Several years ago I got turned on to using live bait. Before that time I had used worms. Yes worms are live bait too, but the world of live bait is much more than a crawler on a hook. Minnows, crawdads, and crickets are also a big part of live bait fishing. I have enjoyed using each type, but crickets were my first venture into the “other-world” of live bait fishing.
A good friend of mine, Tom, first showed me how to use crickets when stream fishing for trout. . The water was running and the scenery outstanding. Our plan was to hop boulders from up above and fish our way down stream. First on the agenda was my introduction to using crickets as bait.
Tom grabbed a black cricket out of the cricket cage and said, “You just run the hook under the collar”. What? Was this cricket wearing a coat or something? I found that just behind the head of the cricket is something that looks like a collar. The trick is to gently guide your hook under the collar and out the other side of the collar without killing the cricket. It is actually much easier than it may sound.
Next I went for a fishing bobber and was quickly corrected by Tom. No Bobber and if I needed, only the lightest of a sinker. The idea was to cast onto the rushing water and let the cricket float down stream. I studied by cricket teacher as he gently flipped his line onto the water and the cricket floated down the creek. Then he was gone. Fish on!
Since then I have learned that many people use crickets for a variety of other fish including Panfish and Breen. This technique is different from the one I used my first day. Many people use a bobber or a float with a #6, #8, or #10 hook. They then put a lightweight split shot about 6 inches from the cricket. The idea is to let the cricket slowly and naturally descend through the water. As with Panfish, you will try several times and may adjust your bobber depth until you find the right spot.
I have learned that fish like variety in their diet, just like we do. Live bait is definitely preferred by fish over artificial and they can strike at it aggressively. So feel free to explore a live bait option to worms. Crickets: The other live bait.