So you are about to start fishing. First things first, you need to bait your hook. Do you know the correct way to bait you hook? Below are some tips that will help you attract and catch more fish by simply baiting your hook better.
Firstly, you need to use sharp hooks. Buy new hooks frequently and replace your old ones. if you keep your hook on the line for a long period of time you should sand the point to keep it nice and sharp. try to buy the best hooks you can (if you buy the cheapest you may save a few dollars but in the long run is it worth it?).
Hooks vary in size, shape and color so go for the hook that is best for the fish you are targeting. if you’re not sure, ask the people in your local fishing store. some fish are supposedly attracted to red hooks (some sand varieties of fish target bloodworms and can be attracted to the red color of the hook) but a plain silver hook will usually do.
So you are ready to bait your hook. It sounds very easy but are you really baiting your hook correctly? Below are some common bait varieties and suggested ways to apply them to your hook.
1) Shrimp (prawn) should be put on the hook tail first and so the body of the shrimp curls up into the shape of the hook. most people bait shrimp the other way (head first) but this will cause the shrimp to fall off more easily. try to keep the hook entirely in the shrimp when threading through. most fish species don’t mind if the shell is left on. some people believe in de-shelling the shrimp but this takes time and often makes them soggy and they may fall off the hook easier. you can take the head off the shrimp as this often makes the shrimp too big to fish with if left on (and as an added bonus you can add the heads of the shrimps to your burley bucket to attract more fish)
2) Octopus should be baited using the tentacles foremost so they cover the hook. as with the prawn the octopus should thread over the hook to disguise it.
3) Squid is a good bait as it is hardy, easy to place on a hook and is hard for nibbling fish to nibble off. just thread the squid over the hook and once again try to disguise the hook with the bait. Also try to use the softer parts of the squid body as some fish may not like the harder parts found near the head.
4) White bait, Mulie or any other small fish really needs to be hooked with a gang of hooks (at least 3 hooks in a row) otherwise they simply slide off the hook.
So next time you are baiting your hook, take the time to try to disguise your hook and make sure that the bait sticks on your hook securely. This will help you catch more fish and save you time as you will not have to keep replacing your bait.
Circle hooks and J-hooks are the two most commonly found types of saltwater bait hooks. there is an ongoing debate by saltwater anglers as to whether circle hooks are better than J-hooks and I believe each have their own advantages when fishing in different conditions and scenarios. Saltwater hooks often come pre-sharpened and are designed to corrode over time, causing little harm to those fish that were lucky enough to have won a battle with a heart-broken fisherman.
J-hooks are the hooks many anglers refer to when they speak of a fishing bait hook. they are the ones that are shaped and resemble the letter J, thus the name J-hook. the fishing line is thread through the eye of the hook and then tied with the appropriate knot. J-hooks come in barbed and barb-less versions for those who like to practice catch and release. J-hooks should match in size to line class, fishing tackle and the type of bait being used.
Circle hooks have rapidly gained popularity over the recent years. these hooks are characterized by their similarities to the letter G. Circle hooks can be very effective when targeting fish species with sharp teeth, as they are designed to set in the corner of the mouth, away from any line chewing teeth. This type of hook can become quite expensive, as many come laser sharpened to increase their effectiveness. the disadvantage of this type of bait hook is that it is extremely difficult to pin your bait on a circle hook and should be used mostly for fishing with big baits.
Whichever hook you prefer to use, remember that when setting the hook, two different methods should be utilized depending on the type of fishing hook being used. J-hooks should be set with a solid swing of the rod, while circle hooks should be allowed to set themselves with a simple engaging of the fishing reel. the pull and tug of the fish will cause a circle hook to slide down into the corner of the mouth and embed securely. Swinging the rod to set the hook with a circle hook will often lead to a pulled hook and disappointed anglers.This is one of the hardest things to remember when fishing with circle hooks. the adrenaline-rush from being picked up or bit causes most inexperienced anglers to immediately swing the rod in an attempt to hook the fish. Instead, anglers should calmly engage the reel, the same with both spinning and conventional reels, and slowly begin winding down into the fish, until the fish begins to pull drag from the reel. only then should the angler lift the rod to begin the fight.
Traditionally found in silver and bronze, manufacturers have recently introduced lines of red circle and j-hooks. these are designed to create a wounded bait perception, with the red creating the illusion of a bleeding fish. I have found that these can be extremely effective in tough fishing conditions. Also, both freshwater and saltwater anglers should try the ringed hooks on their next adventure. This ingenious hook addition allows for better and livelier bait presentation, promotes longevity and most importantly, keeps your bait in the bite zone for substantially longer periods of time, a key ingredient to getting bit.