up here in DE our main live bait for gills is night crawlers. i experimented with crickets earlier in the year and caught a few fish but know i could have done better. any advice would be appreciated like how to rig them and where to fish them.
I've been thinking more about buying various baits at pet stores .Things like crickets mealworms... grubs...are they cheaper than the bait shop?I'm hemmin' and hawing 'cause I don't want to dis the bait shops.They need our business.
I want to know how much of a pain it is to grab a cricket and put it smartly on a hook before it hops away !!!
Crickets rule down south! I woudn't be caught near the water without them. We have cricket ranches down here. I passed one yesterday in NW Florida just below the Alabama line. Ard's Cricket Ranch #2 the sign said.
Our wild crickets are black, our store bought ones are light brown, kaki colored. The brown ones are the ones we fish with. They sell for $3 to $4 a hundred. A hundred is my minimun to go out by myself with. There are a number of advantages to buying them by the hundreds. They are cheap and actually work great. When you reach into a cricket can that has that many in it, it is no problem to get one in your fingers real easy. They don't hold up very well once bitten though they will hit a small piece if you're too lazy to rebait. Having plenty makes rebaiting logical. I sometimes throw a handful or two out on the water to get things started.
I fish them under a float, usually a porcupine quill though I like the pencil type float too. A single"B" sinker is my choice and a long shank #8 tru-turn hook. I just reach into the cricket can and grab one with thumb and finger. Manuever him till his head is in the up position and his back is to you. Just behind the head is a hard shell collar. Hold your hook point down and slide it just under the collar from the head toward the abdomen. When it comes out the bottom side of the collar upside down, twist it around and back down through the abdomen. Your shank should be under the collar and the hook coming out of the belly, similar to a plastic worm bass rig.
Now I will say that we don't use them near as much in cool weather, we go crappie fishing a lot then. But in warm weather, nothing else come close down here.
It might take a little practice, but crickets are cheap lol. Crickets, wax worms, and meal worms all work great. I also have great luck with dry flies. I rig a dry fly about 2 or 3 feet behind a weighted bobber, cast it out, then slowly troll it past where I think they might be hiding. I like to use a fly that doesn't have much of a tail, I like the hook to be right at the end. Good Luck my friend!
I don't know about new jersey's gill fishery but, i use crickets 97% of the time while fishing in most state's i fish in. It's like candy to them. But I have noticed recently,after fishing with 60 crickets i switch to worms. With the crickets its an instant bite with most fish good to great size fish, but once i run out of crickets and use nightcrawlers i get nothing but larger fish. Fishing crickets i catch 2 fish a minute and with the nightcrawlers it's like 1 fish every 4 to 5 minutes.
I'm fishing tomorrow, i'll do a test, same set-up and line, one with a cricket and one with nightcrawler pcs. I'm sure i know the outcome but i'll see what i learn from this little test.
These are 2 pics 2 different days. The darker pic is fishing with crawlers and the lighter pic is fishing with crickets
Mike, I smell a business opportunity here. Crickets are easy to raise if you're set up right. Those 30 something bugs will lay kajillions of eggs if you just put a little pan of shredded peat moss in with them. The adults will die within a few days, leaving the eggs to hatch into a new generation. They only live for about 12 days, so it is an ongoing process. You just need a plywood box with an old window screen for a lid, and a light bulb inside to keep them warm. Around here, they sell Cricket and Worm feed, but they'll eat most any fresh vegetative matter. You also have to leave some water in there for them.
We use them for the big Bluegill and Redear Sunfish here in Southern California all the time. We usually tip tiny maribou jigs with them (I hook them thru their butt end), or use them on a light drop shot rig. Probably the best big Bluegill live bait.