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Live Baitin’ with Leeches
By Perry Good
Leeches are the most plentiful of all the baits. It seems that
natural to all bodies of water including creeks, rivers and lakes.
can be left in a container of water for a long time without food.
Walleyes love leeches almost all year round and they are classified
universal bait for walleyes.
Leeches inhabit lakes, ponds, marshes and slow moving streams,
throughout most of North America. All leeches have sucking disks
both ends. The mouth is located in the smaller disk at the head
Leeches use the larger disk on the tail only for clinging to objects.
Most leeches eat dead animals. Some species such as the horse
digest the skin of live animals and feed on the tissue. A few
such as the medicine leech, are called bloodsuckers. They have
which actually cut through skin to reach blood vessels and tissue.
all kinds of leeches attract fish. The leech species that live
waters with gamefish populations usually make poor bait. Most
ignore horse leeches. Either the scent of the horse leech repels
or it lacks the action of bait leeches.
Fish eat many types of leeches, but only the ribbon leech is widely
as bait. A few anglers have found tiger leeches to be good panfish
bait. A ribbon leech has a firmer body than a horse leech and
situations or grooves that are less pronounced. The color of
leeches varies from pure black to light brown. Some have a brown
olive background with many black spots.
Leeches are easy to keep alive. They are not as sensitive to
temperature changes as minnows, and they require relatively little
oxygen. Leeches can be kept alive until fall, even without food,
they should be allowed to clean themselves. Leeches that develop
on them are in need of a place to clean themselves. Leeches that
held in stagnant water over long periods of time need to ride themselves
of waste and if they were in a stream or pond they would burrow into
sand to clean themselves. Many anglers leave their leeches in
container in the refrigerator and find them in a slimy smelly mess.
Finally fishing with leeches made easy with a new device from JNB
Originals, the Leech Tamer. This device is a durable net bag
porous and rough to the touch. It has a Velcro closure at the
best of all it floats in your livewell or baitwell. Leeches have
place to rub against to clean themselves and they stay the same
temperature as the water. The leech will not curl up, because
temperature shock, and selection is easier plus it will give you more
time to fish. The Leech Tamer can be stored in your refrigerator
small pail or bowl of water or tied off the dock.
The summer is the best time to fish with leeches because their
population is on the decline. By mid-summer most of the adult
have deposited cocoons and die off. When the leech enters the
environment they are usually attacked. Also, in the summer time
leech will wiggle more below a bobber than a worm. When drifting
trolling, anglers will catch suspended walleyes on floating jigheads
slip sinker rigs. As you can plainly see the leech is a universal
walleye live bait.
Leeches can be below a float or on a Roach Rig or tipped on the end
Rattlin’ Jig, but all in all they are fish catching magnets
and I never leave home without them. Give them a try and you
always have some natural bait when you hit the water this summer.
For more information on the Leech Tamer contact JNB Originals,
507-629-3969 or Fax them at 507-629-8259. You can also look them
the web at www.driftbag.com. Give them a try and you will be
riggin’ with leeches.
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