A lot goes into catching big striped bass with live eels. From handling eels to setting the hook, there is plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong. Check out this list for helpful live eel fishing tips that may help you put more big bass in the boat or onto the sand during 2012.
1. It’s possible to keep over 5 pounds of eels alive for weeks in a circular bait tank filled with 1 inch of fresh water. 1 inch of fresh water keeps the eels wet and slimy, while allowing them to easily take gulps of air. Change the water every other day or so to keep it clean.
2. Dry rags work best for gripping eels but dry sand works just as well if you leave the rag back in the truck.
3. When trolling or casting eels, try hooking the eel directly through the skull as opposed to through the eye. A hook through the skull will be less likely to tear through the eel.
4. Bass will leave sandpaper marks with their teeth on an eel’s body when they chomp down. If you think you may have gotten a hit or bump, check the eel for sandpaper scratches to verify that it was indeed a hit from a striper.
5. Finicky bass will often times drop an eel if they feel the weight of a sinker. Try to not use weight unless you have to. In windy conditions use the biggest, strongest eel in the bucket to reach bass that are holding deep instead of adding weight to the line.
6. Leadcore line works well when trolling live or dead eels. However you’ll be in for a frustrating experience if you don’t add a stinger hook.
7. A lot of pressure is exerted on a stinger hook while fighting a bass. Therefore replace the mono stinger hook connection often and whenever it develops fray.
8. When fighting a bass caught on an eel, always be aware that the hook could pop out of the bass and come flying back towards your face. During the end game, try to not exert much pressure on the bass to minimize the chances of taking a hook to the face.
9. Keeping eel’s on ice is a great way to make the bait easier to handle. If you leave the eels on ice for an extended period of time they may appear to have died. Don’t be fooled, they’ll often thaw out after a few minutes and return to life.
10. Small eels usually work better for trolling, as it’s more likely that the bass will find either the head hook or the stinger hook.