One of the most highly effective live bait in coastal waters is the mud minnow. I have had the opportunity to fish with mud minnows countless times when casting from the shore or a boat. Importantly, the mud minnow is a favorite of some of the most high sought after inshore gamefish. Without question, I have caught a multitude of species while using mud minnows beneath a float or on a jig. However, understanding the proper way to hook a mud minnow is critical. A properly hooked mud minnow will maximize the number of hookups. Here is how to hook a mud minnow. 

What Is A Mud Minnow

Mud minnows are extremely common along the coastal waters of the United States. In all honesty, I fished mostly offshore until the last few years and had no idea what a mud minnow was. 

As the name implies, the fish typically lives near the bottom of the seafloor. The dark coloration would indicate that the primary habitat is low in the water column. For this reason, it blends well with muddy and soft bottoms. 

Interestingly, the mud minnow, when held, is unique. Rather than being stout and muscular, the fish is soft and slippery. I personally compare the fish to jello. 

Without question, mud minnows are small. However, this does not mean that they are not consumed by large gamefish. 

Mud Minnows Are An Overlooked Bait

As mentioned before, I was unfamiliar with mud minnows until the last few years. Considering how effective the bait is, mud minnows are overlooked. 

I personally have visited my local bait shop dozens of times when I don’t have time to catch live bait. Interestingly, I passed by the mud minnow tank for years as I always opted for live shrimp. 

Furthermore, I see the same trend when it comes to fellow anglers. Rather than selecting mud minnows, they go directly to the shrimp line. Having fished with both, I now prefer mud minnows in comparison to shrimp. 

Interestingly, the mud minnow is a significantly hardier bait. Mud minnows are almost indestructible as they are capable of living in environments with extremely low oxygen levels. 

When comparing the longevity of a shrimp on the hook versus a mud minnow, the mud minnow lives much longer. For this reason, you will not need to reel up on a frequent basis when the bite is slow. 

Learn How To Hook A Mud Minnow

Without question hooking a mud minnow is a simple and straightforward process. However, I highly advise handling the live bait cautiously. While yes, mud minnows are hardy, the less handling, the more active the fish will be on the hook. More activity leads to a higher number of strikes. 

No matter if you’re using a jig head, circle hook, or other form of a hook, the same process applies. 

First, hold the mud minnow in one hand with the hook in the opposite hand. 

Secondly, locate the notch on the underside of the mouth that runs from the back end of the mouth to the lips. 

Third, drag the hook without piercing the mud minnow to the most forward position of the notch before the lips. 

Fourth, with the tip of the hook, pierce through the bottom lip and up through the top between the nostrils. 

Lastly, position the bait so it is sitting central to the bend of the hook. Central positioning will allow for the most natural motion. 

Again, when it comes to how to hook a mud minnow, the process is simple. 

What Kind Of Fish Can You Catch With Mud Minnows

First, I should mention that mud minnows are capable of being fished suspended beneath a float or on the bottom. 

I personally fish one rod on the bottom and one with a float until I determine which bite is strongest on a particular day. 

Mud minnows are highly effective for catching redfish, sea trout, and flounder. Some anglers swear that it is the best flounder bait available, but I have caught equal amounts of trout and redfish. 

It should be noted that the flounder bite is primarily on the bottom compared to redfish and, in particular, sea trout. I suggest dragging a mud minnow tipped jig head for flounder. Comparatively, I prefer fishing mud minnows beneath floats for sea trout and redfish. 

Interestingly I have spotted and cast mud minnows to the noses of bonnethead sharks. Never have I had a bonnethead shark eat a mud minnow. 

Now You Know How To Hook A Mud Minnow

Without a doubt, hooking a mud minnow is as simple as it gets. Proper placement of the hook reduces the likelihood of the bait coming free when casting. The next time you’re tossing a cast line or at the bait shop, consider fishing mud minnows. I can attest to the efficiency of the live bait attracting strikes from the most popular inshore gamefish.