TEN TIPS TO BETTER
LIVE BAIT FISHING

by

Steve Taylor
Out Door Services Of Okalahoma
P.O. Box 715 Bixby, OK. 74008
Tel. 918-366-4282

President of the Oklahoma Striper Association
Guide and Author

1.    When fishing with live shad or shiners use a hook that is proportioned according to the size of your bait. If you use a hook that is too big for the bait it wonít swim naturally in the water and will attract fewer strikes.

2.     Never handle live shad or shiners unless you have wet hands. If you do not wet your hands before handling your bait you will remove the scales and slime coat, and damage your bait. 

3.    When throwing a cast net, never overcrowd your net with bait. If you load your net full you will damage the fish by knocking off scales and their protective slime coat and greatly decrease their life expectancy.

4.    Never hook your live bait through the eyes. You want your bait to see the game fish coming after it. This excites your bait making it swim erratically causing the game fish to become more aggressive resulting in more bites. Also if you are casting bait hooked through the eyes they tend to come off the hook very easily resulting in wasted baits.

5.    When fishing with live shad or shiners mix up the size of your baits. Big baits catch big fish. Small baits catch more fish but usually wonít draw the strikes of the bigger fish so itís important to offer several sizes of bait to attract all sizes of fish.

6.    Only put the freshest and healthiest baits on your hook. If you pull bait out of your bait tank that looks weak or unhealthy pass it up you only want to use the friskiest of baits on your hook to attract more strikes. 

7.    Choose a round or oval bait tank. Shad will congregate in square corners causing a lack of oxygen to flow through their gills resulting in stress, loss of scales and eventually death. Adjust the water flow so that the bait will school in a stationary position to prevent damage.

8.    The biggest problem people have throwing a cast net, is that it doesnít fully open on a consistent basis. Most of the time this is because the net is thrown either to hard or too far. Using the twisting motion of your upper torso to lob the net will result in more consistent openings of a cast net and prove to be less tiring.

9.    Before adding bait to your tank add non-iodized salt to the water to help harden scales and rejuvenate the baits slime coat. For shad I recommend one half of a cup of non-iodized salt for every ten gallons of water. For shiners I recommend a quarter cup of non-iodized salt for every twenty gallons of water. Water softener salt is excellent.

10. During the heat of the summer you can use ice to keep your bait tank water cool but I recommend that you freeze two-liter plastic soda bottles filled with water instead. This keeps any unknown impurities such as chlorine and heavy metals out of the tank water when the ice melts. Donít use a lot at one time and donít drastically change your water temperature for this will cause your bait to go into shock and eventually die.

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