The Art of Hooking Minnows for Successful Walleye Fishing
When it comes to walleye fishing, one of the most effective techniques is using live minnows as bait. These small fish are irresistible to hungry walleyes and can significantly increase your chances of landing a trophy catch. However, proper hooking technique is crucial to ensure that your minnow stays lively and attractive in the water, enticing those elusive walleyes. In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of hooking minnows for optimum success in walleye fishing.
Gather Your Supplies
Before you start hooking minnows, make sure you have all the necessary supplies handy:
- A container with clean water to keep your live minnows fresh and active
- Quality hooks suitable for walleye fishing (size 4-8 depending on the size of your baitfish)
- Pliers or forceps for easy handling
- Bobbers or sinkers depending on your desired depth
Select Healthy Minnows
Avoid using sick or dying minnows when targeting walleyes – healthy-looking ones will attract more bites. Look for active fish with clear eyes and intact fins. Avoid any that appear sluggish, discolored, or show signs of injury.
Determine Hook Size Based on Baitfish Size
The right hook size ensures proper presentation and successful hookups. Generally, choose a smaller hook (size 8) when using small-sized baitfish like fatheads or shiners; opt for larger hooks (size 4-6) if using bigger-sized baitfish like sucker minnows or chubs.
Hook Placement Matters
Correct hook placement is crucial to maximize the minnow’s movement and natural swimming action. Insert the hook point into the soft flesh just behind the dorsal fin, ensuring it exits through its back or upper body. This positioning allows the minnow to move freely while remaining securely hooked.
Avoid Excessive Force
When hooking your live minnows, be gentle to prevent injuring them. Apply minimal pressure while passing the hook through their flesh, reducing stress and increasing their chances of survival in case you decide to release any caught walleyes.
Baitfish Rigging Techniques
Here are a few popular rigging techniques for using hooked minnows:
The Standard Hook and Sinker Setup
This classic technique involves attaching a sinker above your hook, allowing your baitfish to swim naturally at various depths depending on how far you cast.
The Slip Bobber Technique
If you prefer precision fishing or need to suspend your baitfish at specific depths near structures or drop-offs, using a slip bobber can be highly effective. Adjust your bobber stopper accordingly based on desired depth and cast away.
Jigging with Minnows
If vertical jigging is more up your alley, use a jighead equipped with a single hook and attach a lively minnow by inserting the tip of the hook under its jaw until it emerges from its head’s top part. Jigging motions will create an enticing action that drives walleyes crazy!
To master walleye fishing with live minnows as bait:
Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of how to hook minnows for walleye fishing successfully, head out to the water with confidence. Remember, practice makes perfect – so don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries before you get the hang of it. Happy fishing!