As an angler, if you’re looking to land trophy-size bass, one of the best live baits that you can consider using is the shiner. The great thing about shiners is that they are pretty much adequate for catching different fish species, including walleye, yellow perch, largemouth bass, catfish, and striped bass.
Irrespective of who you are, it’s essential to attach a shiner to the bait hook the right way. One of the benefits of that is it’ll help to keep the baitfish alive for a longer time. Interestingly, there are many options for you to hook a thinner for bass fishing.
One of the most common ways of attaching shiners for bass fishing is to hook them through their lips. You can also add the baitfish by hooking them through their air holes. Another effective technique is to hook the shiners through their anal fins or right before the dorsal fins.
As you can see, there are various options for you to hook shiners to your hooks. However, you need to understand that each of the approaches has its strengths and weaknesses. That’s not all! Each option works perfectly depending on the type of bait hook you’re choosing to use for bass fishing.
If you’re interested in learning how to hook your shiners for bass fishing, the rest of this article will serve as a guide for you.
Step By Step Guide On How To Hook A Shiner For Bass Fishing
As earlier stated, there are several different options for hooking a shiner for bass fishing. However, you’ll have to use a suitable fishing rod and reel.
Before going ahead to share with you the simple and straightforward steps involved in hooking a shiner for bass fishing, let’s have a quick look at the suitable gear and tackle for the bait.
If you are looking to land plenty of trophy-size basses, you need to use a proper tackle; of course, choosing one will depend on the bait size. For instance, if the shiner you’ll be utilizing for bass fishing is 3 inches in length, using a 4/0 or 4 aught hook size will be the best option. A 6/0 (6 aught) hook is ideal if what you’re considering using is a shiner of about 8 inches in length.
Furthermore, as far as the suitable fishing pole is concerned, we’ll advise that you opt for a heavy-duty rod and reel combo that packs excellent casting ability. An octopus hook will also deliver you an excellent result. In addition to that, you need to spool the fishing equipment with about 30 pounds of Berkley’s big game line.
How to hook a live shiner for bass fishing
1. Hook the shiner through its lips
One of the most effective ways to use a shiner for bass fishing is by hooking it up through its lips. This method enables the shiner to swim (naturally) when you pull it through the water. However, while hooking the shiner, you need to handle it with care to avoid killing it.
Here are a few simple steps you can follow to hook the shiner through its lips the right way:
- First, choose the right bait hook, depending on the size of the shiner.
- Next, you need to hook the bait through its lips. For this step, all you need to do is thread the hook through the lips, starting from the lower part and moving up to the upper lip.
There are lots of benefits attached to hooking the shiner through its lips for bass fishing. Here are a few of them below:
- First, the baitfish has a lip hook that offers a more rigid positioning.
- Furthermore, as earlier mentioned, hooking the shiner through its lips also enables the baitfish to swim just the way you want it.
- This method also helps to prevent water from entering the mouth of the shiner. If that happens, the water will exit through its gills – this can kill the baitfish.
However, it’s worth knowing that the method (hooking shiners through their lips for bass fishing) also has disadvantages. One of them is that sometimes it becomes too easy for the trophy-size bass to pull the hook out of the shiner when running off with the baitfish.
2. Hooking the shiner through its air hole
Apart from hooking the shiner through its lips, you can also consider threading it through its air hole. Unlike the former, the latter will keep your fishing hook in place, providing it with a better hold.
We are recommending this method because most trophy bass out there like grabbing the shines through their heads. So, hooking them through their air hole will be a better way to land the fish pretty quickly.
However, when hooking your shiners using this method, you need to be careful not to kill them. The best idea is to hook them behind the air holes slightly. Doing that will provide the bait hook with a solid placement.
Like the first method, the disadvantage of hooking the shiners through the air holes is – it becomes pretty easy for the bass to pull the hook, especially when trying to escape with the baitfish.
3. Hooking the shiner under its dorsal fin
Although hooking the shiner under its dorsal fin isn’t the best option, you can still rely on the method to land your target fish. However, you need to handle the baitfish with care and apply the hook the right way.
The best way to hook a shiner using this method is to pass the hook through the meat in its back – you can locate it right below the dorsal fin. With this approach, you can rest assured that the bait will swim more. Also, it’ll provide the fishing hook with a good hold necessary to land your target fish.
Another benefit attached to hooking your shiner using this approach is that it allows the bait to swim more, facing away from you. Interestingly, adding tension will also enable the baitfish to float to the top, making splashes.
4. Hooking the shiner through the anal fin
Hooking the shiner through the anal fin is similar to the previous method (attaching the bait from under its dorsal fin). For this approach, all you need to do is pass the hook through the fleshy area, right in the back of the shiner. You’ll find the meaty part located below the dorsal fin.
However, one of the benefits of this method over the previous one is that it enables you to pull the hook out more quickly, setting it on the bass.
Furthermore, the shiner also tends to swim better when hooked using this approach for bass fishing. The only problem, however, is that it reduces the hook-up ratio, which isn’t good.
Where Is The Best Place To Hook A Shiner?
So far, we have mentioned four different areas where you can hook a shiner for bass fishing. Undoubtedly, all four approaches are practical and depend on a couple of factors, such as “how you choose to fish” and “the type of hook” you’re going to use. However, the fact remains that one of them will offer the best results over others. Since that’s the case, here’s a burning question; where is the best place to hook a shiner?
The best area to hook a live shiner for bass fishing is through its lips and the air holes. As mentioned earlier, that’s so because trophy-sized bass fish like attacking live shiners from the head.
We didn’t mention this before – you need to be extra careful while hooking the shiner around its head (lips and air holes). Avoid running the hook through the middle of the nostrils, as it can affect the brain, which is also located there.
Are Shiners Good For Bass?
Shiners are one of the best baits for landing various species of fish. Since that’s the case, it means they are pretty much excellent for bass fishing. Interestingly, you can use both live shiners and dead shiners as baits for landing bass.
There are many types of shiners out there; however, the widely used bait are golden shiners, red-sided shiners, eastern shiners, and common shiners.
Depending on the type of shiners you’re using, you can always land several different fish species. Let’s have a quick look at some of what you can catch with the baitfish below.
1. Largemouth Bass
The largemouth bass is one of the easiest species of fish that you can land using live shiners. Undoubtedly, small shiners of about 4 inches are effective for landing various bass. However, if you’re looking to catch largemouth bass, you need to go for shiners about 6 inches in length or more.
2. Smallmouth Bass
Live shiners are excellent if what you’re targeting is smallmouth bass. Unlike largemouth bass, this species of fish only has a small mouth. As such, you need to be careful while choosing the baitfish.
Ideally, small shiners (about 4 inches and lower) are excellent for landing smallmouth bass.
3. Other Fish Species
Apart from Smallmouth bass and Largemouth bass, other species of fish that you can land with shiners include the following:
- Chain Pickerel
- Striped Bass
- Yellow Perch
- Northern Pike