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Thread: Live Bait Fishing 101

  1. #1
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    Live Bait Fishing 101

    Bull minnows are the only live bait I have ever used in saltwater, Did fairly well on flounder at the PCB pier years ago. For live shrimp, what type and size hook do ya'll use ? Do you use any size lead with the shrimp or just a cork ? The fishing reports lately have me convinced live bait is the way to go. The bubble rig is very hard on the old wrist and shoulder now days. Went and got a bait bucket for next trip in October. Good luck and tight lines all.

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    I use a #6 treble for Spanish on a 50 lb mono leader. Lead (1/16 to 1/4) and cork or not according to current and wind. On a still enough day I'll freeline the shrimp with no lead or cork.

    I like to hook the shrimp in the head just under the "horn", but be careful of the little black spot that serves as a brain (I'm told it's actually a ganglion). Get too close to that and the shrimp will die.
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    RTR anyway.

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    Rigging depends on target species. ^Above ^ is similar to what most folks use for spanish mackerel.
    I prefer a #4 or #2 Tru-Turn singlehook myself with a short (3" long) piece of light single strand wire.

    Freelining for speckled trout usually involves tying the hook (a small treble #10, but larger or smaller depending on the size of the hook) directly onto the main line. Add splitshot as needed for weight in wind or current.

    Bottomfishing or suspending for slotreds, sheepshead, mangoves, etc. use a 6" to 18" mono or fluorocarbon leader with an appropraite size and style hook on one end and swivel on the other. This tied onto mainline below whatever size egg sinker is appropriate for the conditions.

    These rigs are highly adjustable to fit whatever conditions and species are present...

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    Quote Originally Posted by frednic View Post
    I use a #6 treble for Spanish on a 50 lb mono leader. Lead (1/16 to 1/4) and cork or not according to current and wind. On a still enough day I'll freeline the shrimp with no lead or cork.

    I like to hook the shrimp in the head just under the "horn", but be careful of the little black spot that serves as a brain (I'm told it's actually a ganglion). Get too close to that and the shrimp will die.
    I rig mine similarly and the Spanish tell me what I can get away with. I rig mine with singlestrand wire leader, about four inches and a #6 treble. I rarely use a weight but I'll sometimes use a float -- mostly because I like the view of the float disappearing. I keep 50 pound test leader in case the Spanish will not hit because of the wire. It happens sometimes, but I prefer wire since a really big Spanish is like a king and will bite through mono, even 50 pound test.

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    Pier#r mentioned his rig for speckled trout, which is probably the conventional set-up. Mine is likely considered heretical because I use a small swivel to connect my main line with about 24" of fluorocarbon leader. Then I use a 2X #8 Eagle Claw bronze treble hook. I get a better hook set (as opposed to a #10, which is what most fishermen use) and the hook color matches the color of the shrimp and trout don't seem to mind it. The unconventional approach is also reflected in my choice of weights. I'll use a 1/8 oz egg sinker to keep my bait down if there's a bit of wind. The fish don't seem to notice it when there's a two foot section of fluorocarbon leader between the weight and the shrimp. Also - I like big shrimp if I can get them.
    Whenever possible, though, I freeline (no weights/no floats). I cast way-past the fish and try to drift my shrimp near the school and give it some slack line then so that maybe it'll sink a foot of so below the surface. Then - I just enjoy watching the feed!
    So whether you tie your hook to the main line or use a fluorocarbon leader, whether you use a tiny swivel or tie a main line-to-leader knot, the premise is the same, to cast way past your target and bring it near to them or otherwise ease your bait into the area where fish are present. You need lively live bait (shrimp or small "L-Ys") and willing trout that will bite if they see a properly presented bait.
    Last edited by eym_sirius; 08-02-2021 at 01:28 PM.
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    I do something similar except I use a snap swivel on the main line and have various leaders pretied to lures, hooks, bubble rigs with a loop knot already tied to quickly connect to the snap, mainly so I don’t have to find my reading glasses �� to tie knots while fishing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkS1320 View Post
    I do something similar except I use a snap swivel on the main line and have various leaders pretied to lures, hooks, bubble rigs with a loop knot already tied to quickly connect to the snap, mainly so I donít have to find my reading glasses 🤓 to tie knots while fishing.
    I keep a pair of cheap reading glasses in my pocket every day for that very purpose. Trout are extremely wary of extra hardware. And the rigging that I detailed was specific to speckled trout. I'm glad that your rigging works for your targeted species. I had a snap fail on a king mackerel about 40 years ago and I haven't used a snap swivel since, except to add a weight to a pompano rig or to add a weight to a sabiki.

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    I agree with your advice especially regarding trout. I have also had a snap fail. I think I will follow your example and tie knots as needed. Your advice is always spot on!
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    Thank You for all the great advice and tips. My grandson and I will be back down in mid October and with the knowledge from you folks, we will be cleaning more fish.
    eym_sirius likes this.

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    I rarely use a snap swivel except for weight on pompano rigs. Norman speed clips work great and I have never had one fail. Only drawback is it is just a clip and doesn’t incorporate a swivel to prevent line twist.
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