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Anybody cut the tails off their live bait?

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  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,630 Captain
    Never under any circumstances - I want my angler's live bait kicking as strongly as possible.  It's up to me to figure out how and when to tether the bait (either under a float or with some kind of weight..). We also never drop back to any of our inshore fish (the way you would with a sailfish...) since I do not want them swallowing the hook... 

    I will butterfly a pinfish after it dies (or if it's not very lively...).  Butterflying for those who've never tried it involves fileting a pinfish to remove backbone and tail while leaving each "filet" still attached to the head to convert it into a bottom cut bait...

    When we take pinfish into the interior occasionally they're always rigged on a cork with about a three foot leader (no matter how shallow the waters).  I encourage my anglers to toss the cork rig a bit high so it lands with some noise (and that pinfish on enough leader gets to flash away from the cork a bit).  A lot of the time any predator nearby (we're usually fishing around downed trees or on points next to deeper water)  will hit a pinfish delivered this way a split second after it lands...


    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 20,495 AG
    I do a lot of sight fishing with live finger mullet...I cut the tail further back than #2  but you would be surprized how many times a "well motivated" finger mullet with a short tail carrying 1/8th oz of jig in its mouth can out run a redfish and make him give up and a second presentation is needed..... 
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 4,357 Captain
    edited February 17 #34
    I fished w a well known guide out of pc for tarpon last year. He used live cigar minnows w the tails cut off. He was insistent that was the trick, (at 2.5). His theory was that with the more frantic tail beating, put out more vibration. They feel it through the lateral line. I know when I have a hooked fish sending out similar vibrations, every jewfish in the area shows up... also it makes them an easier target when your casting into a school of a million minnows. We hooked 9 tarpon. Landed 4 and leader wore on 5. Best tarpon day I’ve had by far
    You should have been here yesterday
  • m9000m9000 Posts: 2,082 Captain
    I cut about 1/2 of the tail fins off of blue runners so  the kings don't have to work too hard.
  • Go0ganGo0gan StuartPosts: 142 Deckhand
    I think it's normal to cut live bait fins and place the hook on different spots to get the bait to do what u want or squeeze them to get them to float around the top
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 606 Officer
    I do cut spines off of small catfish if I have them for bait. Seems to make it easier fish to get ahold of them
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 11,810 AG
    Lostconch said:
    I do cut spines off of small catfish if I have them for bait. Seems to make it easier fish to get ahold of them
    I have wanted to try this with catfish for tarpon bait for a couple years just haven't had the opportunity yet. 
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 606 Officer
    Small ones work for reds as while. I found this a few years ago while filleting a redfish it had several in its stomach


  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,630 Captain
    Yesterday we got our second big tarpon of this year in the interior out of Flamingo... It ate a live ladyfish that was around 14" long... and kicking strongly (so strongly that it actually ran away from a small shark that made a pass at it before that big girl crunched it...).  We estimated the fish at 90lbs and it was in fine condition when released... 

    Just nothing like the 'glades this time of year... we also caught and released a 10lb snook and a 30lb cobia at a river mouth.  I'll try to write up and post a fishing report later today - with photos...

    Be a hero... take a kid fishing
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
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