These bait rigs work wonders on trout.
Fly fishing’s dirty little secret is that we make it arbitrarily hard on ourselves. I die a little inside every time I see a kid pulling up a 14-inch rainbow on a nightcrawler, and I die a little more because I know that I did this to myself.
But if you really, really want to be a cheater, you can check out some of these bait rigs. Keep in mind that even though live and artificial baits are very effective, you can’t get lazy—make sure your line isn’t too heavy (visible), and that you’re mindful of things like color and the time of day, as well as where you’re fishing. Powerbaits, for example, will work better in lakes than in rivers.
Simple Powerbait on a Gang Hook
Powerbait makes me angry on so many levels. I think I’m mostly bitter because it works so well. Applying powerbait to a gang hook is especially deadly, and simple to boot. Apply it to the hooks until the tip is covered up, then start casting. Gang hooks can be pre-tied or self-tied, depending on your knotsmanship. Make sure that the bait you use is intended for trout—a powerbait for trout should float, but not all do.
Berkley is a highly recommended manufacturer of powerbaits, so check out their lineup to get a sense for what works.
Scented Tube Jig
A scented tube jig is a little more sophisticated than slathering on powerbait, and a little more effective as well. Besides showing a more natural presentation, a tube jig doped with powerbait will attract the fish, but also make them less apt to spit out the bait, giving you time to set the hook.
The jig can come pre-scented or you can apply your own. Tube bodies come in a variety of colors, most of the bright, and the best color will depend on weather, sunlight, and season. In general, white seems to perform best.
With a little tool called a worm blower, you can inflate your artificial nightcrawler rig so that it floats on the surface. The principle for this bait rig is more or less the same as powerbait—a juicy, smelly bait that floats on the surface, where they’re usually looking. The tool to inflate the worm can be found for just $5 dollars here.
Live Nightcrawler on Gang Hook
Nightcrawlers are pretty much the ultimate bait rig for trout. They’re heavy enough for spin casting, irresistible to the fish, and effective on almost any water. To make it even better you can rig the nightcrawler to a gang hook. Besides having the inherent advantage of a multi-hook setup, a gang hook is reputed to offer a more natural presentation.
Attaching the worm to the hooks is simple. Pierce it once through the head with the first hook, and once through the body on the last hook, making sure the crawler is stretched more or less straight along the length of the hooks.
You will never fail to catch fish with this rig.
Trout love these rigs and I doubt you’ll come home empty handed, unless you have really bad luck.