8 Best Way To Hook A Minnow: You Never Know!

Hook A Minnow

As many shrewd anglers can attest, live minnows are an incredibly effective bait for everything from crappie to catfish and walleye to pike. The question is, however, how to hook a minnow and keep it alive. Here, we list the 8 best ways to hook a minnow for you. Choose the one you prefer now!


The only significant difference between one nightcrawler and another is size, but that isn’t at all the case for the minnows you can buy at your neighborhood bait shop.

Commonly found are two species: the fathead and golden shiner.

And, you guessed it, the fathead gets its name from having a bulbous head that makes it simple to distinguish between them at a glance. 

The more robust of the two, fatheads can handle hooking, heat, and low oxygen levels better than golden shiners. This prolongs their life, which is something you definitely want in live bait.

Look for tight schools of minnows when you peer into the bait shop’s minnow tank.

That is an indication of the minnows’ good health and vitality.

Another option is to set up your own traps, which you can do by simply baiting one like the one provided by Frabill and putting it in the water. 

How To Hook A Minnow

You can use a wide variety of rigs and hook types with minnows, but most of them are pretty species-specific. To put it another way, a great catfish rig isn’t necessarily a good crappie rig.

Tail Hooking

When fish are taking the minnow too deep, a set line works best. With this rig, when the fish swallows the minnow head first, the hook is located closer to the front of the fish’s mouth.

Additionally, tail-hooking is effective when jigging and battling picky fish that refuse to commit.

However, you might experience brief strikes in which fish grab the minnow by the head and pull it free of the hook. If that happens, place a tiny stinger hook close to the minnow’s head.

Hook A Minnow

Lure Hooking

This works best when the fish are aggressive and you need to quickly rip a lure. According to Chisholm, the secret is to catch the minnow on your lure without impairing its natural action. Drop the lure into the hole and observe its natural action in the absence of a minnow before attempting to rig it, so that it enhances rather than detracts from the action of the lure.

It’s critical to hook the minnow on the bottom treble hook through the head and out under the jaw when using his go-to ice lure, the Jigging Rap.

In this manner, the minnow will float up beneath the plastic fins of the lure and cause it to glide naturally when you pop your rod tip and the lure shoots forward.

The head-hooked minnow won’t live long, but it’s only there to complete the transaction. The solution is as simple as a minnow head.

Lip Hooking

This is the method to use when you need a finesse technique, like drop-shotting, and you want the minnow to remain alive and struggle. Employ quick lifts, pauses, and gentle pops.

The action of the struggling minnow as it pivots on your hook can be improved by vibrating the tip of your rod. Keep in mind that the minnow should only have one lip hooked so that water can still pass through its gills.

Back Hooking

A set-line is ideal for this rig because it keeps the minnow alive longer and more vibrantly. According to Chisholm, the allure of a flailing minnow can entice a fish into biting.

For the best hookset, rig the hook with the point up and toward the head of the minnow, as fish typically eat the head first. To avoid hitting the spine, make sure to only place the hook under the skin on one side of the dorsal fin.

Gills Hooking

It’s similar to hooking an eye socket to attach a fish to its gills. Just let me know if you want to put the hook through the fish’s mouth and then exit through the gills.

It doesn’t matter which side you exit from, just make sure you don’t harm the gills in the process. You can use both live and dead baitfish with this hooking technique.

Eyeball Hooking

The remainder of my hooking strategies will go beyond what you’re probably familiar with. You must understand how to use them because each one has a specific purpose, which I will discuss.

For this specific technique, you must hook a minnow through the eye socket. The hook will be inserted just under the eye, through the socket, and brought out of the mouth.

As a dead bait loses some of its strength in the skin, bones, and meat, you want to do this because it is strong.

This enables you to position the hook so that the fish will eat it first, upfront. If you only intend to use a portion of a minnow, you can still do this.

Back Hooking

The second way to hook a minnow is in its back. The dorsal fin is where this is primarily done. This can be understood if you are familiar with the scene in the movie “Jaws” where his large dorsal fin emerges from the water.

Not diving too deeply below the dorsal fin is crucial in this situation. If you descend too far, you’ll come close to the lateral line and break the minnow’s backbone. this is obviously what you don’t want to do.

This is also a live bait type of hook technique that you can use on a live minnow. The minnow will have more freedom to move, and because the hook is closer to the fish’s head, the chance of hooking it quickly increases.

Dorsal Hooking

Using this method, you insert your hook into the minnow about two-thirds of the way up its body, just below the dorsal fin.

For most game fish, dorsal rigging is lethal.

The goal is to give the hook a solid anchor, stay away from the body cavity and its internal organs, and let the minnow move its head and tail.

Final Thoughts

The most adaptable live bait choice available to anglers may be minnows, and any fisherman must be able to hook one. 

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