Live Minnows




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By Dan Beard

Fig. 93. 
Live Bait

This bait, on the whole, is more satisfactory than any Other live bait. It is not as disagreeable to handle as insects and worms, and either suffers less, or at least appears to suffer less, than the frogs. Possibly a hook may hurt a minnow as badly as it does a frog, but the little fish has not the power of showing his discomfort or suffering so graphically.

To me the minnow is the king of live bait. When, as a child, I used to visit my grandmother in Northern Ohio, I was delighted to find the little brooks full of small fish, with bright red stripes on their sides. These are the famous "Painted" minnow, and form excellent bait for the big black bass of Lake Erie.

How to Catch Minnows.

Where the bait is in small streams, the best thing to use is a rectangular net, with corks on the top edge and sinkers on the bottom, the net attached to two poles, one at each end. A home-made minnow net is described in the "American Boy's Handy Book." Take off your shoes and stockings and wade in the brook, one boy at each pole; slant the tops of the hand-pole down stream, being careful to keep the lower edge of the net on the bottom. Now move up stream, carefully plodding your way along so as not to foul your net on snags and stones in the bottom.

When you think you have gone far enough, bring one end of the net quickly but carefully around to the shore where the other end is. Slide the bottom of the net up to the dry land and lift it all out of water. 0ne haul should be enough to fill your minnow-bucket.

How to make a minnow-bucket is also described in the American Boy's Handy Book; " but, since the introduction of cheap wire netting in the market, any boy who calls himself an American should be able

To Construct a Serviceable Minnow-bucket

by taking an ordinary tin pail and making a wire netting cylinder that will fit loosely inside the tin pail, then cut a circular piece of netting for the bottom, and fasten it there with copper wire. A lid can be made of the same material as the cylinder and hinged on with wire, so that it may be opened and closed at will, or secured with a staple and pin. The object of the open work inside the pail is to make it easy to change the water without losing the bait, or the wire pail may be hung to the boat side in such manner that the water will flow through it and keep the bait alive.

How to Catch Minnows in Ponds, Lakes, or Deep Streams.

Where the water is deep, minnows have the habit of congregating in great schools, and may be best captured with dip-nets, either by sinking them and waiting until tile bait gathers over them, or by sinking the nets and then coaxing the bait over the traps by means of a handful of bread or cracker crumbs. A favorite, but slow, method in Pike County, PA, is to fish for the minnows, among the lily-pads with a small took and piece of thread attached to switch , and baited with a wee bit of an angle-worm, fish, fresh-water mussel.

How to Keep Minnows Alive.

Keep them in a box similar to the one described for lamprey eels, or in a wooden box perforated with mail holes and sunk in shallow water, or in a box made of wire netting and sunk in shallow water. Always be careful to fasten the box securely, because mink and coons have a disagreeable way of robbing minnow-boxes that are carelessly fastened and what they leave the water-snakes devour.

I have more than once lost more than a pail full of minnows in one night in what appeared to be a most mysterious manner, until the imprint of little hard-like feet in the muddy banks near my box gave me a clue to the robber. In transporting minnows by rail or wagon they will live in a crowded bucket, because the agitation of the water keeps it fresh, but as soon as a long stop is made they will all die, unless the water is frequently changed.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.