How to Rig a Live Bait Fish so it Stays Alive Longer

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Fishing with live bait fish is one of the most effective forms of fishing for predatory game fish (like bass, pike, etc.). Since live bait fish are more effective as bait than a dead ones, you need the keep them alive as long as possible. But, keeping the bait fish alive, while on the hook, can be quite a struggle. So, how can you keep them alive longer? And the answer is… Rig them Right!

Rig Bait Fish Golden Shiner

Here are two ways you can rig a live bait fish so it stays alive longer:

Lip Hooking Method: Hold the bait fish firmly in your hand (just don’t injure it). With your other hand, hook the fish through the upper lip so the hook points upward. Check that the hook is securely in the fish’s lip by wiggling it around a little.

Dorsal Hooking Method: Nope, you don’t hook the dorsal fin. If you do, the bait fish will keep coming loose and you will have to re-bait often. Rather, hook the fish through the skin on it’s back (near the dorsal fin). Most bait fish skin is tough enough to hold your hook for a while. The key here is to barely hook the skin so you don’t injure the fish too much.

These hooking methods should keep your bait fish alive much longer and in turn attract more fish. Alternatively, you can make your own powerbait with this dough bait recipe or try a crankbait or mini crankbait to save the trouble of maintaining live bait. You can also catch nightcrawlers or earthworms which are easier to work with than live fish. Good luck and have fun.

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