I like using cut bait because it is easier to obtain than live bait. In the state of New Mexico, it is illegal to transport living fish from one body of water to another and catching live bluegill as bait is hit or miss. I can catch some bluegill or carp before a fishing trip, put them in the freezer, forget about them, and use them as cut bait anytime I want.
I’ve also noticed that I catch just as many flatheads, blues and channels on frozen cut bait as I do on live bait. I know many anglers would argue that, but this is just from my experience in my area.
I’ll typically cut the baitfish into sections. One cut behind the head from top to bottom, and again every 1″ to 2″ down the body. I hook the head starting underneath the jaw and out the top, through the bone between the eyes. This helps keep the hook from hooking back into the bait. I will hook the body pieces from the top, getting enough meat on the hook to keep the bait on, yet leaving plenty of gap on the hook so it can do its job.
Being born and raised here in Southern New Mexico, the majority of my fishing takes place in the Rio Grande River, Elephant Butte Reservoir, and Caballo Lake. Recently I was lucky enough to take a fishing trip out to Wichita, Kansas. With all of the water they have out there, I came home wondering why a guy, who loves fishing as much as I do, is living in the middle of a desert?