View Full Version : Night stalking bait ???

08-07-2007, 06:52 AM
I'm wondering, since the lights draw in clouds of minnows and shad, could I put a minnow trap over the side of the boat for a little while to catch my bait instead of running into the bait shop? Do any of you experienced night stalkers do this? Thanks.

08-07-2007, 07:28 AM
I'm wondering, since the lights draw in clouds of minnows and shad, could I put a minnow trap over the side of the boat for a little while to catch my bait instead of running into the bait shop? Do any of you experienced night stalkers do this? Thanks.

The Shad would just avoid the trap, probably just swim under or around it. As far as "minnows" ... it would depend on species. A lot of those "minnows" are really just small sunfish and other gamefish fry. I'm not too sure any of them would go into the trap, either (of that you could even legally use them, even if they did).
Now, there is a "minnow" that's EXCELLENT Crappie bait, and is subject to coming to your lights (if you have them in your waters). That is the Brook Silverside (what some call "Ghost Minnow" or "Pin Minnow", in some places). My Grandpa (incorrectly) called them "Skipjacks" :D
Best way I know of, to catch them .... ease along close to the bank, after dark, with a lantern/12V light/blacklight ... and use a long handled dip net to dip them up with. They will follow the moving light, if you go slow enough. But, you have to dip them up "head first", as trying to come up from behind them will only result in them jumping clear of the net.
The Shad can be caught with dip net or cast net. Keeping either species alive is the hardest part, though I have used (and seen used) the recently deceased ones, with positive results.

Here's a Brook Silverside minnow :


.... cp :cool:

08-07-2007, 07:38 AM
ive tried catching bait years ago with a seine before i'd set up. you are much better off going ahead and buying your minnows than trying to catch em. most of what you see swarming around the lights at night are shad. if you can manage to catch em, then you got a problem of keeping em alive. youll need a aerated, fileterd bait tank. it aint worth the effort. buy your minnows and spend the time fishing instead.

08-07-2007, 07:40 AM
Excellent point about keeping them alive. Taking minnows out of the warm lake water makes it very difficult to keep them alive. Store bought minnows are usually pretty easy to keep alive if you keep them in a well insulated(styrofoam) bucket and keep them cool. I ocassionally use a little ice to help keep them cool as well. Whatever, you keep them in try to make sure that it's round in shape. If it has corners, the minnows will continually run into the sides of the container and eventually hurt themselves. That's why they always pile up in the corners. .

08-07-2007, 10:27 AM
As Rango said, I'd rather spend my time fishing instead of trying to catch bait. If you fish alot and think you're spending alot of money on minnows then you may want to think about building a home bait tank and buying minnows by the pound. Youll buy them for about half (or even less) than what youre paying now.

08-07-2007, 06:07 PM
Yeah, I'm out there to catch crappies not bait. We buy minnows and transport them in coolers with a frozen water bottle to keep them cool, and a battery powered aerator. I bring the leftover bait home and keep most of it alive until the next trip in a bait tank I made. I used a laundry room sink and insulated it, and put a fountain pump in the bottom of a plastic folgers can filled with polyfill. It pumps the water into a dorm fridge, where I rigged up a copper coil in a bucket full of water as a heat exchanger. It keeps the water 70-80 degrees when it has been over 90 degrees out for the last two weeks, and hotter yet in my garage....

that all said, I tried the "catch bait and fish" strategy and discovered that thowing a bait net off the bow of the boat in the dark with a ton of fishing rods , lights, and anchors in the water, is not a good thing. We just buy bait.

But, I know of a nightstalker in AR who uses a gill net stretched over a frame and lowers it in the water to collect bait while he fishes. It sounds like it may work very well. I don't think any other kind of trap would work very well, and I'm not sure if his method is legal in all states either.

good luck,

08-07-2007, 06:22 PM
Guy at i think yellville makes small gill nets to hang over the side.think they are mono best i can remember. Worked ok

08-08-2007, 12:43 AM
Seems like a small meshed dip net would work better than the trap. Won't hurt to try, they are relatively inexpensive at walmart.

08-08-2007, 07:36 PM
The best way to use shad for bait is catch one with a net then put it on a hook immediately.

Gotta Fish
08-10-2007, 01:43 PM
I buy a lot of my bait to start with but I will set up one rod after the Shad come in with a treble hook and a 3/4 oz sinker 12 to 18 inches below the hook and jig for Shad and when I snag one 2 or 3 inches long I will drop it to the depth that I want to fish this way is very effective for Crappie and Walleye. When the Crappie are really wanting the Shad I will transfer them to my single hook rods.

08-10-2007, 03:22 PM
Use glow jigging spoons! It has a erratic baitfish action that catches crappie and you dont need minnows!