Baiting a hook is the most basic of fishing skills, yet it is one skill that is often done incorrectly. Properly baiting a hook is perhaps the most important skill to learn when it comes to fishing with worms, minnows, and any other live bait. When done correctly, the bait will be securely mounted on the hook so that it will not fall off during casting, yet the bait will be presented to the fish in such a way as to induce a fish into biting.
How to Bait a Hook with a Nightcrawler:
Just about every angler has his or her own method for baiting a hook with a worm. The most effective method, especially when fishing for trout or panfish, is to cut the nightcrawler in half. Not only will half of a worm be more secure on a hook, but it will disperse more scent into the water than a whole worm. It will also stretch out your supply of bait. Insert the point of the hook close to the end of the worm, preferably on the cut end, and with your fingers, push the body of the worm up to the eye of the hook so that the shank of the hook is threaded through the body of the worm. The point should protrude a little before the middle of the worm, allowing the unhooked end of the worm to move or “wiggle” while in the water.
How to Bait a Hook with a Minnow:
Many anglers insist upon hooking a live minnow through the eyes. Although this method keeps the torso and tail free to move around in the water, it will significantly shorten the life of the minnow. A better method is to hook the minnow through its back. This will keep the minnow alive much longer and will not interfere with its movement in the water. The key is to insert the hook in such a way that the point of the hook protrudes in front of the minnow’s tail. This is important because most fish attack smaller baitfish from behind.
How to Bait a Hook with Crickets, Grasshoppers, and Other Insects:
Crickets and grasshoppers are excellent baits to use during the summer months. The important thing is to hook them securely because hard-bodied insects, unlike worms or grubs, have a tendency to fly off of the hook during casting. When baiting a hook with a hard-bodied insect, insert the hook through the soft underbelly of the insect.
While some fishermen may swear by other methods, the methods described above are tried and true and will always produce results.