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Thread: live bait rigging suggestions

  1. #1
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    live bait rigging suggestions

    I'm new here and have a question about rigging live bait, esp. minnows for lmb's, white bass, etc.

    I'll be bank fishing with my son on the Highland Lakes (Lake Marble Falls and Inks mostly). I've been bass fishing for years, but haven't used minnows/shiners since fishing on Caddo Lake for white perch (crappie in north LA) with my grandparents. So I'm looking for rigging suggestions.

    We do the regular float/weight/hook setup, but what else works around here?

    We were fishing at Johnson park in MF during spring break with worms and some lures with minimal success. The boy (he's 5) said he wanted to do something different so I rigged up a quick Carolina rig and loaded the hook with nightcrawlers. On the first cast he caught a little perch and was stoked.
    I'm curious if the same Carolina rig would work with minnows? Or should I just simplify it with a hook and some split shot?

    I'm really just looking for the easiest rig that I can use with the boy to get us on some fish. Any other tips for a bank fisher on the Highland Lakes would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
    HH
    1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
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  2. #2
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    I am not sure about minnows but with jumbo shiners I use thin wire Kahl Hooks and hook them through the nose or eyes. Typically size 1 or 2 and up to a 2/0 hooks for bigger shad. The key with live bait is use the lightest wire hook you can for the specieis and size bait. The key is having lively bait. Heavy wire or oversized hooks wear the bait out and they die quickly. For shad hook them through the nose or eyes for the most part. Hooking them through the tail can also be productive.
    Emac, jlemaux, RO and 1 others like this.

  3. #3
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    Hey Brandon, how do you fish shad in shallow water? Say less than 20 feet. I would think it would be hard to just drop baits down when that shallow.

    I've seen guys using balloon rigs on Whitney. More or less like bobbers.

    Planner boards work, but I don't have any.

  4. #4
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    John to be honest that is my weakest spot. Free lining and balloons have been my best luck. Double anchor with cut bait works extremely well. I have caught them straight down but the bigger fish come from cut bait and balloons

  5. #5
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    It seems at that depth they are either feeding on the bottom or on top. No suspended fish. When i mark them I usually fish two or three cranks up. Keep in mind shallow fish are feeding and eat anything. Its the big fish I am figuring out.
    jlemaux likes this.

  6. #6
    RO
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    We used to do well drift fishing C-rigs with 7-10 inch gizzard shad on Texoma by the islands in the early 90s. Not sure if that pattern holds, but look forward to trying it out again...

    If you're going to try C-rigging from shore, you might consider a weedless hook to prevent hangups.
    Last edited by RO; 03-25-2013 at 07:01 PM.
    jlemaux likes this.

  7. #7
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    I only fish with live bait for crappie...and only in the past couple of years for stripers and hybrids..

    Here is an interesting article:
    Bait Hooking 101

    Fishing and Terminal Tackle
    Using proper tackle to match bait size can increase number of hits. For example, if the bait is three inches long, stay with 3 ought or less on your hook size. For Big Gizzard Shad 8 to 18 inches long, use 6 and 8 ought hooks. Seven foot heavy action rods with 30lb big game main lines work fine. Use a swivel and about 4 foot of leader line. You can vary the size of the leader from 15 - 30lb depending on the size of the bait and time of the year. I recommend good reels with clickers like the Garcia 6500 series. Circle Hooks will help you release your fish in good shape when using live bait.

    Hooking a Live Bait
    Shad live longer if hooked through front lips or bottom lip through nostril when trolling, If you are still fishing the most common placement of hook is under the dorsal fin. Front lip hook technique makes the shiner swim in a downward motion, and works great when trolling. Hooking in the dorsal fin will make the bait swim up and away from the line or bobber, thus creating more action, but the bait will wear down much quicker and die sooner, so wait until you are anchored to try this technique. Anal fin hooking close to back bone, but taking care not to touch spine, will make bait swim down and away. Shiners can actually be steered under vegetation to exact points where you want to be with practice.
    Bait Presentation
    When casting live bait, remember the object is to get them to the fish in good condition. Underhand pitching or swinging side arm prevent hard impact with the water, thus helps to keep all the scales intact. Scales that are knocked off leave white spots on your bait that can be seen under water as well as makes your bait weak. Take the time to hit your target the first time without repeated casts. Just remember you are not fishing with artificial bait, so let the shiner or shad do his job. when anchored set your lines at different depths and adjust to where hits are coming from

  8. #8
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    One good rig if you know how deep the bottom your fishing is (roughly.)

    Set a slip float above a sliding sinker (1/4-1 oz depending on bait,wind,current,target fish, etc.) about two feet from a small light wire hook (about size 4 ( http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqEOKpo...(nmjQ~~_12.GIF ) connected with a palomar or clinch knot preferably (size of knot really matters here make it as smal as you can w/o losing strength.)) Set a stopper (rubber band tied to an over hand knot on the line works and its easier to use than the commercial ones) at about two feet deeper than what you expect the bottom to be.
    The minnow is rigged weird here so if it doesn't work right for you use what your usually do, either way works I just like this way.
    At the very tip of the tail pull the hook through or almost through and (about half way up the body before the organs) push the hook-tip back through this will keep most minnows on and alive for a good long while (unless its done wrong.) It also gives it an interesting dying fish appearance (I know they all have that but still.)

    This rig is one I use when I'm fishing for skittish bass or trout in california so they don't get spooked when the pole tip puts pressure on their jaws and the mystique of watching that cork go down never gets old =D . I'd reccomend setting out a perch pole so your son doesn't get bored while waiting for the bruisers to bite. (best for 10 y/o's and under.)
    BrandonA likes this.
    Being out there is the fun the fish are just a bonus. I'm a native californian but I lived in Texas for the better part of four years and my heart lives there

  9. #9
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    I fish almost exclusivly with shad. I can not stress the importance of using a rod designed for live bait. Your bass rods won't work. I prefer the Ugly Stik striper rod in either 7' or 7'6" med light action. These rods have a very soft tip. Fish will hold onto the shad longer!!



 

 

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