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Livebait alternatives

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Has anyone tried using sheepshead, mooneyes, redhorse, etc for flatheads? My concern is how long they would stay alive and active on a hook. Suckers are spendy and it seems you have to keep them cool to stay alive yet with warming water temps they go belly up pretty quick once you use them. I love using bluegills here in WI, but the stretch of river I want to fish wouldn't be reliable at all for catching any of them. No bullhead dealers in my area either. Oh yeah, what about frogs?

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Yes they all will work if you can find them and catch them and keep them alive.

If you can temper the suckers they are surprisingly tough. Slowly bring them up to temp by adding warm water or placing a hot water bottle into the bait water.

Gradually bring the temp up over an hour or two so that it is close to the temp of the water you are fishing.

I was skeptical as well, but LFC has shown me the light.

Even if you can keep them alive, they are still expensive though frown

Don't be afraid to throw out a big piece of cutbait if they do happen to die on you. Some of my biggest flats have been on a piece of cutbait. Especially during this midsummer timeframe.

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Mooneyes are great bait. Toss a small bobber upstream and let it dift with a piece of crawler a foot down and you are in bait. I didn't know about the 1 foot rule on bait and over the years most of the mooneyes I've caught and used for bait are about that long so watch that. They are like minny tarpon and will pull you into a snag when used as bait if you don't use enough weight or give them too much leader.

On a two rod river like the Croix do the fresh bait shuffle. Keep the fresh bait on a short lease until it dies, then cut them up and throw them out as cutbait on another rig until you catch another for bait. Hans

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I'm thinking where I'll be fishing I can catch bait as needed - we'll see. Tempering the suckers sounds like a great tip, thanks much!

No 1 foot rule in WI.

Haven't been out since two years ago, terrible....have tons of options close to home - no excuses!

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