How to Use Mussels As Fishing Bait

How to Use Mussels As Fishing BaitIn waters where they're found, mussels can be a great bait. The fish in the water will be familiar with the scent and more than likely enjoy the taste of mussels. They're also easy to pluck from the water since they're stationary--it only takes some work gloves and scissors to remove them. But like clams, scallops and liver, mussels can be very difficult to set onto a hook because of their slimy texture. Beginners may end up stabbing themselves with a hook, but most experienced anglers know how to prepare and use mussels safely.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Hook
  • Hammer or hard object (to crack the shell)
Step 1
Crack open the shell with a hammer or hard object so that the mussel's flesh is exposed. You don't need to remove the edible part of the mussel, though you may if you prefer.
Step 2
Lay out the mussels in the sun for a few hours, making sure the flesh of the mussel is exposed. This will dry out the meat and harden it a little, making it easier to handle when you try to set it on the hook.
Step 3
Remove the mussel from the shell. It is only attached in one place and can be removed easily by gripping it at the base and pulling up.
Step 4
Fit the mussel meat onto the hook as best you can, getting as much of the hook onto the mussel as possible. If it is not too slimy and slippery, try folding the mussel in half and inserting the hook through the middle.
Step 5
Make sure the tip of the hook is inserted into the meat and not visible to fish. Exposed barbs can catch a fish's eye and deter them from striking.

Tips & Warnings

If your mussel is struggling to stay on the hook, some anglers take a very fine fishing wire and use it to tie the mussel to the shank of the hook, providing more support.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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