they are "native". The prawns I have pictured are Australian tiger prawns...Local, "native", Australian and cost $25.99 per kilo which is at least HALF the price of bait prawns.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Madmax0304 2 days ago

It is illegal to use prawns bought from the supermarket in Queensland, I am unsure about other states. This law came into action in 2016. The link to the website is here,

The Bream Just Keep Coming
itsaboat 2 days ago

I see

That is not a Law, it is not an Act...It is just a media release. I don't see anywhere in that media release that refers to using prawns for bait, but I did only have a quick read.

An Act (ie Law) looks like this -

It has Divisions, Parts, Sections etc, etc.

If it is illegal to use cooked eating prawns for bait, then it MUST be stated in an Act.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Jeff Billing 3 days ago

This message was in an article I read last year. I have seen similar reports on other fishing forums
Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair has warned people fishing, crabbing or trapping yabbies in any of the state's waterways not to use prawns intended for human consumption as bait because it could spread White Spot.
Not sure of current situation.

Mark Totzke 3 days ago

hmm, interesting I haven't heard about the white spot disease before.
But after some research it does seem to be an issue in Australia, particularly in Queensland.
Looks like there have been several outbreaks in prawn farms and people are not supposed to use prawns for human consumption as bait.

I couldn't find any reports or warnings of this disease being an issue in New Zealand or other countries.
Although it seems to originate from prawn farms in South East Asia.

It also looks like that cooking prawns for more then 4 minutes will deactivate this virus.
So cooked prawns could be safe to use?

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
itsaboat 2 days ago

A political issue maybe ? The issue is so full of holes if it went within 100 miles of a bath tub it would sink.

I am not sure if this link will work -

BICON regulations for importing cooked prawn. If the prawn farmers really do have an issue why are they not taking the Minister to task. The simplest explanation always tends to be correct. Are the farmers ignoring the fact that the Government the Minister and BICON are not doing their job...OR,,,Is the fact really that the farmers cannot compete with cheaper imports and so have invented a white spot scare campaign ?

It does seem strange, doesn't it. Seems to only be an issue in Australia and then only for a small handful of prawn farmers in Queensland.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
itsaboat 2 days ago

It turns out that the regulations do not allow the importing of whole raw prawn.

But this topic is about using cooked prawn for bait.

Yes, you are correct, the cooking process (if done according to the Regs) removes or destroys all biological risks.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 2 days ago

so it looks like the safest bet for Australian fishos would be to either pay premium for prawns labeled as bait or
use only cooked prawns and make sure they are cooked for at least 4-5 minutes to destroy the virus.
I've read that cooked prawns are just effective as raw prawns. So it wouldn't really affect the fishing.

Good to know those things. I'm sure nobody wants to spread any diseases if it can be prevented easily.
Perhaps the disease is more likely to spread in warm waters. Hence Queensland is mainly affected with prawns imported from South East Asia.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
itsaboat 2 days ago

Putting the confusion and mis-information to bed...

There is no Law, Rule or Regulation preventing or restricting the use of cooked prawn for bait...anywhere in Australia !

Likewise, there is no legal restriction on using imported raw prawn either. However, it would not be a good idea.

The only restriction in place regarding white spot, is a Movement Restriction Area authorised by Law. A map of the Movement Restriction area is available on line as a PDF. -

There are no Rules, Regulations or Restrictions in place preventing the use of cooked or raw prawns as bait (whether imported or local) within the Movement Restriction Area...However, all bait (white spot risk bait) that is taken in to the MRA must remain in the area. That is, you CANNOT take the bait back home with you. Once the bait is in the area it must stay in the area.

Fines and other penalties apply if prawns, worms or yabbies are removed from the MRA.

There is no Rule, Regulation or Law preventing the use of eating grade prawns as bait...anywhere in Australia...and eating prawns are at least HALF the price of bait prawns !!

Points of reference...
Biosecurity Act 2015 Cth as amended 2017
Biosecurity Act 2014 (QLD) as amended 2017
Fisheries Act 1994 (QLD) as at current (2018 )
Fisheries Regulation 2008 (QLD) as at current (2018 )
Fisheries Management Act 1991 Cth

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Madmax0304 2 days ago

So the solution to this argument is to buy a cast net and catch live prawns for free.

The Bream Just Keep Coming
itsaboat 2 days ago

An argument ? Fair enough, I do sometimes come across as appearing to be augmentative. I apologise

It is not an argument. It is an adult discussion. If what you are saying is correct and it is illegal to use "supermarket" purchased prawns as bait in Queensland. Then that would have quite an impact on all anglers nation wide.

