How To Hook Live Bait
Hook worms once through the fatty “collar,” which is the bulbous, unsegmented part about one-third of the way along the body. Hooked in this position, the worm can wriggle enticingly with full freedom of movement. Threading the work up the hook shank might save bait from sunfish attacks, but will leave your worm looking pretty lifeless in the water. Hooking it once through the collar also leaves the rear of the worm unimpeded should you wish to give it a shot of air from a worm blower, and float it up out of bottom debris where fish are more likely to find it.
You can hook leeches almost the same way – once, and through the sucker pad. Hook crayfish once through the tail. As with worms, these biats benefit from the freedom of movement that comes with being impaled once only, rather than threaded up the hook shank.
Many walleye pros prefer to hook minnows through both lips. Some anglers prefer to hook them through the back at the base of the dorsal fin, but you can easily damage smaller baitfish this way. As fish usually take prey head-first, many pros find they miss fewer fish when hooking minnows by the lips.
Regardless of what kind of bait you use, go with premium quality hooks. Good hooks are stronger but also thinner, so they do less damage to the bait.