How to Hook a Minnow for Bass – 3 Best Fishing Methods

Fishing generally involves the use of baits in order to attract your target species. Although there are plethoras of artificial baits available in the market right now, the use of natural ones is still effective. Well, using a minnow as bait will generally convince a fish to have a bite. The question is the proper way on how to hook a minnow for bass fishing.

In this blog post, we detailed some of the most important strategies needed in fishing minnows. Aside from that, we also have here the different methods that will guide you in the proper way of hooking a minnow. As an added bonus, there will also be some important key points that you should consider during minnow fishing.

Basic Techniques in Fishing Minnows

Minnows are actually small fish that are popularly used by most anglers as their bait. This is generally an effective bait or lure for fishing bass, crappies, and bluegill. However, in order for anglers to have a better catch of those trophy fish, they must have a better idea of how to hook a minnow for bass fishing. Keep in mind that a successful catch highly depends on the right way of hooking a minnow for bass fishing.

how to hook a minnow for bass

But before that, it is important to learn the basic fishing techniques using minnows. Let’s explore them one by one.


Basically, the first fishing technique using minnows is through fishing in shallow water. This fishing method is typically done using a float. There is a hook, a split shot that maintains the bait down the water, and a float. Don’t forget to include a bobber stopper here as it is essential in controlling the depth of the bait.

Often, anglers want their bait to be submerged deep down the water with a bobber size of 18”. Some usually prefer the wooden floats as they can be cast out easily. Aside from that, wooden floats tend to be more durable and have the ability to hold better within the wind.


Well, this technique of fishing using a minnow is quite harder compared to the first one. The hook attachment is usually at the end of the fishing line. Additionally, there should also be a pinch of 1/4 ounce of bullet sinker with a measurement of 18” gearing upward the fishing line. Allow the bait to submerged deep down the bottom of the water and eventually reel up the line for few times.

Afterward, using the free spool place the reel in there and hold it through your thumb. Just allow the fish to run quite little before setting up the hook. However, this minnow fishing method is a little bit dangerous for fish suspended over bait schools. It is advisable to use your electronics to signaling the schools how deep you can go. Remember that the key here is the proper boat position and the appropriate interpretation of electronics.


Ideal for sight fishing or pitching, this free-line fishing method generally allows you to catch big fish suspended just below the docks or trees. Usually, you have to make a long cast here by using a bare hook that is actually weightless. Generally, the best way on how to hook a minnow through this method is via the bottom lip going towards the nose. We will have a detailed discussion of this process as we go along.

The general rule that applies here is to pick your bait on a location where fish stays. Get the bait in any possible means without having them killed.

Important Things to Consider on How to Hook a Minnow for Bass Fishing

Using a minnow for bass fishing is not as simple as you think. Like any other process, you must also need to take some things into considerations here.

*Making Minnows as Bait

Actually, using minnows as bait or lure when fishing for bass is a tricky and challenging fishing activity for most anglers. Considering the use of minnows as your bait, you will generally have to make more effort compared to other readily available baits. However, the minnow is still the first choice of most anglers when they are looking for natural baits.

Although the challenge is at hand, using minnows for bass fishing is actually effective. Yet, always keep in mind that the success of catching bait using minnow baits highly depends on the appropriate techniques. Moreover, you must also have knowledge about the proper ways on how to hook a minnow for bass fishing.

*Opting for the Appropriate Hook

Like any other activity in fishing, selecting the appropriate hook to use is really crucial. Remember that in choosing the most suitable fishing hook for minnows, there are a few factors to take into account. First is the size of the hook. Keep in mind that it should basically depend on the size of the minnows.

Usually, minnows may have a size of less than 7.5 cm. So, with this, you can generally pick a hook that has a size of 4 or 6. Meanwhile, for those minnows that have a size range of 10 to 12.5 cm, bigger hook sizes should also be used. For instance, you can actually go for hooks with a size of 2 or 1/10.

A key point to remember here, just to give yourself time to analyze for the hook that is best suitable for you. Think better for the hook that would be perfect enough for your minnow bass fishing.

How to Hook a Minnow for Bass Fishing – 3 Different Hooking Methods

Since minnows are small fish, the way on how to hook them for bass fishing needs extra caution and carefulness. Remember that if you got the wrong move, you will definitely lose your catch. The following the various methods on how to hook a minnow for bass fishing.

I. Hook a Minnow on his Lips

how to hook a minnow for bass

Casting and retrieving a minnow is done better when you hook it through its lips either on the lower or upper part. This is for the purpose of allowing the fish to swim freely regardless if you are pulling it on the water. Generally, this method is basically good for multiple casts where you are not able to keep the minnow alive for a long period of time.

You need to use short lifts, soft pops, and some breaks. Moreover, if you will have to vibrate the tip of the fishing rod, you will improve the action of the minnow while it keeps on pivoting over your hook. Although a minnow can be hooked on either the upper or lower lip, it is still better if you hook it just on one lip. This is to give way for the water to get through the gills.

In order to successfully hook a minnow for bass fishing through its lips, basically, within the lower lip, thread the hook first. And eventually, move on the upper lip part. Since the hook point is turning upright, it will allow the minnow to swim in that direction. It is also advisable to check after the minnows when you opt to hook it through this method. In case you see any signs that the fish is dying, replace it immediately.

II. Hook a Minnow on his Back

Another way on how to hook a minnow for bass fishing is through its dorsal fin. Hooking it over his back lets them move naturally on the water regardless if they are rigged or not. Moreover, this method will also allow them to stay on the water. Compared to the first method, this way of hooking a minnow is perfect for ice fishing.

