Primo Baits

To catch lots of fish, you need great bait. Every keen fisher knows that. But finding a ready (and legal) supply of the best bait is easier said than done.

Entrepreneur Mark Hullett has the answer with a new line of processed paua, mussel and pilchard baits soon to be on offer from his Hawkes Bay business, Kai Koura Craypots and Primo Baits.

Mark has developed a legal supply of shucked paua for recreational fishers and a means by which it will actually stay on the hook. He buys from registered paua receivers, and he will sell with a paper trail so the purchaser can always verify that his or her bait was legally sourced.

As for keeping it on the hook, Mark encases each piece of bait in a small cotton elastic net bag half the size of a golf ball. He does the same with whole mussels, bought from commercial mussel farmers, and with pilchards sourced from New Zealand suppliers and importers.

"Most fish will go crazy for paua or wouldn't be a serious fisherman if you didn't know that," says Mark. "The problem has always been how to get your hands on enough legal paua and how to attach it, or mussel, firmly enough to the hook. With my idea, the bait oozes out through the net to form a ball and of course, fish are attracted to it by smell."

The bait bags are packaged in such a way that they can be stored in a home freezer without giving offence to humans!

Mark has trialled his product with recreational fishers and had great feedback. "One group caught 14 fish in three hours and used just five of the baits," he says. The net bag idea worked so well that a single bait could be used several times.

The product has evolved from Mark's lifelong love of recreational fishing and from his small business producing crayfish pots. Kai Koura Craypots' own-designed rectangular pots are made of galvanised steel for longevity and Mark produces them, to meet growing demand, from his retirement property near Hastings. It was a business started six years ago when he retired from being a property investor in Wellington. He experimented with paua and mussel as baits in Kai Koura pots, and the idea for a commercial product developed from there.

Mark took the idea to the Ministry of Fisheries which confirmed the legality of using paua for recreational fishing as long as there was an accompanying paper trail clearly showing that each bait came from a legal source. "I saw a gap in the market and decided to do something about it."

Primo Bait products will soon be offered through ‘Z' service stations, nationwide, with 25 of the paua, mussel or pilchard-filled net bags in each packet. To take his business to this next level, Mark joined GS1 and each of this packets will, of course, carry an EAN-13 bar code.