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NJfishinGuy

Advice / best way to use livebait?

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ok i have only used lures for largemouth but i have a pond i do pretty well on and i know theres bigger tha im catching in the pond. im thinking maybe some live kellies/minnows might work better. the pond is surrounded somepletly by lilly pads the edge of the pads on alot of the lake are about 10ft deep and some spots have nice drops to about 25ft. another section has some shallows of about 5ft and weedy. ayway i usually do pretty decent with worms and spinnerbaits. So? how would u guys use live minnows? how would i rig them and work them? im also gonna try a fat ika for the 1st time there this weekend im thinking the skirt up swimming under the pads might do well there.

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I fish shinners on a slip float with circle hook ...hooked through both lips ..

If the cover ain't too heavy i hook behind the dorsal fin ..

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If I'm still fishing I hooker in the back and if I'm trolling its threaded and if I'm drifting its threw the lips. For drifting and still fishing > cut of a fin from its side so that it goes in circles and in distress. Fish love it!  and with worms > air inject the collar and send it a foot of the bottom or float it on the weeds. the air will make that worm work!

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I'm sure roadwarrior can school you on some live bait fishing.He'll be along shortly. ;)

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If you are fishing from the bank, you will have to use a bobber. Fish a split shot rig with the minnow about three feet down. If you are fishing from a boat with current, a split shot rig is the ticket. In a lake, a free swimming minnow is probably your best bet.

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When I get desperate for a bite, I'll get out the 3wt fly rod and catch some gills for bait. I use the noodle rod for gill fishing when I want some fish for the table. In my waters, I've found that a small ant pattern will catch the biggest gills when I don't move the fly. I cast to a likely spot and just let it sink. I grease my leader so the ant sinks at about 1 foot in 10 seconds. The least movement will get the biggest gills. When I want bait for bass, I'll cast it out and strip it in. It seems the faster I retrieve the fly, the smaller the gills will be, most of the time. Check the regulations for your state to see if bluegill are ok to use as bait. In Illinois, it's legal as long as you've caught them yourself.  I use a light weight c-rig with a 1/0 hook through the lower back of the gill. The gill will try to swim up if hooked through the lower part of the body near the back end. I'll gently cast it out and leave it set for at least 2 minutes, then move it a few feet and let it set again. The bait will last the longest if you don't keep casting. A 3" bluegill is just about the perfect size. I use about 3' of leader to allow the gill some movement. This works when nothing else will. If you don't have a fly rod, use an ultra light spinning rig, with a small fly and a casting bubble, or a small float. Works just as well, just not as much fun.By the way, if you try this in a river, better use some serious tackle. You may tangle with a big flathead using this rig.

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I LIKE TO USE 4" SPOTTAILS AND GOLDEN SHINERS WITH A SPLITSHOT RIG.........VERY PRODUCTIVE.

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I think you'll still catch plenty of little ones with minnows. The only big bass I've caught on live bait have been using live bluegill while jug fishing for flatheads. We quit jug fishing on one particular lake because we kept catching bass.  :-/

I usually hook minnows under the dorsal fin with the hook facing forward, working under the assumption that the bass is going to attack the head, but my buddy hooks 'em through the lips and usually has similar success.

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Daniel My Brother,

In addition to the two smallmouth in my avatar, I have caught quite a few big bass on minnows.

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RW,

I've admired that avatar for months! All I catch with minnows are crappie and small largemouth, usually with a bobber and splitshot. You mentioned "free swimming minnow" when lake fishing...is that just a minnow on a hook with nothing else? I buy the "large" minnows, but they are seldom longer than 3"...any advice you have for targeting bigger bass with live bait is appreciated.

Thanks,

Dan

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For most lake fishing I still use a split shot rig to get down, but the lakes I fish are all about structure, not cover. If I were fishing weeds, pads or timber I think a free swimming minnow (unweighted) would be the ticket. On a river you will always need a weight.

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USE CRAYFISH!!! I was casting jigs, spinners, cranks, and plastics without even a bite. I was shorefishing in the st. joe river. I saw some shad cruising along the bottom looking for crayfish, at least thats what it looked like. I wanted to catch one of these shad because they were gizzard shad that looked like a good couple pounds. I roll over some rocks and get a small crayfish. First cast (weightless) my line takes off- bam! 2 lb. smallie. I tossed out there again, it sank for about a second or two, line takes off screaming, 21 lb. carp. What a fight on 6 lb. test! Anyways, we couldnt find any more crawdads, but i have been a believer ever since.

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i wonder if crawdads work as good in a lake if they are not natural forage in a lake. im not sure if this pond i fish has them in it so will this affect the fish taking them. ill go to my local pet store and buy them if i have to only like 50 cents a craw.  but i think ill try weighted and weightless next time i can

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