How to Bait a Hook for Worms, Minnows, and Leeches

Video how to hook a leeches for walleye

Whether you are a beginner angler or a seasoned veteran, knowing how to bait a hook is important for fishing success. Live bait is a great way for a beginner angler to catch fish. However, improperly threading live bait onto a hook could kill the bait and no longer provide lifelike action. This article shows you how to properly bait a hook. There are different hooks that work better with each type of live bait and we will discuss the methods of how to bait each one below.

How to Bait a Worm

For a beginner angler, learning how to bait a worm is one of the most important steps in having success on the water. Not only are worms inexpensive, or free, but they are the most popular live bait for fishing. It Is important to have the right size hook for the fish you are targeting. A #6 baitholder hook will do the trick. Push the point of the hook through the end of the worm and push it up the hook towards the knot. Grab the dangling end of the worm, making a loop and push the hook through again and slide it up. Leaving a loop allows the worm to wiggle freely. Repeat the steps a few more times depending on the length of the worm. Leave the end of the worm free to wiggle on the end of the hook. A single worm is great for panfish, but a ball of worms is better for larger catfish and bass. Use a circle hook and repeat the steps for a single worm but with 3-5 worms to ball them up and create a bigger meal.

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How to Bait a Worm Octopus Hook Circle Hook Tailored Tackle

How to Bait a Minnow

Another live bait technique you can learn is how to bait a minnow. When baited correctly, a minnow will swim around and draw attention, similar to how worms wiggle. Live minnows work great for just about everything, especially for crappie and bass. It is important to properly bait the minnow on the hook. There are 2 key ways to bait a live minnow. The first method is to hook the minnow upwards through the bottom and upper lip. The second method is to hook the minnow through its back, just in front of the dorsal fin. The important part here is to skin hook the minnow while being careful not to pierce the spine. Aim for the skin just above the spine and the minnow will swim freely for hours. Hook the minnow in the back when you are floating it under a bobber. Hook the minnow through the mouth if you are working it through the water with a weight or jigging it.

How to bait a Minnow Front Back Shiner Crappie Tailored Tackle

How to Bait a Hook with a Dead Minnow

Overall, it’s just plain challenging to keep your minnows alive, and it’s rare that they all survive. This doesn’t mean that they still don’t catch fish, however, there is a method for casting and retrieving dead minnows to artificially present lively action. Push the hook through the minnows mouth and out through the anus, with the hook facing downward. This is a good way to hook a dead minnow so it stays on the hook and moves more with your line. However, it is up to you to jig and dance the minnow around to recreate a lively or wounded bait fish.

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If you have a pile of dead minnows, put them in a ziplock bag and fill it completely with salt and then put it in the fridge. Salted minnows are an old school staple for trout fishing, but they work well too for putting on lures or using to as an alternative to live minnows.

How to Bait a Leech

Of all the live bait options, leeches are one of the less popular. Creepiness is the root cause. However, leeches produce on the water so you should learn how to bait a leech. These are especially excellent for walleye. To begin, grab the leach by the tail. Next, thread the point of the hook just below the sucker. Lastly, turn the hook sideways and penetrate out through the side of the leach. While this is the most lively presentation, you may lose some leeches. For more security, Grab the leach near the mid-section and thread the hook through one more time. This is a less lively presentation, but will reduce lost leeches. A leeches ability to swim draws attention to fish and gets more bites. Be easy on the cast and keep it low to the water to reduce impact.

How to Bait a Leech Octopus Hook Tailored Tackle

Best Live Bait Hooks

Choosing the right live bait hooks for your situation makes your fishing trip easier. There are 3 main hook styles for live bait and each one has its place with certain baits. Baitholder hooks are best for securing your bait. The double barbs on the hook’s shaft ensure your bait stays on the hook. It is commonly used with worms as they wiggle to escape the hook. The octopus hooks are best for minnows and leeches. It has a short shaft for a smaller profile, but a wide enough gap to secure a minnows mouth or double up on a leech. A circle hook is best for catch and release. The circle hook has a wide gap between it’s barb and shaft. This gap provides clearance so the barb doesn’t wedge itself into the fish’s mouth. However, the larger gap shows more hook and is less subtle than the octopus or baitholder. Use a baitholder hook for worms, an octopus hook for minnows and leaches, and a circle hook for all live bait if catch and release is your goal.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>