I believe that i have read most if not all relevant Law, and I cannot find any Rule, Regulation nor Act that prohibits the use of "supermarket" purchased prawns (ie eating grade) as bait.

You have stated twice that it is illegal to use "supermarket" purchased prawns as bait. All I have done is ask what Law makes it illegal. Or is it just something you heard? A friend told you? Local tackle store owner told you?

Yes, a cast net...Now that is something that is definitely covered by Law. Fisheries Regulations of 2008 is a good starting point...But Dept summaries can give enough info. Just remember no prawns, worms (marine worms) or yabbies or any white spot risk animals can leave the Movement Restriction Area...You can catch it in the area, you can take it in to the area...but you cannot take it out !!

Yes, I understand there are some grey areas. The Regs say white spot risk animals can be taken out if cooked, for example.

Unless you can name an Act or Law that makes it illegal, I would suggest that the solution is to use cooked, supermarket prawns. They are a lot cheaper and they are cooked so there is no bio threat.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 2 days ago

LOL - I got a more philosophical/linguistical comment here. Sorry for being out of context

But when I think of the term "argument", I think in the lines of the definition in wikipedia:

In logic and philosophy, an argument is a series of statements typically used to persuade someone of something or to present reasons for accepting a conclusion.[1][2] The general form of an argument in a natural language is that of premises (variously propositions, statements or sentences) in support of a claim: the conclusion (from wikipedia)

it would tick the boxes.

okay lets get back to the prawns...

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
Mark Totzke 2 days ago

that's a great solution Madmax0304 On top of that you get some extra fishing time.

just gotta make sure to not take them to another spot for fishing, as seemingly this could spread the disease.
Assuming they have the disease that is. But looks like prawns with white spot disease are easily identified as they'll have those white spots on them.

I wonder how easy it is to catch your own prawns though. I assume it's not that easy

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
Madmax0304 2 days ago

Sorry about my last message. I meant it as more of a debate or a discussion rather than an argument.

Also it is quite hard to catch prawns in a cast net it is really all about luck, however the upside of using a cast net is you can catch mullet, herring and a lot of different bait fish that work just as well if not better than prawns.

I fish at the South Bank area in the Brisbane river, so to get back to the original topic of this discussion is that I find bread and raw chicken breast works extremely well to catch bream. Downstream this far small hard body lures also work extremely well.

The Bream Just Keep Coming
itsaboat 2 days ago

As Mark has pointed out, the meaning of "argument" has dual meanings,

But he might just be throwing in a 'raw prawn' to liven things up...hahaha

I trust that you accept my apology for appearing to be argumentative. I can assure you that argument is not my intention, by any meaning.

I know it sounds confronting. But it's a simply a question, You say it is illegal and I ask under what Law is it illegal,

I like to think Fishing Reminder is very friendly as we have plenty of children readers,,,but robust.

I admit, this white spot issue is a vague memory. I sort of remember something about it from years and years ago. So now I am going off current data. I just can't find any info to support your claim that it is illegal.

You don't lose any face if a friend told you. Or if a local fisho told you,,,Did someone tell you it's illegal?

Yeah them little lures are great on bream. I have commented quite a few times on the Forum about lure fishing for bream.

I can not comment on the chicken breast but without being argumentative, I ask, is the chicken breast bait grade or eating grade??

Don't worry about going "off topic". Actually, next time I talk with Mark I will remind him of my suggestion of an "off topic" section. The ebb and flow of discussion is good.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 2 days ago

no need to apologise. Once itsaboat get's into gear it's hard to slow him down again, LOL

Anyway good to stay on topic. I wonder if any of you guys have tried those gulp softbaits on bream.
I fish with them for snapper and they absolutely can't resist them. I swear by them, especially the green/orange lime tiger jerk shads. They might be a bit more expensive than prawns or other baits, but the good thing is you can re-use them and they don't go off.

And as far as I know snapper is part of the bream family so I'm guessing soft baits would work a treat on them when slowly bounced over the bottom.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
Madmax0304 2 days ago

In most parts of the Brisbane river it is a rocky bottom so soft plastics don’t work very well. However the canals on the Gold Coast are all sandy bottomed so I use Zman Soft plastics there. They are extremely good. I actually prefer Zman over Gulp as they are a lot stronger and work a lot better in Queensland (based on my experience).

The Bream Just Keep Coming
Mark Totzke 2 days ago

that's interesting. I tried Z-man's and know a few guys in the kayak fishing community who love them and prefer them over gulp.

