Tips on fishing with live bait

Earthworms, nightcrawlers, wigglers. Whatever your choose to call them, they are by far the most popular bait used in freshwater fishing.
While most live baits are limited to certain species of fish, worms are taken by most anything that swims.
I have found the very best time to catch crawlers is in the spring, right after the first good rains when the frost is out of the ground. It seems like they are nervous at this time of the year.
Typically, this occurs in late April and May, but the worms can be gathered all summer long.
Nightcrawlers have long been a favourite bait of mine, and I go through hundreds in a typical summer. They catch all kinds of fish in a wide variety of situations. I especially like them for walleye fishing in June through early September.
’Crawlers are good for big walleyes. I fish them just like a plastic worm except I leave the point of the hook free. They must be retrieved slowly but when presented in this manner, they hover very natural as if crawling over the bottom.
When they are attached to a Lindy Rig, they undulate and drive suspended walleyes crazy. If you would rather use a faster approach to get walleyes to bite, the Lindy Rig it can be either fished slower or faster.
Next to earthworms, minnows probably are the most popular live bait. They are food for a wide variety of game fish, found in practically all freshwater habitats, and when hooked properly, will swim energetically–all factors that make them good bait.
Unfortunately, they are somewhat hard to keep.
Any angler who fishes with minnows knows the difficulty of keeping them alive. The key is to provide them with cool, uncrowded, well-aerated water.
There are many devices which are marketed to do just that but most are somewhat expensive. You may accomplish this yourself in a number of ways.
There are dozens of ways to rig a minnow for fishing but two are used most often. For trolling and casting, run the hook upward through both lips. Your bait then will move through the water in a natural manner.
When still fishing, run the hook through the back just in front of or behind the dorsal fin, being careful to miss the backbone. Hooked there, your minnow will remain lively for quite a while.
The third bait I use a great deal of is the common leech, which are the most plentiful of all the baits. It seems they are natural to all bodies of water, including creeks, rivers, and lakes. And they can be left in a container of water for a long time without food.
Walleyes love leeches almost all year-round (in fact, they are classified as a universal bait for walleyes).
Leeches, minnows, and worms can all be fished below a Thill Float or on a Lindy Rig, or tipped on the end of a Fuzzy Grub, but all in all, they are fish-catching magnets and I never leave home without them.
Give them a try and you will always have some natural bait when you hit the water this summer.

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