You just have to rig it under a sinker so that it will be maintained below the water. The bobber should also be around 18 inches or 45 cm in front of the minnow. That will restrict the minnow from swimming downward in a far distance. This dorsal fin hooking also lets the minnow stay alive longer compared to when it is hooked on its lips.

But, you still need to be careful in doing this method. Remember not to pierce the spine of the minnow. Once you hook it you will able to paralyze it anyway.

III. Hook a Minnow on the Tail

In case you will be fishing without any weight or bobber, the best way on how to hook a minnow for bass fishing is through its tail. This method of hooking basically allows them to freely swim because the weight is not pulled down. Among the three methods, this is the one that generally allows the minnows to stay alive for a longer time period.

Always remember that the unweighted line during fishing is the best one to use because the minnows are small fish. Other anglers prefer using the tail hold method through the use of a light sinker. This hooking a minnow method is highly preferred when you are casting on a particular target. It is also suitable when fishing for suspended fish over the trees or close to the boat.

Tackles and Rigs – Essential Tools in Hooking a Minnow for Bass Fishing

During minnow fishing, tackle and rigs are actually important. With that in mind, it is also crucial to follow these things below:

  • A barrel swivel generally acts as a stopper. So, for minnow fishing, you can either rig that fishing tool or a 3-way swivel in front of the hook. However, the latter is far better as a dipsey sinker rather than a stopper. Few anglers are using the snap swivel because it is quite easier to use especially when you need to change the hooks and lures. The drawback is that it adds more weight. If we will be tracing back, hooking a minnow generally requires weight reduction.
  • Thinner lines are actually better to use especially when you are fishing on clear water. This is highly suitable for minnow fishing over the lakes and rivers since the water there is basically clear. Lines of around 3 or 4 kg class are the best ones to use for this.

Tips and Technique While Using Minnows for Bass Fishing

Well, fishing with minnows is really a challenging task. Aside from being small, minnows highly demand more care and attention. Moreover, transporting them is actually a difficult process. In case you want the minnows to stay alive during fishing, consider these important things:

Consider a cool temp

In general, minnows prefer to be on cool water. Maintaining the cool temperature allows them to thrive. Just ensure that the water temperature is not as high compared to the temperature of the water in the area where you will be minnow fishing.

Between the cool water and warm water, the cool one is composed of more oxygen. Aside from that, minnows also need to be maintained out of sunlight. It is also a good idea to incorporate a sufficient amount of ice. Again, you also need to be careful here as placing too much ice may cause shock to the minnows.

Ensure that there is a clean water  

Well, this is generally applicable not only during minnow fishing but also in catching other kinds of fish. Clean water is a must. Always make it a habit to filter and change the water inside your bucket.

This is highly crucial when you are considering keeping the minnows over a particular time period. Immediately replace the water once it starts to get cloudy. Doing so will help in the removal of ammonia buildup coming from the waste excreted by the fishes.

Another tip is to use a de-chlorinating solution when you will be using tap water. Just add a few drops of the solution and it will remove any traces of chlorine within the water.

Get help from an aerator

Aerators are popular in giving off oxygen into the fish bucket that can lengthen the minnow’s lives. This device works under the use of batteries while others come with adapters. Using aerators is a big help in adjusting the level of oxygen so it is better to consider its use.

In case you will be looking for an aerator, find one that operates smoothly and quietly. That will greatly keep you from disturbing any fish underwater.

Avoid overcrowding the minnows

A large amount of baitfish inside a small bucket is a no-no. It will generally cause high competition for the available oxygen supply within the water. In connection with that, it will also contribute to the elevated amount of ammonia. Remember that a 1-gallon bucket has the ability to handle the following minnows:

  • Fathead minnows having a size of 3/4 to 1 inch – maximum of 6 dozen
  • Shiner minnows with 2 to 3 1/2 inch – around 4 to 5 dozen
  • Larger minnows of about 3 1/2 inches or more – 1 to 1/2 dozens

Generally, a 5-gallon bucket is highly recommended for very large baitfish. This includes suckers that have a size of 10 to 18 inches.

Additional Info:

Well, another advantage of using live minnows is saving your bucks on baits. This is generally helpful when you are accessing freshwater. Aside from that, minnows are highly available for catching at your own convenience. You just need to have a basic trap for minnows which you can buy or prepare by yourself.

Simply throw breadcrumbs or a slice of bread inside the trap. Afterward, toss it into a shallow water area. If you want to experience the best results, allow your trap to stay on the water overnight. Luckily, there are instances that the trap can be filled in in just a few hours.

Frequently Asked Questions:


A: Minnows are generally useful in catching bass especially the largemouth species. When using minnows, some anglers successfully have a bite of bass having a size of 7 inches up to a maximum of 7 pounds. However, the size of the minnow will generally vary based on the fishing species that you want to catch.


A: Generally, during shallow fishing using minnows, it is also an essential adjunct to use bobbers. This method highly demands having a minnow, hook, bobber, and bobber stopper, and a split shot. The use of the bobber stoppers is to handle the depth in which the bait may able to go down. The usual setup of the bobber having a minnow is perfect for catching crappies, catfish, and bass.


A: Basically, a bobber may not be of great help when you are on trout into a lake. This is primarily due to the fact that the lake is as deep as 80+ feet. For a bait to get deep down, you highly need bait.

Final Thoughts

Knowing some of the basic and common strategies on how to hook a minnow for bass fishing is generally crucial. With that in mind, you are now sure that you are on your best way to be a great angler. Generally, small fishing activities like this are the best key towards enhancing your ability as an angler. Aside from that, you will be able to successfully land on a possibility to have a great catch!