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Live Bait Tactics


Mark K
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Just curious. Very little discussion on livebait techniques. Am I the only one using them? I really like float fishing live bait. I've been really fond of live helgies, but lately I'm really impressed with what a good old fashioned crawler will do. I have been keeping them in an old insulated lunch bag with an ice pack. Buying several dozen at a time ( at BPS) and rebaiting frequently. Light line, light bobbers, quality swivels and fine (not too fine) wire hooks.

 

 

Matt Mullady talked about using conditioned crawlers in his seminars. It was pretty interesting.

 

I am always open to livebaiting technique, but in particular suing "native " baits such as helgies, mollies (or madtoms), chubs etc....

 

also rigging technique...rods lines etc.

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Guest rich mc

cant beat a leech for smallies.you do need a little larger hook as the leech will ball up in the fishs mouth and a good hookset is hard with alight wire crawler hook.leech acts just like a cut tail worm. rich

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Mark,

I wrote an article, "Float Fishing...", that was published in the previous issue of the ISA Newsletter.

Long rods

Superbraid line (that floats)

small swivel

weights

leader with applicable hook and the opp end tied to the swivel

stop-knot, and

floats (fixed or slip)

 

Very informative info and very productive.

 

You can use a variety of live bait, plastic worms, grubs, or the like,

that are effective.

 

 

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I try to use artificials because I can cover a lot more water. If I am having difficulty catching or getting any follows, live bait tells me if there are any fish in the area.

 

I usually will use a leech on a bare hook and thats it. I let the leech do its thing. If I use a crawler, I'll use a split shot to get it down and fish it like a rubber worm...jerk and twitch.

 

I don't like using bobbers with live bait because a lot of times the fish will inhale the bait and swallow the hook. By not using the bobber I have a good feel for any bites. The key is to set the hook as soon and you detect a strike.

 

I like using leeches over crawlers because I can tell if a bluegill is trying to steal my bait. I just pull on the line slowly to get it away from the bluegill and I don't lose my bait. Minnows are good, but I think it's more stuff to carry. I like hitting a lot of spots. Minnows also don't have the color contrast I like...leeches are black, and in stained water it's easier for the fish to locate. If I use minnows I fish them the same way as a crawler. I'll use a hook and splitshot and fish it aggressively. I want a lot of movement.

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I've personally found that a live crawdad will usually get HAMMERED on the toughest of days.

More often than not, within 30 seconds of the craw hitting the water.

 

Lost about a 20+ lb. class cat a couple years ago on the Kankakee using this technique.

Still grieving over that loss.....

 

Smallies of all sizes, and BEHEMOTH catfish will treat them like it's the best thing they found to eat all day.

 

Caught an 18" smallie on one behind a boulder, cast out a fresh craw (seined from the same waters) and managed an 8lb. Flathead on the next cast....behind the same boulder.

 

My next favorite live bait is fresh sucker heads....but the smallies aren't gonna much care for those. The biggest cats tear into them.

Think Wilmington.

Keep an ultra-light handy to get the bait, then use your serious rod and terminal tackle to hook up the bloody, dripping luscious heads.

 

Slip float fishin' is fun.

Yellow string, red bead and a float.

Pretty simple rig.

Haven't done it in a long time....probably should get back to it.

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I've personally found that a live crawdad will usually get HAMMERED on the toughest of days.

More often than not, within 30 seconds of the craw hitting the water.

 

I've experienced this as well on a very hard fished section of the Wisconsin. I fished all my best spots and came up with a few rather small bass (by Wisconsin standards). A crayfish scooted up on shore so I tossed it on my jig and cast it behind a boulder that is the first piece of eye candy you see walking out of the lot. It gets hit all the time. I promptly caught a 19-1/2" smallie. Was almost too simple.

 

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Circle hooks with a float and you elimanate gut hooking. You can get longer drifts because you don't need to set the hook, just start reeling and keep a tight line.

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I remember using nightcrawlers one time with a friend and catching 15 different species of fish in one day. It was kind of fun trying to guess what kind of fish you had hooked.

Phil

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I used to fish a lot of live bait and enjoyed the multi-species action that comes with live bait fishing. The last year or 2 I've almost completely stayed away from it. I found new lures and techniques that work almost as good most days on the sight predator fish like pike, walleye, and bass. The new gulps have had a lot to do with my success without live bait especially with walleye. For the most part buying, carrying and keeping live bait alive is kind of a hassel. That and the techniques require to fish live bait result in a lot more snags and prevent you from covering a lot of water and fishing tight to the best structure.

 

I do not want to discount the ability of live bait because day in and day out it is the most consistant way to catch fish. Especially if you have specific areas where you know the fish are there but they are just pressured or finicky. I do still break down and fish minnows during the cold water season. Early in the spring and into the fall the live bait to lure catch ratio can be 10:1 on most days. The difference is just too great to ignore. Also minnows are a lot eaier to keep alive when its cold. I can keep a minnow bucket in a cooler in the trunk of my car for up to a week sometimes and most of the minnows are still alive. I fish my live bait almost exclusively on jig heads of the lightest weight I can get away with based on the depth and current of my fishing situation. I rarely deep hook fish with the jig and minnow. At least not any more than I would with plastics.

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The best day that I ever had fishing for smallies was using live bait (minnows) on the Kish during Thanksgiving weekend. I landed forty five smallies up to 18 inches in just over three hours of fishing on a cold, blustery day.

 

I seldom use live bait now except when I am fishing for walleye. As Paul stated, Gulp works pretty well as a live bait substitute if you are willing to put up with the smell. Gulp leeches have worked well for me for bass and walleye in Canada. A light circle hook with a Gremlin bullshot for weight is a great way to present live leeches, minnows, or Gulp baits.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My most successful live bait is a live crawdad. We just carry little minnow nets and lift up rocks in ankle deep water, you can catch as many as you want,theyre everywhere. And stick them in a water bottle till we use them. I use a 7 foot rod and an ultra light reel with 6 lb braid and just hook the craw on a hook with no weight, toss it out. Most the time they hit it on the fall but occasianally il let it sink to the bottom.

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ken mentioned float fishing w/ live bait. it is without a doubt the most effective way to present live bait IMO by far!! I've benn centerpinning for about 2 years now and dont know how I fished so long without one.

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I've experienced this as well on a very hard fished section of the Wisconsin. I fished all my best spots and came up with a few rather small bass (by Wisconsin standards). A crayfish scooted up on shore so I tossed it on my jig and cast it behind a boulder that is the first piece of eye candy you see walking out of the lot. It gets hit all the time. I promptly caught a 19-1/2" smallie. Was almost too simple.

 

 

Steve, they must have changed the law since you tried this. I was reading through the Wisconsin fishing regulations and it is now illegal to possess live crayfish and angling equipment simultaneously on any inland water except the Mississippi River.

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