FIRST CATCH YOUR PRAWN
Any angler should know that one of the very best live baits you can use on float or ledger for many species of sea fish is live prawn.
You can find them around walls; piles; rocks; jetties; and any weed covered structures. They are nocturnal, seeking cover in daylight. Wouldn't you, if you were that far down the food chain?
You can catch them using a long handled net or drop net to scrape over likely locations, particularly at low tide.
You can use a weighted and baited drop net if you prefer, although the likelihood is that when you return to lift it you will find it contains more hard backed green river crabs than prawns!
Ed: I've now used two of these pots to catch bait over the past couple of weeks. You just attach them to a rope & dan boy. Put some extra weight in the pot to stop it rolling away in the tide. Put a scad or mackerel body in the bait cage & pop it down near some weedy rocks.
I reckon that within 24 hours, I get about 10 to 30 prawns in the pot. The smallest prawns escape through the holes, leaving just the best ones for bait. These are good!
I've also bought a "Flambeau Flote-Rite" plastic moulded courge in which to store my prawns while I fish. It cost just over £10 from Torbay Angling, Paignton.
It has a spring loaded plastic lid you can depress to get your bait out. It has a keel, to ensure it tows well alongside your boat. There is a lead weight moulded into the base.
When you stand it up inside your boat while travelling to and from a mark, it retains about half a gallon of water in its lower part which is enough to keep your prawns alive.
However, if, as I did, you forget to lift the courge on-board while travelling at speed, the action of the waves opens the spring loaded hatch and releases all your precious live bait into the sea!
Ed: B****r - I've done that three times now!
I now tie it over the side of my boat near the helm position to remind me to lift it before moving off.