Q&A: How do you take of care of your minnows? Your favorite size? And how do you hook them?
Dan Johnston, Illinois. “We take care of our baits in an insulated cooler. We use a livewell aerator and can run a CoolWell system if needed. We use oxygen. We take just as good of care of the minnows as we do our crappie during a tournament. We transfer the minnows to a bucket and let them get stabilized so they live a lot longer in the water.
“We hook the minnows through the lips most of the time. The lip hooking lets the minnow run straight in the water. Eye hooking is about the same but it lays on its side and seems to flutter more. A back-hooked minnow tends to run circles and dart sideways.”
Chris Bushart, Tennessee. “To keep minnows alive I use an Engel cooler. It’s important to keep the water cool and use oxygen. On Kentucky Lake I like rosy reds. At Grenada at least a medium which is a big minnow when bought around this lake.
“I hook them through the lips unless I’m fishing them under a cork when I will hook them under the back fin.”
Brad Taylor, Mississippi. “I use an Engle cooler because it is small. I use a regulator, oxygen and a stone. Hold minnows in your hand from a standard minnow bucket and an oxygenated cooler. The minnow from the cooler will be more lively and active. Plus, using oxygen is so much quieter than an aerator.
“An important tip is to keep the lid closed on your minnow bucket or cooler so the sun won’t bake the water and warm it up.
“Most of the time I’m tipping a jig with a 2.5-inch minnow here in Grenada. I hook them through the lips but not too far back or it kills them. You want as much action as possible.”
Steve Ferguson, Tennessee. “I use pure oxygen in a livewell. I have a separate oxygen system for the bait and one for the fish. When buying minnows, I will vary what size I buy to the size of the shad. The lake makes a difference, too. Big minnows at Grenada but in Illinois a small-medium is better.
“I always hook minnows through the lip from the bottom up. When you troll like I do, that’s the best because they track straight in the water.”
Terry Stewart, Mississippi. “I keep a 150-gallon tank at home because it’s hard to get good minnows around Jackson. On the boat we use an insulated bucket with a diffuser on it. My minnows are size 8, which I believe is 8-pounds per 1000 minnows.
“I hook through the lips. If cork and minnow, through the dorsal fin.”