For some reason I never had the same success rate with them as I had with gulp.
Do you have preferred size/colour for your Z-mans? I've tried a few different ones. But the brownish/speckled ones worked best for me. Nowhere near as good as the gulp lime tigers though.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
Madmax0304 2 days ago

I have got a few soft plastics that I find work really well for flathead. I am unsure of the colour but they are the brown speckled ones you were talking about and they are Zman grubs. There are also good soft plastics of any shape depending on what you are going for in the motor oil colour. Motor oil Zman soft plastics are definitely the best soft plastics around. However they are a bit expensive as they are $11 for 6-8 grubs.

The Bream Just Keep Coming
Mark Totzke 2 days ago

I'll give those motor oil z-mans a go next time I see them. Maybe I've just been using the wrong type so far.

But first I gotta try to put some prawns on a jig head and fish them on my soft bait gear
Also wanted to try the same with some salted squid.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
Madmax0304 2 days ago

Yeah I have never tried anything like that.

The Bream Just Keep Coming
Mark Totzke 2 days ago

hey itsaboat - what kinda rig do you use when you fish with those prawns?

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
Madmax0304 2 days ago

I would probably use a running sinker down to a smallish swivel onto a size 4/0 or 5/0 suicide hook or a 5/0 circle hook.

The Bream Just Keep Coming
Mark Totzke 2 days ago

looks like he agrees with that

A running rig sounds good. That would have been my first choice as well.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
itsaboat 2 days ago

Just a standard bream rig. But if there are flathead in the area I will use a long shank hook.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Jeff Billing 2 days ago

Thanks for all the replies to this topic. This was my first post and I will certainly be hoping to submit more posts in the future

itsaboat 2 days ago

Hi Jeff,

A big welcome to Fishing Reminder

Your first post did mot go un-noticed.

I have a bandaged finger which makes typing sort of interesting....actually, if you could see half the typos this banage is causing you would wet yourself with laughter...Just to give an idea, Mark (prior to backspace) has been a bandaged jark,nark, hark,marj,kark...and that is just a feqw. Most of these bandaged caused typos would not get an R rating let alone a PG rating !! haha

Arr...It is OK. Just a scratch...and the pain killers work OK.

I was going to delete this topic. I only posted it on a pain killer induced whim. But it has caused an interesting discussion.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Jeff Billing 1 day ago

Thanks, know the problem, chopped top off 3 fingers on left hand, no more touch typing just hunt and peck. I am using Siri whenever possible, remarkabley accurate.

itsaboat 1 day ago

Oohh..3 fingers at once does not sound like fun.

That is an odd quote of Niall Blair. Maybe we should ask him to explain. His email is Just remember you should never address a Minister by their name. So you start with Dear Minister and always end with Yours Sincerely.

The facts...

According to the Australian Prawn Farmers Association 95% of prawn farms are in Queensland and 5% are in NSW...Blair is a NSW Minister.

All bait prawns are sold raw.

Pretty much all eating prawns are sold cooked. All raw eating prawns are checked and tested for white spot.

The only known white spot infected area is in QLD and that area is controlled by a Movement Restriction Area (MRA).

No prawns can come out of the MRA unless they are cooked.

Cooking kills the white spot virus and almost all eating prawns are cooked before being sold.

It is illegal to import whole raw prawn and all raw prawn that is legally imported is tested for white spot.

The chance of eating prawns spreading white spot is zero. Ever if a sick minded person wanted to deliberately spread the white spot virus they could not do it with eating prawns.

The only chance of spreading the white spot virus is with raw prawns such as bait grade or self caught prawns.

Bait prawns cost 2, 3 or even 4 times more than eating prawns.

End of facts and now for the assumptions...

The State Governments spend huge amounts of money on recreational fishing. That is a good thing. But of course, they expect to see a return on their investment. Victoria alone has just spent $40 million this year just on their 1 million fishers campaign. So, tax on $25 per kilo or tax on $50 per kilo ??

You cannot have it both ways, Blair. Eating prawns are either safe to remove from the MRA or they carry a risk of spreading white spot !! You cannot have it both ways, mate. What are you saying, Minister, is the 95% of prawns farmed in Qld a white spot risk? But they are safe to ship all over the country as long as they are only eaten ? Or is it the 5% from NSW that is the risk ?

I realise that getting a straight answer from a Minister is even more difficult than spreading white spot with a cooked prawn. So I keep it simple for you Blair...What information or data or facts do you rely on to support your claim that eating grade prawns can spread white spot ?

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 1 day ago

So you can't buy imported uncooked whole prawns in Australian supermarkets?
Didn't know that.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
itsaboat 1 day ago

Yes, that is correct.

I posted a link above in another post to the import regulations. The last section of shell and the tail fans can be left on. But head, legs and most of the shell must be removed.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !