Another popular live fish bait is the eel. You can use them to catch all kinds of fish, like striped bass and cobia. Many people have used eel to catch prize-winning stripers.
Eels are great to use when trolling or bottom fishing, both in fresh and salt water, because they’re strong enough to withstand drastic temperature changes.
Eel Fishing Methods
It’s easy to fish with live eels once you get the hang of it. They can be feisty, so you’ll want to keep them on ice to help calm them down. When you’re ready to use them, grab them with a rag, then thread the point of the hook through the lower jaw and out of one of the eye sockets. This will allow the eel’s head to point downwards, which tricks the predatory fish into thinking the eel is alive and trying to get away – something they find very appealing.
As soon as you’ve hooked the eel, put it into the water so it can swim around freely and not tangle up your line.
Eel Fishing Bait Rig
The rigging for eels depends on the speed of the current. If the current is slow, tie the end of the line to a barrel swivel, such as a Uni Knot. Then, take a two-foot leader of test fluorocarbon rated between 40 to 50 pounds and tie it to the other side of the swivel. Lastly, get a circle hook and tie the leader line’s tag end to a 5/0 to 7/0 hook.
If the current is fast, take a three-way swivel and tie your fishing line to one of it. Then, tie a three-foot leader made with 40- to 60-pound test fluorocarbon to the rear swivel eye. Finally, tie a 5/0 to 7/0 circle hook to the leader line, adding weight on the bottom eye. It works best if you tie a bank sinker to a 20-pound test line about one to two feet from the swivel. You’ll want to go as light as possible, otherwise, your sinker might get hung up on the rocks and break off. Make sure you match the weight of your sinker to the speed of the current. Heavier weights will work best in stronger currents.
Eel Fishing Techniques
Take the eel and gently cast it out into a good spot. Then, open your drag so the eel can swim freely, going into holes or around rock gardens. Wait until you feel a bump, then point your rod towards that spot and put your reel in gear. Now you’re ready to reel in the slack. As the fish tries to swim away, add pressure – this will cause the fish to hook itself.