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Kyle

Smelt for bait?

13 posts in this topic

Does anyone ever use dead smelt that you buy in the package and use it consistantly for tip ups? Thats all my buddy uses and he loves it, but I dont have any experience with it. Anyone think its better or worse than live bait?

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I don't see why it wouldn't work. They use smelt for lakers and pike up in the NE all the time. It's no different than a pike hammering a deadstick spoon tipped with a minnow head. If they're hungry, they'll eat it.

Give the smelt a try, I bet you'll be happy with the results.

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I've tried them a few different times when I'd have some leftovers from trips up north and I didn't see any difference for the better anyways. I think that live just worked better around here. If your fishing pike, in my mind nothing beats a big fat sucker with the tail bit off (or cut off for you wimps grin.gif) OR a big golden shiners if you can find them.

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Spring in North Dakota, smelt on the bottom, huge northerns. Winter in North Dakota, smelt on a tip up, decent northerns. Of course they use hot dogs on tip ups out there too. Not alot a bait shops Ya Know?

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Quote:

If your fishing pike, in my mind nothing beats a big fat sucker with the tail bit off (or cut off for you wimps
grin.gif
)


Whoooaa!! I have a whole new level of respect for you leechbait.

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Used smelt straight out of the grociery store many times, They work great for small and big pike, Best setup is a harness that you can make or buy, they have them in the stores now. It hangs the smelt level and there is a treble hook in each end of the smelt, Works great.

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You might have to make that rig "Minnesota legal" I think you still need to have a spinner or beads on it to make it a lure. You can't have more than one hook per line unless it's a lure.

Grew up fishing smelt on Ashtabula in North Dakota. Live bait wasn't legal at that time. They work great. We used to push a long shank treble hook through the smelt then tie it to the line.

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I have talked to a few people that used smelt in area lakes and they do pretty well on it. They did say that you have to make sure that the bait sits level on the hook. In other words you don't want the bait to look like it is doing a nose dive or swimming up.

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One other thing that you can do with the smelt...I used to thaw them out the night before and put them in a ziplock bag with some food coloring and put them in the fridge overnight. I got 3rd place in the DL Eagles derby with a blue smelt one year. I have also dyed them red and orange too.

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Well I don't want to look like I'm bashing the smelt thing, They work but what won't a northern take on a hook? The bad thing about them is you can't get rid of that nasty smell very easy. GO LIVE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> HA HA HA!!!!!!!

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We used to wash our hands with toothpaste to get rid of the fish smell.

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Hiya -

I use dead smelt a lot for pike. Frankly, I much prefer them to live suckers. Less fuss, for one (don't have to carry a bucket, plus they won't run into weeds or trip flags on you), and I think they just work better.

Pike are real scavengers in cold water. Frankly, they're flat out lazy a lot of the time - especially bigger ones. They like easy to catch, and nothing's easier to catch than dead bait.

As far as needing to hang them level - I couldn't disagree more. I rig mine on quick strike rigs, head down, and I don't think it makes one bit of difference. It's certainly less messing around. One hook behind the head, one behind the dorsal fin, and down the hole they go. (I rarely add weight to the thing either.)

One great way to fish a dead smelt (or dead anything) is with an HT Windlass tip-up. A weightless smelt fluttering underneath one of these things is asking to get clobbered. You actually want the thing moving very little - just enough to get it fluttering around.

One mistake a lot of guys make (well, not a mistake maybe, but a missed opportunity) is only putting dead baits near the bottom, especially in water less than 15 or so feet deep. Pike will cruise the water column at all levels, and some days almost every fish will come on baits set half way to the bottom. If you're fishing an area with a lot of panfish anglers, try setting one or two lines 2 or 3 feet below the ice. Pike will cruise right under the ice munching on all the little sunfish and crappies that turn up their trotters after being released. I know some guys who do this on some Twin Cities lakes not at all known for their pike, and they get some pretty impressive fish doing it.

One word to the wise about using dead smelt though. When you get home, always check your pockets... About 10 years ago, I came back from an ice pike trip where it rained for two days. Everything I had was soaked. So, I just took all my cold weather gear and tossed the whole mess in the dryer... Including the whole bag of dead smelt in my jacket pocket. Tumble-dried smelt. NOT fun picking that out of the lint filter, and the smell was spectacular. shocked.gif

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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Here is another take on this. About 5 years ago we were at LOW. We had some smelt along and the fishing was slow. The fishhouse that day was very warm. By that evening a good friend of mine was very hammered and getting belligerent. But he was hungry.. very hungry.. We didn't have much real food along so I fired up the stove and cooked up a whole bag of these smelly bastards, not the little bag either. By the time they were ready he was in tough shape... After he ate every last one, including the heads he went ni ni!!! Any body want to come fishing?

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