How Do I Tie Fishing Bait to a Line?

How Do I Tie Fishing Bait to a Line?
Clams, mussels and other soft baits are sometimes tied to hooks instead of threading the soft bait through the hook point. While either option will secure bait to your line for subsurface and bottom fishing, the tying method allows your bait to dangle, thereby creating an action that may lure more fish and incite a strike. Knowing both methods is ideal, since the prep work for both is largely the same.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fishing rod
  • Test line
  • Fishing hook
  • Sinker
  • Soft bait
  • Wire or thread
Step 1
Rig your fishing reel with test line, a lead sinker and a fishing hook. Make the type of fish your selection criteria.
Step 2
Select the bait you wish to tie to your hook. Common choices include clams, mussels and soft baits such as liver.
Step 3
Remove shelled fish such as clams and mussels. Crack open the shell. Slide a knife up to the attached point of the shell and turn it out to unseat the attached parts. Remove the soft bait from the shell. Cut liver into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
Step 4
Bake the soft bait under direct sunlight, which will cause the soft bait to toughen. Check baits regularly and turn after hardening on either side is finished. Harden clams and mussels just before you fish, as the bait could spoil.
Step 5
Thread the hook point through one end of soft bait's body. Push the hook point through the soft bait and hide the neck of the hook from view. Alternatively, wrap the bait in fine wire or fishing or sewing thread. Rotate the bait five or six turns or until the wire passes around most of the bait. Pull to tighten so there is little space between the wire and the bait. Tie using a fishing knot. See Resources for fishing knot instructions.
Step 6
Hook one line of the wire onto the hook shank. Pull against the line to test the fit. The soft bait should dangle from the hook with little motion.

Tips & Warnings

Ask other anglers which baits are getting strikes.
Wear fishing gloves when handling fishing hooks.
Always check for "lure only" or "fly only" signs before dropping your bait into the water.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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