What is fishing Burley?

Preparing good burley prior to a fishing trip can make for a very productive and effective session of fishing. Essentially fishing burley is the release of small amounts of fish food into a waterway. This is used to attract fish into your location, hold them there and most importantly trigger a feeding frenzy while you cast your bait over the mayhem.

Fishing burley doesn’t have to be over-complicated and can be as simple as you like. From crumbling bread over the water, cutting up pilchard and casting over your fishing line, or creating a burley mix and releasing it through a burley pot.


Factors for a good Burley mix

What makes for a good burley mix? When it comes to making a good burley mix there are a few factors to consider and these include:


  • Scent – A good burley mix has a strong scent trail that attracts fish from far and wide. This can be best achieved with tuna oil or a fish attractant oil.
  • Already existing food – Consider the type of bait already available and the target fish are feeding on. Baitfish such as pilchard, whitebait, and garfish or other alternatives like sandworms and mussels just to name a few can be added into a burley mix.
  • Frequency – One of the best advice I can give you when it comes to using Burley is to use a little at a time. We don’t want to overfeed our catch but initiate a feeding frenzy. I think of it like this, we’re serving the appetizers before we serve the main course on our hook.
  • Water Column – Depending on the type of fish your targeting will determine how you burley. For example, if I was targeting Garfish I would throw bread crumbs over the surface of the water. As they predominantly inhabit the top water column. If it were Snapper or Whiting I would use a burley pot and sit it just above the bottom of the seabed.


Often the result of using burley brings in bigger fish if deep water fishing


How to make fishing Burley?

Creating your own burley mix from scratch is quite easy. If it was for saltwater fishing I would simply have a combination of chicken pellets, tuna oil, bread and mix in offcuts of either pilchard or whitebait.

Alternatively, if it were for freshwater fishing then bread, fish attractant oil, and grub mix will get the fish curious if they’re there. Various Burley pots are available on the market and can range from plastic pots to heavy-duty wired pots that will last for a long time.


My get started burley mix for saltwater bait fishing:

Burley Bucket

Chicken Pellets or Burley Pellets


Tuna Oil

Bait fish off cuts (Pilchard or Whitebait)


Alternatively, buy fishing Burley

If making your own fishing Burley doesn’t suit you then alternatively burley mix can be bought from any local tackle store or online. They often come in pellet form and can quite easily be mixed in with tuna oil or fish attractant oil to give it that extra scent while in the water.

If you’re going with this option I recommend adding in bread into your mix as well to ensure the tuna oil gets soaked up and has a slow release while in the water.


10 thoughts to “What is fishing Burley?”

  1. My husband, John, loves fishing. I am surprised that I have never heard of fishing burley before or never seen anyone use this strategy. It makes a lot of sense, I want my fish dinner! You can probably tell that we are not lucky every time when we go fishing. The next coming one that we are planning is to Pulaski in NY for Salmon, but that is easy. It’s a huge event and we always get a bite. How long does it take for burley to attract the fish? Does it work for you every time?

    1. Hi Nuttanee,

      Is that a fishing event? Sounds very exciting! 

      To be honest, regarding your question it’s a dependents answer. Fishing burley is not a be all and end all solution, though if the fish are there then they’ll be tempted to come closer to your spot and hang around for much longer.

      Will it work every time? No, if there aren’t any fish in the fishing area they simply won’t be there to be attracted by the burley. 

      But burley is well worth the effort on piers and boats as they help a great deal when it comes to bringing in and holding fish in your location.

      Sorry Nuttanee, sounds like i’ve gone full circle but hopefully this helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. A fellow Aussie! I’ve always enjoyed a casual fish here and there, but to be honest I’ve always been pretty rubbish at it! I’ve never known how to get started really and when it comes to bait I have no idea whats good and whats not. I’m keen to do more on my roadtrips however.

    This article on burley was perfect for me, just in explaining what it is actually used for, but also the recipe for making my own burley. I also checked out the rest of the site and some really good starter tips for someone like me – keen but has no clue! I think for my next road trip I’m going to do a bit more planning and research, learn the basics here and then see how I go! Might even see how I go with the homemade burley!

    1. Hi Zak,

      Thanks for taking the time and reading through my post and leaving some great feedback. I think with a little bit of practise and right knowledge you’ll be reeling in big fish in no time. All the best on your road trip and feel free to ask me any questions here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thanks for taking your time to engage in this research. I have been surfing online and learning how to fish and increase my skills in fishing. Suddenly I came across the burley mix but had no idea on how to make use of it or how it is prepared or even what it is made of. Thanks for this easy to understand article. I know all what I think is required of me . thumbs up for this awesome post.

  4. This is really a very interesting read. I never even heard of fishing burley when it comes to fishing let alone knowing what it means.

    But when it comes to the oil aspect, aside from tuna oil, is the fish attractant oil a specific oil or are there ranges of it that one can choose from?

    Hope to hear from you soon and thanks for sharing.


    1. Hi Queen,

      Thanks for reading my post and leaving a comment. To be honest, most fish attractant oils are primary made of tuna oil, Aniseed oil, and other fish stimulants. 

      Various ranges may be marketed to us but they are all very similar. When it comes to choosing the right fish attractant oil consider if it’s water soluble. Water soluble fish attractant oils are the ones we should be choosing as this leaves a scent in the water while fishing and helps bind and hold our burley together.

  5. Another great post here Vinnie, I have been reading your posts here on your website and you have got me interested in fishing, I spoken to a couple of my friends who go fishing often and they said I can go with them so I will be giving fishing another shot, it’s been a few years since I last went fishing, I know my friends are competitive so I’m tempted to keep your tips and advice to myself for a while just to give me a sporting chance, I will certainly try this Burly mix, however, i think I’ll buy it rather than make my own, thank you for sharing.  

    1. Hi Russ,

      Thanks for taking the time and reading some of my posts and leaving me with some feedback. I’m sure you will out fish your mates with ease in no time. Good luck and be sure to let me know how you go ๐Ÿ™‚

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