Octopus is one of the most underrated, but most versatile bait. For Rock & Surf it can be used to target a number of species including: Kob, Steenbras, Poenskop (Black Muscle Cracker), Elf (shad) and ever Yellow Tail. Octopus is also a favourite of most Flat Fish and when presented whole it makes an excellent shark bait.
Octopus can now be purchased as bait commercially, but you can also harvest your own bait from rock pools or reefs on the low or spring tides. Octopus is easily stored and can be kept frozen for long periods of time as either whole or stripped bait.
The bait is best used fresh, like Chokka, if the meat has a pinkish tinge in colour then its old and possibly not the best to use as bait.
Octopus can be used either stripped clean of its tentacles or used ‘as it’. Both methods prove, but I do prefer the stripped leg as my favourite bait.
What you are going to need to make a simple trace.
This setup will be fine for Kob, Steenbras, Black Muscle Cracker and Elf (Shad). To target smaller reef fish you would be required to scale down to a lighter hook snoot and a single hook in sizes 2/0 and 1/0.
To strip the Octopus leg of its skin and suckers you will require a sharp knife and a pair of pliers.
Cut along the length of the leg just behind the line where the suckers join onto the flesh of the leg. Make sure your cut does not go to far into the flesh. Once cut away you will be able to pull back and peel off the tough skin from the flesh.
The whole affair of pulling the skin off can become a snotty tricky affair and I like to use the pliers to grip the skin while holding the flesh. Another trick is to cover the whole leg with beach sand. This allows for a better grip on the bait and eliminates the use of pliers. A word of advice is to always have a bucket of water and a clean cloth at hand.
The Octopus leg stripped of its suckers and skin and now ready to be rigged onto the hooks.
Insert the main hook into the leg and run it inside the bait like a worm. Judge how far you would like to present the hook and push it out through the wall of the bait. Thread the trailer hook in the same way and push it through the side of the bait.
Make sure you push the trailer hook through the bait in an opposite direction to the main hook. Feed the line until the two hooks became aligned and tight inside the bait.
Not to much cotton is required as an Octopus leg is very tough and resistant to peckers and the small tooth brigade. What you want to do is to secure the top of the bait as best you can by tightly adding bait cotton around the bait and then the main mono line.
Work your way down to the first hook (trailer hook) and tightly wind your cotton around the bait and onto the shaft of the hook. Wind your cotton around the gape of the hook and again around the bait. This will secure and ‘anchor’ the trailer hook in position and prevent the whole bait from slipping down and bunching up on the main hook.
Work your way down to the main hook and as with the trailer hook work your cotton down the bait over the shaft, around the gape and back onto the bait.
The completed bait well presented on a double hook trace, ready to whirl and ready for almost any good catch.
With a small variation the rig can be fished with fixed sinker. If conditions also allow the use of a bottle sinker then I like adding a wire clip to secure the bait when casting.
Trophy (aka Brett Harris)