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How To Use Minnows and How to Bait Minnows Best

How to bait minnows on the hook depends on the way you are fishing. Baiting minnows for crappie and how to use minnows for black bass are the same if you are using a bobber to fish them. A big factor in how to put minnows on a hook is whether the minnow will be sitting in one spot or whether you will be trolling with a minnow or using a minnow as live bait with a bait casting rig.
Using minnows to fish for crappie is usually done by baiting the minnow through the body just below the back dorsal fin.  When you put a minnow on the hook this way, make sure you just go deep enough to get a firm bite of the body without damaging the organs of the fish or breaking its back or tearing its flesh more than necessary.  Use a sharp hook when baiting minnows for this reason and so the hook sets in the fish’s mouth easily.  I know you’re cheap, but avoid using those rusty old hooks that you find on the bottom of your tackle box for any kind of fishing!  Matter of fact, you should always keep a fish hook sharpening stone in your tackle box.

If you are using a minnow to catch trout while trolling with minnows, baiting minnows is done through the mouth.   When baiting minnows through the mouth, just like baiting any baitfish in the mouth, open the minnow’s mouth and put the hook through the roof of the minnow’s mouth near the lips so not too much damage is done to its head.  Even though the trolling motion will make the minnow “swim”, I like to fish with live minnows if at all possible.  If you just put the hook in a minnow through both lips, you sew the mouth shut so it can’t breathe and it dies quickly.  Baiting a minnow through the back as mentioned above drags it sideways through the water and you are more apt to scare the fish than catch one!  

When using a bait casting setup and fishing with live bait for striped bass, how to bait a minnow is a matter of preference between the two methods above.  But when fishing with minnows for striped bass and other fish using live bait, means “live”!  Do what you can to damage the minnow as little as possible with the hook.  If the minnow is large or you are using other baitfish that is large, it is best to thread the minnow with a hook threader up to the head from the tail and put the hook facing upwards above the head.  The hook threader pushes the line just under the skin up to the head and out the skin where the hook is then tied on and the eye carefully reinserted back into the skin in the hole that the line came from.  Baiting a minnow this way requires a large minnow or the damage will kill it and your fishing success will be truly hampered.  Bait fish like Gobes and large shad don’t come cheap, unless you catch them yourself, so taking a little care when baiting a minnow or other bait fish can save you a bundle!

Sometimes, we cast for striped bass in shallow moving water where it is flowing out of a pipe or flood gate or over a weir.  Baiting minnows through the upper lip is the minnow baiting method I use for this type of fishing, but I have friends that bait them through the back.

Another good minnow fishing tip when you are trolling for trout with minnows is to bait it through the lip and leave some line dangling with a small treble hook on it that drifts back behind the tail of the minnow when it is pulled along.  A lot of the time the trout will hit the back of the minnow and steal the bait without getting to the hook that is in the lip of the minnow and this hook will nail them almost every time.  We have been known to do the same thing when we are trolling with minnows for striped bass.

Good luck with your fishing and check out the rest of our site here.  We are a site to put fishermen and women together and teach each other, socialize, and show off our fish pics to each other!  Our site is totally free and we would love to have you join us in the fun.  We have some great “fantasy fishing tourneys” planned and just by posting a fish pic on our site you could win $10,000 in our membership drive by being one of the first 30,000 members to join us!  Check us out!