Techniques – ground bait attractants

Techniques – ground bait attractants

Dec 31, 2014

Marukyu Sabiki bait: The closest thing yet to a fish magnet!

By Mike Pehanich

My phone chirped like a summer insect suddenly awakened in winter.

I fielded the message.

“Check out this video,” it read. “I think we are on to something!”

It was from Munenori Kajiwara, owner of Japan Import Tackle ( ; phone 909-913-4741 ) SWF had reported on his first North American experience with Marukyu’s Sabiki-style baits last summer. He and Kouichi  (“Oga”) Ogasawara, one of Marukyu’s senior scientists, had tested ground baits developed by the Marukyu team on saltwater and freshwater panfish and baitfish species in Florida after ICAST 2014 in Orlando last July.

Lintaro Kajiwara demonstrates that the Sabiki-style ground bait attractants will attract North American perch with this golden beauty, one of many taken that day.

But the link to this winter video provided different perspective on the Marukyu ground baits. Kajiwara had submerged an Aqua-Vu Micro AV camera in a discharge stream northwest of Chicago. Then he tossed a scoop of Marukyu Sabikikun ground bait within camera view to see if he could conjure some fish action.

Roughly 10 to 15 minutes later, bluegill came into view. They were curious, hungry…and clearly excited about whatever the ground bait had brought to that pool of the tributary creek.

The bluegill numbers multiplied. Then more fish entered the scene. Kajiwara alternated his perspective of the action, first studying the Aqua-Vu screen, then peering into the water in its prime winter clarity through his polarized sunglasses

Check out this video of bluegill reaction to Marukyu’s Sabiki-style ground bait


Several times he dropped additional scoops of attractant into the water. Each time, the fish numbers multiplied, and the pace of activity accelerated.

“Hundreds of bluegill arrived during the afternoon,” said Kajiwara. “But crappie, catfish, carp came, too, and later even a walleye and largemouth bass!”

He did not know if the ground bait directly attracted the bass and walleye or if the schools of bluegill and other potential menu items had drawn those predators.  His sole certainty was that his experiment had drawn fish galore, and that seemed sufficient discovery for that chilly afternoon along the tiny tailrace!

“On to something” he was indeed!

But could he catch them? He rigged a rod for panfish, cast to the edge of the school and immediately hooked up.

Marukyu ground baits

Ground bait is widely used in Japan, Europe and other parts of the world to attract freshwater panfish, carp, and catfish as well as countless ocean species. Although the masses of U.S.  anglers are not yet convinced of the effectiveness of ground baits, the body of proof of its effectiveness on North American waters grows every week, according to Kajiwara.

Marukyu tailors its ground bait varieties to different species, conditions and applications. But the primary ingredient in most of its formulations is krill, tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that are a critical food source for countless freshwater and marine organisms.

“But no one has been able to replicate Marukyu’s krill formulations and the way that they attract fish,” says Kajiwara, who also has tested Marukyu’s ground baits in cold water applications as a member of Japan’s national ice fishing team.

“Although the Sabiki bait is a wet-type product, it doesn’t freeze up on ice,” he added. “I haven’t used it in sub-zero temperatures yet, but I think it’s safe to call it nearly ‘winter-proof!’”

Marukyu’s Sabiki-style ground baits come in two varieties: Sabikikun (1 kg bag) $10 MSRP; Super Amiebi (800g bag) $8 MSRP.

Back to the river

Ground baits, like any attractant, don’t always attract fish immediately. Generally, the closer you are to the concentrations of fish when you start, the faster you will  draw them in. Kajiwara struck pay dirt on his third drop. He believes that he might have drawn fish to the other areas that he spread the Sabiki bait had he had waited more than a few minutes – or perhaps used more attractant. “But once they were attracted to an area, they stayed!” he said.

He pretty much caught fish at will for the rest of the afternoon once the Marukyu ground baits had drawn them in. Fellow fishermen were not so fortunate.

“No one had been catching them before I got there, and very few caught fish after I spread the Sabiki bait,” he said with a shy grin that betrayed the mix of pride and guilt that accompanied his bounteous catch…

“Maybe I took all the fish from them!”

Marukyu ground baits, including its two Sabiki-style ground baits, Sabikikun and High Power Amiebi, are available through Lee’s Global Tackle,, 847-593-6424. Retailers interested in carrying Marukyu products should contact Munenori Kajiwara of Japan Import Tackle, phone: 909-913-4741;








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