Many anglers like fishing with the help of artificial lures. This is because they’re easier and simpler to rig, plus they don’t need to be chopped into several chunks or kept alive and fresh. However, most still prefer using live bait as nothing quite seems to beat the success you achieve from it. If you plan on using live bait such as minnows, you need to know the right way of hooking them. Otherwise, you’ll lose your bait and potential catch. Read on to learn how to hook live minnow properly and the different variations!
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How to Properly Hook a Live Minnow
There are many ways of hooking minnows. The most suitable for you will depend on the size and species of fish you’re targeting, and your personal preference.
Here are the popular methods on how to properly hook a minnow:
Through the dorsal fin is a great way for hooking live minnows. It’s our personal favorite as this method allows the bait to swim or move naturally on water. While you’re hooking the minnow on its dorsal region, take extra care so you don’t hit its spine.
Try passing the hook over, under, or to the other side of its spine. Should you hit it accidentally, it’s likely to die and you’ll have a lower chance of attracting fish.
Hooking live minnow is actually very simple and it’s evident with this next method. Hooking the live bait through its lip is the easiest.
You can hook the minnow in its upper or lower lip. You can also hook it on both lips so you get a more secure hold of the bait.
The method allows the minnow to move freely and attract the predatory fish nearby. However, the bait won’t be swimming freely for long.
This is because when both lips are shut from the hook, there’s not much water that passes through the live bait’s gills. The minnow will die in a few minutes.
This is another method that’s used for hooking minnows. It’s great if you won’t be using a sinker or weight for fishing as too much weight is going to prevent your minnow from swimming freely in the water.
Again, when you’re passing a hook through a minnow (this time through its tail), be extra careful as you don’t want to hit its spine. If you do hit the spine, the live bait will become dead bait soon after.
Quick Strike Hook
A quick strike hook is a favorite of some as it lets them go after the larger species that strike harshly like muskie and pike.
For this particular method, the minnow that’s 7 to 12 inches long is the best option as it’s what attracts larger fish. Of course, you may need a larger hook for a larger minnow.
There’s a need for you to use a heavy-duty line or wire leader and treble hooks (preferably size 6 or 4).
Make sure you position the hook between the minnow’s tail and dorsal region with the other hook in between the head and the dorsal of the minnow. It’s best if you keep the distance between the two hooks around 4 inches.
The great thing about this particular setup is that it allows for a rapid hook set which rarely fails. You’ll be able to set the hook the second you detect a bite from the target fish.
Different Types of Minnows
There are over 300 different species of minnows that are present in the waters across the US. Most of their population, however, is depleted from the introduction of sportfish.
- Bigmouth Shiner: This one is common in Tennessee. It only grows around 3 inches long and it has a grayish-yellow tint on its back and a silver/metallic hue on the sides. As of this moment, the bigmouth shiner populates the Mississippi River, Great Lakes, and Hudson Bay. A few of them are also present in Illinois, the Platte River system, Arkansas, and Iowa.
- Fathead Minnow: Most of this type of minnow live in Canada and the US. Regarding its appearance, the fish has a rosy-red and golden tint on its scales. In general, the dusky stripe that extends along the sides of the fish and on its back is what distinguishes it from other species. Because of the widespread distribution of fathead minnows, they’re some of the most commonly used live baits for fishing. They have a huge population in different bodies of water as they can tolerate low-oxygen water, specifically in small lakes and ponds. Some of them also live in bigger lakes, streams, and other habitats.
- Emerald Shiner: The slender fish can grow a maximum of 4 inches in length. It’s present in waters across the Gulf of Mexico, Canada, and North America, particularly in deeper lakes and large rivers. They are also in smaller bodies of water such as ponds. There are studies that have shown emerald shiners consume tiny organisms e.g. zooplankton and insects.
Minnows present a crucial part of our food chain as they’re the most favored food source of large predatory fish.
The wide world of this small fish adds their very own variety to living as different species prefer varying habitats. The small fish sometimes go unnoticed; however, they serve important functions in our ecosystem.
As there are so many different species of minnows, they are very fun to explore if you’re interested in knowing more about them.
You now know how to hook live minnow in different ways. Fishing using live bait such as minnows can increase your odds of catching large predatory fish.
Regardless of the species, minnows are abundant in fresh bodies of water across North America. You can catch them before fishing, breed them, or buy minnows from a fishing bait/tackle shop in your area.
Any of the ways to hook live minnow mentioned above can bring you an increased level of fishing success. Put what you’ve learned to the test soon!
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