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By Dan Beard

Figs. 96, 97, & 98: How to Hold and Skin an Eel; 
Fig. 99: Eel Spear; 
Fig. 100: Eel Pot; 
Fig. 101: Eel Jack for Spearing at Night

Salt pork, cut in small chunks, bits of fresh meat, and the refuse of fish already caught, form tempting bait for eels, catfish, and other bottom fish.

How to Pick Up a Live Eel

To pick up a live eel grasp its throat between your hooked first and second finger, the rest of your fist being doubled up (See Fig. 96). If there is a dry, sandy, or dusty spot near at hand, toss the eel into it, and again pick him up. This time, on account of the dust or sand, you will find it much less difficult to hold him.

How to Skin Him

After picking him up, throw him down on the ground with all your force. This will stun the animal, and you may take a sharp knife and make a circular cut below the first or pectoral fins (Fig. 97). Then with the fingernails, peel the skin back until can get a good hold of it with your hands, which you have previously covered with dust.

Now take hold of the head with one hand, and strip the skin back with the other hand as shown in the third position (Fig. 98).

Eel-Tail Bait

Fig. 102. 
The Eel-Tail Bait

When you have skinned the eel to a point about three or four inches above the tail, cut the tail off with a sharp knife , but leave it adhering to the skin. Turn back the skin still further, and cut off the turned-over portion of the skin about half way down. A sharp pair of scissors will be best for this purpose.

Now take your fishhook and run it through the flesh of the eel until the point of the hook protrudes at a point between one and two inches from the tip of the tail. The sinker, a split buck-shot, should be fastened to the snell just above the hook and the skin must now be turned back above and cover the sinker. Here it must be tightly tied with waxed silk thread or fine twine. Now turn the skin down again so that it comes about halfway between the gathered end of the skin at the top and the point of the hook at the bottom. With a needle and some strong, well-waxed thread sew the edge of the skin to the body bait. You understand, of course, that the point where you cut the body of the eel off depends altogether upon the size of the eel used

The eel-tail bait is tough, and will last a long time. It has a beautiful bluish color that pleases the fish, and in trolling or casting the free end of the tail wiggles in so tempting a manner that it makes a very killing bait.

How to Keep Eels for Bait

Put them away in jars of coarse salt. In using salted eels for bait it is best to soak them for an hour or so in fresh water. This will make them plumper and improve the color.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.