Berley is ground-bait scattered by an angler in the water to attract fish to a line or lure. Anglers use a variety of baits for berley, such as bread, or fish heads and guts. Poultry mash and tinned cat food make more unusual berleying material, although this pales beside a Bulletin article in 1936 suggesting 'a kerosene-tinful of rabbit carcasses boiled to a pulp' as the best berley for Murray cod. Berley first appears in 1852 as a verb-to berley is to scatter ground-bait. The writer observes that the locals are baiting a fishing spot ('burley-ing') with burnt fish. Some twenty years later the report of a New South Wales Royal Commission into Fisheries notes: 'The bait should be crabs. It is usual to wrench legs and shell off the back, and cast them out for berley.' This is the earliest occurrence of the word as a noun. The origin of the word is unknown.

Australian idioms. 2014.

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  • berley — /ˈbɜli / (say berlee) noun 1. any bait, as chopped fish or broken bread or chopped green weed mixed with sand, thrown into the water by fishermen to attract fish. 2. Colloquial vomit, resulting from seasickness. 3. Colloquial leg pulling; good… …  

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  • berley — ber·ley …   English syllables

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