Are anchovies good bait?
Around Las Vegas and in other places, anchovies are very good bait especially in winter when it is more difficult to find and net the shad that are indigenous to the waters nearby. Most anglers prefer to use live or dead shad because it is the natural feed of the stripers here and also the catfish. The Shad are much easier to keep on the hook as they don’t tear through as easily. However, in the wintertime there are die-offs because of the cold and also the algae that is their staple food dies in the cold waters of winter. About December it is very difficult to find shad to catch so anglers typically switch to using anchovies so they can keep fishing.
Usually the stripers are found much deeper during the winter monthes and they roll a lot slower. The best catch times are sun up and sun down. If you are going to use anchovies your best bet is to leave the package on ice all the time. As long as they stay frozen you can use them and they will stay on the hook while casting but as soon as you let them thaw out they begin to come off. It makes for a bummer time when you can’t keep the bait on. At this point you can try to use stretchy string to wind around your anchovies as it is in your hook. Personally I have never done this but I have seen it done and it works ok .
If you use anchovies, I usually cut them in three pieces, the head, the body and the tail. For me the head seems to stay on the best but some people use the body and chum with the head and tail portions.
How to attach them to the hook.
If you cut them in three pieces and you are going to try to use them on your hook. I like to hook them twice.
Example: using the head as bait, hook the lip all the way through from bottom through the top and then twist the hook and go through the gill as well. Make sure you get the bait pushe all the way onto the shank of the hook or you cold lose the fish when it bites. You want the pointy part of your hook well exposed.
If you hook the body you need to hold the Anthony with the back bone facing up, then hook right under the backbone of the anchovy. If that seems secure you can go with it but I like to push the anchovies all the way onto the shank and stick it again right through the center. Again, you need to make sure you get that piece pushed up onto the shank and that the hook and point are well exposed or you won’t hook your fish when it bites.
For the tail I usually do the same as with the body section making sure the bait is all the way up on the shank of the hook.
I use a 2/0 worm hook or circle hook. If you can it is best to use a bait hook with barbs on the shank. This will help hold your bait on better. 12 lb test mono line is a good choice. The majority of your striped bass and catfish will be around the 2-3 lb range but it is possible to come across stripers much much larger so be ready.
What can you catch with anchovies?
Usually around here you can use anchovy to catch Striped Bass and Channel catfish but I have caught carp, bluegill, and large shad on them as well. I’m sure in other places there are many other species you can catch on anchovies such as salmon and all types of sunfish.
How much do they cost?
Usually you can get about one pound of wild caught frozen anchovies for under four dollars on average. I usually pick up 2 bags at a time and they last me all day. The key is you have to keep them frozen frozen! Don’t forget to get the ice too.
Where can you buy them?
Usually most WalMart stores carry them in the sporting goods section but some grocery stores have them in frozen foods isle and I’ve even seen them in the convenience stores near the lake and river here. Of course your bait and tackle shops probably carry them too.
Whatever you do though, just don’t put them on my pizza ok?
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