I became interested in utilising live bait several years ago. Previously, I had relied on worms. Yes, worms are live bait, but there’s a lot more to live bait than a crawler on a hook. Live bait fishing also includes minnows, crawdads, and crickets. I’ve had fun with all of them, but crickets were my first foray into the “other” world of live bait fishing.
Tom, a dear buddy of mine, was the one who initially showed me how to catch trout with crickets when stream fishing. We were fishing for trout on the Silver Fork near Kyburz, California. The water was flowing, and the scenery was spectacular. We aimed to feel our way downstream by jumping boulders from above. My introduction to using crickets as bait was first on the schedule.
“You just run the hook under the collar,” Tom remarked, grabbing a black cricket from the cricket cage. What? Was this cricket dressed up in some way? I discovered something that looks like a collar directly behind the cricket’s head. The key is to carefully slide your hook under the cricket’s collar and out the other side without killing it. It’s a lot easier than it appears.
Next, I went looking for a fishing bobber, but Tom swiftly corrected me. I didn’t have a bobber, and if I did, I just had the tiniest sinker. The plan was to toss the cricket into the rushing water and let it float downstream. As he delicately flipped his line onto the water and the cricket floated down the creek, I examined the cricket teacher. Then he vanished. Let the fishing begin!
Since then, I’ve discovered that crickets feed a range of different fish, including Panfish and Breen. This method differs from the one I used on the first day. A bobber or float with a #6, #8, or #10 hook is commonly used. After that, they placed a light split shot around 6 inches away from the cricket. The goal is for the cricket to sink slowly and gracefully into the water. You’ll try multiple times and change your bobber depth until you locate the correct position, just like with Panfish.
I’ve discovered that fish, like humans, want variety in their food. Fish prefer live bait to artificial bait, and they might strike at it very violently. So feel free to experiment with a live bait alternative to worms.