The Recipe for Catching Fish: A Hook, a Worm and a Sinker
If you give a down-home grandma flour, water and lard she can make you ten different things from these three ingredients. She has learned to work with what she has, adapt it to the situation and take pride in what she has make. As fishermen, we have a tendency to get caught up in the frills, colors and innovations the growing tackle market has laid before us. Every so often, we need to take a chapter out of my Mamaw’s book and go back to the basics; a rig of a hook, a worm and sinker. It is a good remember of how rewarding simple fishing can be.
So this seems effortless; sinker, hook, worm, water. Fish! Not quite, my friend. As there are different techniques to making biscuits and doughnuts, there are different techniques you need to use for catching different types of fish.
Bluegill, sunfish or pumpkin seeds make for an easy catch if you are fishing from shore. During spawning season, bluegill will line the store with their spawn beds. In this time they are very territorial and very hungry, which makes this the perfect spot to plop you hook and worm. The hook you select needs to be small enough to fit inside the bluegill’s mouth, but not so small that the worm will render it useless. There are a few techniques baiting your hook with the worm. Some schools of thought are to gather the worm on the hook, going through the sides of the worm so it has more wiggle room to attract the bluegill. This is effective for attracting the fish’s attention, but bluegill are notorious nibblers. They will steal your bait one little bite at a time; leaving you with not worm and no fish. To counteract this, the other school of thought is to thread the worm from head to hind through the hook. This does deter the bluegill from stealing you bait, but it doesn’t do much to attract them. My preferred method is a combination of the two. By threading the worm partially up the hook and leaving a little wiggle room by gathering the portion of the worm that is by the barb, you decrease bait stealing nibbles and direct their bites towards the business on of the hook. The same rig will work for perch and crappie fishing.
Catfishing with just a large sinker, a snell hook and gob of worm is some of the best lake fishing you can get your hands on. For this rig you are going to use a medium snell hook, with a snell knot. Leave about a foot of line below the knot to attach your sinker to. By using this rig, there is a better chance that your worm and hook will not get buried in the soft bottom of the lake making it virtually useless. Unlike the bluegill, catfish inhale their bait, so the method you use to put the worm on is less touchy. Catfish, however, are usually surfing the bottom of the lake where the water tends to be murkier, so I like to load my hook up with the worms gathered and dangling a bit. This helps ensure that the catfish will spot the bait. Catfish prefer cooler water, so in the summer months they will go towards deeper water, but they still seem to prefer channels where baitfish come in to feed during the evening. At this point, cast your line out and wait for a response. Just as a reminder, be sure your rod is secure if you leave it unattended or a catfish will steal more than your bait. This lake fishing techniques will also work well for carp, dogfish and bullheads.
The last rig we will go over will work for Northern, walleye, bass and steelhead. There are actually two ways to accomplish the similar desired effect of two stacked hooks. The first method is by using a gang hook with two consecutive hooks. The other way is by tying two snell hooks using a snell knot, the second hook about one inch lower than the first. Thread the worm between the two hooks stretching the worm long ways. Attach a small split shot sinker directly above the top hook. You now have an effective rig for casting and retrieving a live worm. I prefer using the gang hook method, it seems to tangle up less when casting, although the snell hook technique has more movement through the water.
These are three simple items and three simple rigs that will get you back to the basics of fishing. No frills, nothing fancy; just good ole’ fishing.
Good luck on your next lake fishing excursion! Try keeping it simple and see what happens.
Good luck on your next lake fishing adventure and check the barometric trends before you go! If you found this article helpful, share it with a buddy and comment below. Please visit Lake Fishing Techniques to see what else sparks your interest!
Author: Brian Ward
Mar 25, 2013