A lot of cat fisherman make serious mistakes when baiting their hooks. How you bait a hook can effect whether a nibble becomes a bite and whether or not you can release your catch alive. How you hook your bait also affects whether it will still be on the hook after you cast. So here are some tips:
1) Hard Baits: Leave as much of the hook exposed as possible.
When you are fishing with tough or hard baits such as cut shad, live fish, crawdads ect. you want as much of the hook point exposed as possible. Have the point of the hook buried in the bait will prevent the point from digging in a catching the fish when it is in the fishes mouth.
Having the hook point hidden can also increase the chances that a fish swallows the hook and gets gut-hooked. This will likely kill the fish even if you can get the hook out.
Ideally, find a tough part of the bait (such as the shads belly or the through the eye). You don’t want the bait to tear free easily. Push the hook point all the way through and clear.
2) Soft Baits: Get as much on the shank as possible.
Soft gooey baits such as clams, chicken livers, fish guts, salmon eggs, ect. tend to fly off the hook when casting. The key to keeping them on the hook is to thread the hook through them as many times as possible to increase contact with the hook. Using an egg loop knot can help for really soft baits.
3) Toughen up your bait when necessary
You can toughen up soft baits by drying them in the sun. Chicken liver, clams and even worms will become much more durable after they have dried in the sun a little. This is often all you need to keep them from flying off the hook when casting.
4) Using Bait Elastic, Egg Loop Knots and Mesh
If your bait is having a hard time staying on the hook, you can use several tricks to keep it on the hook longer. Bait Elastics is basically stretch string that you use to tie your bait to the shank of the hook after piercing it several times with the hook.
Egg loop knots are a special knot that has a noose along the shank. You pierce the bait and then slip it into the noose and pull. The noose tightens and pins your bait to the shank, giving it a little extra support when casting.
Bait mesh can be old cut up pieces of nylons or any other fine mesh, but you wrap it around your bait to create a little sack of bait that you then pierce through with the hook. The mesh gives your bait that extra added support.