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Thread: Live bait hooks

  1. #1
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    Achievements Devil's AdvocateHappy Anniversary!

    Live bait hooks

    I troll most of the time, but a couple weeks ago, I got out the bait tank. I have a set of rods I keep rigged just for live herring. I'm wondering what hooks do most guys use.
    Brand, size, style, etc. Any help appreciated.

  2. #2
    Catching on every cast, Legend wkelly's Avatar
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    Achievements Posting GuruLet's Talk...Happy Anniversary!I'm Not Alone!
    I use gamakatsu circle or octopus hooks, usually 2/0 for blueback herring; 1/0 if herring are small and 3/0 or larger if using trout or shad for live bait. In general inline circle hooks (as opposed to offset) are best for avoiding swallowing the hook and easier release. I hook the herring thru the nose (side to side) so they can swim more naturally. Others may have different preferences but this works for me.
    This article is useful: https://www.onthewater.com/circle-ho...r-striped-bass

  3. #3
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    Achievements A Little Bird Told MeHappy Anniversary!
    I don't fish with live bait all that often, but a few times in the past when I was cheap and trying to stretch out the herring I have occasionally trolled with recently dead herring. When I do this, I add a stinger hook a few inches in back of a hook through the nose. Put the rear hook in so there is a bit of a bend in the herring and it will spin, which I think can trigger some more aggressive hits - make sure you use a good swivel above the hooks ;-). You can do this with circle hooks for both hooks if you're going to release the fish or you can use smaller trebles (size 4 or a bit larger) if you plan to keep the fish. I first heard of this fishing for pike in northern lakes, but have caught bass (stripers, hybrid, spots, & largemouth) on Hartwell like this.

  4. #4
    Catching on every cast, Legend wkelly's Avatar
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    Achievements Posting GuruLet's Talk...Happy Anniversary!I'm Not Alone!
    Interesting idea. I've used dead herring as a tail on bucktail jigs power reeling over fish before, and have used stinger/ trailers with larger baits like trout or shad to nail short-striking spots, but haven't specifically tried trolling like you describe. Herring will sometimes slip up on th hook and end up twirling when downlining, but i don't know if I've ever caught anything when that was happening and try to avoid it.
    Any use for dead herring seems like a good idea to me, since that's what we end up with as the lake heats up the summer!

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    Achievements Happy Anniversary!A Little Bird Told Me
    Use as small of a hook as possible to match your bait. Last thing you want is a 5/0 hook in a 4? blueback. I normally stay in the 3/0-4/0 range but sometimes drip down to a 1/0 if it?s tiny bait or I?m pulling shiners. Gamakatsu j-hook only for me. Black color. I?d say they have never let me down but we hung a big boy that we never got a visual in McKenna creek about 5 years ago that straightened a 4/0 hook. Had the drag little too stiff that morning. I use a hole punch on a lawnmower inner tube to put in the apex of the bend of the hook to keep my small bait from riding up the shank of the hook. Helps with it turning back and double hooking itself but dosent eliminate it.

  6. #6
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    Achievements Script WriterDevil's AdvocateI'm Not Alone!Happy Anniversary!
    I use owner mutu light circle 1/0 and 2/0. Never used anything bigger. But I have not used big bait yet. Have only used blue back herring. How has the fishing been? I cut my striper fishing short this summer by getting a new puppy. Getting her ready for this winter's bird seasons. Had to retire the old dog so it's next one up! good luck all.

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