Whether heading to lakeside, the nearest riverbank or the seashore for fishing, many anglers pick up a bucket of live shiners for bait. Shiners, or minnows, are small fish commonly used for fishing bass, crappie, steelhead, catfish, trout and walleye. Their silver or gold colored bodies and quick underwater movements attract the eyes of the larger game fish and panfish. Shiners can be caught in freshwater lakes and rivers, saltwater pools or purchased at bait shops, but they should be kept in an aerated container. Experienced anglers catch or purchase several sizes of shiners when going after various fish species.
Clip or slide the bobber onto the fishing line from 18 to 36 inches from the end of the line, depending on water depth.
Clamp a split shot weight onto the line from 12 to 18 inches below the bobber using needle nose pliers, then attach the hook to the end of the line using a secure knot.
Wet your hands in the lake, river or sea, then remove a shiner from the bucket, gripping it firmly but gently behind the eyes using a thumb and forefinger. The body of the fish should be cradled in one hand.
Turn the shiner sideways in one hand and insert the hook through the lower lip and through the upper lip in the center of each lip. The hook should emerge between both nostrils or through one nostril beyond the hook's barb.
Cast the shiner in an underhand or sidearm motion in order not to stun the fish or rip the hook from its mouth as it enters the water. Allow the fish to swim on its own without constantly reeling and recasting. This will keep the shiner alive longer and attract game fish.
Tips & Warnings
- Hook, line, weight and bobber sizes and types should be adjusted depending on the type of fish to be caught.
- Change the water in the bait bucket frequently to clear out waste and provide additional oxygen.
- Do not add freshwater to a saltwater bait bucket and vise versa, as it will kill the fish.
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