Home Fishing How to Hook Minnows: 3 Ways to Fish Live Minnows

How to Hook Minnows: 3 Ways to Fish Live Minnows

We all want to catch more fish!

One of the most effective ways to do that: present fish with one of their favorite foods.

Live minnows take all the guesswork of presentation out of fishing, and, instead, you spend more time fighting fish, and bring home more for the grill. Minnows are tricky, though. But learning how to hook minnows is easy and something every angler should learn.

Why You Should Fish with Minnows

Bass, trout, walleye, crappie, and pike are among the many fish that love snacking on minnows. Since minnows are natural prey, these fish don’t give swallowing them whole a second thought.

You too will grow to become addicted to live minnows. The amount of fish these little home run hitters bring in is INSANE. While many anglers shy away from them because they are a pain to store, those who don’t reap the rewards.

How to Store Minnows

You have to keep in mind that live minnows are just that: live. As such, you need to give provide them with oxygenated water that they can breathe in--unless you plan on fishing them fast. Even then, if you want them to be lively when you cast them out, you want to provide them with good water.

The proper setup for live minnows is a ten-gallon bucket filled with clean and dechlorinated water. Then run an aerator into the water just like you would a fish tank. Portable aerators are cheap, and a lot of minnow buckets come with them built in.

Also, don’t overcrowd the bucket. You don’t want the minnows to have to compete for oxygen.

How to Hook Minnows

There are three main ways to hook live minnows. With each of them, the minnow will behave differently in the water, and the hook will need to be set at different times with each too.

The key thing to remember is that minnows are fragile. You need to make sure to hook it right the first time, or you run the risk of killing the minnow.

1. Through its Back

When hooking a minnow through its back, the spot you’re aiming for is right behind its dorsal fin. This method works best when you’re fishing with a bobber and want to let the minnow swim around to attract fish.

A minnow hooked through the back will survive longer than one hooked through the lips. However, be careful not to damage its spine. If you pierce its spine, the minnow will be paralyzed, rendering it ineffective.

2. Through its Tail

To hook a minnow through its tail, insert the hook just at the end of its tail. This is best fished with no bobber and no weight and gives the minnow the most freedom to swim around.

You want to fish this when you’re casting into a wooded area or by docks.

3. Through its Lips

If you want to cast the minnow out and retrieve it, or if you are going to be trolling with minnows, hooking through the lips is the way to go. Being hooked through the lips allows the minnow to swim naturally, even when being pulled.

To hook them, run the hook through the bottom lip and out through the top lip. You want the hook pointing up so the minnow can upright. Keep in mind, this method blocks water from entering their mouths, causing them to die faster than the other methods.

What’s great about hooking through the lips, though, is when a fish attacks the minnow it will aim for the head. This gives you a better chance to set the hook!

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