Cut bait is very popular among anglers because it’s affordable, easy to make and easy to use, and highly effective.
It’s been used to catch various game fish species such as catfish and trout, however, many anglers wonder whether cut bait would be effective when fishing for predator fish like muskies.
So, will muskies eat cut bait? Muskies will eat cut bait because they will be attracted to its natural scent. To catch muskies with cut bait, you need to present the bait properly. It’s recommended to use baitfish such as carps, perch, bluegill, or shad that are cut into chunks or fillets.
Keep reading to learn how to make cut bait and how to properly use it to catch muskies.
What Kind of Baits Do Muskies Like?
Muskies are apex predators and they have a very diverse diet. That’s why Muskies are likely to bite on all kinds of natural bait.
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Can You Catch Muskies with Cut Bait?
You can catch muskies with cut bait as they’re highly attracted to natural baits.
Cutting your bait will help release a stronger scent in the water which will effectively grab the muskies’ attention and get them to bite.
Cut bait also provides musky anglers with several benefits. It’s affordable and easy to obtain as you can use any baitfish you have available to make cut bait. It’s also easy to rig, even for beginners.
You can also find out why scented baits work so well here (and find out what are the best scented baits I use regularly with great results).
What Kind of Fish Can You Use as Cut Bait?
When choosing which baitfish to use as cut bait, you need to consider what muskies typically eat. It’s usually believed that the oilier the fish is, the more effective it will be when used as cut bait.
Some of the most common baitfish to use as cut bait are Carp, threadfin Shad, Gizzard Shad, Skipjack Herring, Perch, and Bluegills. You can also use some crustaceans such as crawfish and shrimp.
How to Make Cut Bait?
To make cut bait, you first need to obtain the baitfish you’ll use. You can buy the baitfish from your local bait shop or you can catch them yourself.
After obtaining the baitfish, you need to clean it by removing the scales and bones then cut the meat into pieces.
Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Remove the scales by holding the fish firmly by its tail and scraping over its skin several times on both sides of its body using a sharp knife.
- Cut the fish’s head off just before the pectoral fin then cut across its tail on both sides
- Hold the fish with its belly facing up then make a cut from the anal fins towards the head. Cut across the spine and through the skeletal bones while keeping your blade shallow to avoid damaging the meat.
Next, you need to start cutting the bait. The size of your cut bait will mainly depend on the size of the musky fish you’re targeting and you want to make sure not to waste any of the meat.
If you’re targeting smaller muskies, it’s better to use smaller chunks that are cut at an angle. While, if you’re targeting larger muskies, you can use bigger pieces of cut bait or even fillets but they might not stay on the hook quite as well. You can also use the head and tail as cut bait.
It’s highly recommended not to wash your cut bait before using it as all the blood and oils will release a stronger scent into the water which will attract more muskies to bite.
How to Fish for Muskies Using Cut Bait?
To fish for muskies using cut bait, you need to properly rig the bait and present it in a way that would grab their attention
It’s recommended to use circle hooks when using cut bait and make sure the hook s large enough so that the bait wouldn’t fall off the hook when you cast.
To rig the cut bait on your hook, run the hook point through 1 or 2 chunks of cut bait multiple times. This will create more holes into the meat which will help release a stronger scent.
If you’re rigging the head or tail, it’s best to let them dangle off the hook to create a strong action in the water to grab the muskies’ attention
When it comes to the fishing technique, it’s recommended to use trolling or drifting as this will help you cover more water and allow you to present the bait more naturally to the muskies. It’s also recommended to increase the speed of your retrieval.
What Gear Is Best to Catch Muskies Using Cut Bait?
When using cut bait to catch muskies, you need to make sure your gear is suitable for the fishing technique you’re going to use.
It’s recommended to use long fishing rods as they’re ideal for trolling. You can use a rod that’s about 8 to 9 feet in length with medium-heavy power and you can pair the rod with a Baitcasting reel which will allow you to retrieve your bait faster. You can find the best budget baitcasting reels here, these will work fine for Muskies.
For a mainline, it’s recommended to use a strong line that can carry the weight of musky fish. Most anglers usually go with a braided line with a line test of 50 to 80 pounds.
You also need to attach about a foot-long of steel or fluorocarbon leader to your mainline because muskies have sharp teeth and they might bite through your mainline and steal your bait.
Before you go fishing, make sure to get your fishing license! You can find out how much does a fishing license in every state costs and where to get it here.
What Is Sour Bait?
Sour bait is basically cut bait that has been fermented. This kind of bait can produce a strong smell that will attract fish. However, if it’s too rotten, it might drive the fish away. To make sour bait, you need to scale and cut baitfish then place the pieces into a glass jar that contains a small amount of water. Next, you need to put the jar in direct sunlight for about a day.
Is It Legal to Use Cut Bait?
It is legal to use cut bait in most states. However, there might be some regulations for a certain type of baitfish that you use to make the cut bait. So, you need to check the regulations in the area where you’re fishing and confirm with the local authorities before fishing with cut bait.
Are Live Baits More Effective Than Cut Baits?
Live bait might be more effective than cut bait. That is because fish tend to be more attracted to the natural action of live bait in the water. However, you can still catch fish with cut bait as long as you rig the bait properly.
Can You Use Worms as Cut Bait?
You can use worms such as Nightcrawlers as cut bait. Since the worms are relatively large, they need to be cut into smaller pieces so that the fish can easily bite on them. When you cut the worms, they will release a strong scent that is very attractive to many fish species.
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