Minnows are a common live bait that can be used to catch bass, walleye, crappie and a host of other game-fish species. There are three common methods of hooking a minnow; which method you choose is largely determined by how you plan to fish the minnow. Minnows are available at bait shops everywhere and you can also catch your own with a throw-net or minnow trap.
Nose-hooking involves inserting the hook into the lower lip of the minnow and bringing it out through the upper lip, or nose. This method is best used when you are trolling a minnow or when you plan to cast the minnow and retrieve it. The nose-hooked minnow will move forward naturally when you bring it in.
If you are fishing with a minnow under a float or bobber, back-hooking is the way to go. Insert the hook through the minnow at mid-back, bringing it in one side and out the other. Avoid hitting the minnow's spine, however, as this will paralyze the minnow and prevent it from moving naturally. A back-hooked minnow will be able to swim in a natural upright position under a float.
When you want your minnow to be able to swim freely without sinkers or a bobber, hook it through the meaty flesh just in front of the tail. Tail-hooking gives a minnow the ability to swim around freely, pulling your line behind it. Again, avoid the spine because damaging it will prevent it from swimming around in a lifelike manner.
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