Northern Hog Suckers... not interested in my bait!

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MichaelAngelo's picture
Northern Hog Suckers... not interested in my bait!
<p>I tried a pod of Northern Hog Suckers yesterday, but none of them were intereted in my bits of worm, dough, aluminum foil, and little coloured plastic bits (yes, I was getting desparate LOL). &nbsp;I even put my bait right next to a fish that was sucking and churning the bottom... so it was clearly feeding!</p> <p>4lb fluroclear leader and #24 hook. &nbsp;</p> <p>Any insight on why the fish were finicky? &nbsp;Any tips on catching one?</p>
Tyler W
Tyler W's picture

In my experience hogsuckers are one of the few fish that seem to understand physics. Any food that want to eat should fall slowly (and evenly) through the water or crawl along the bottom. If they see a worm jumping up and down in the water, and then land, they assume it isn't food. And, if the worm is following the 1oz sinker that just hit them on the head, they won't eat that one either. When hogs "spook" they won't necessarily leave because they trust their camoflauge, but they will stop biting your bait. They can be one of the most fun and infuriating fish to sight fish too, but once you get the knack you will wonder why it seemed so hard the first time. 


If you are standing up stream: Try to make your bait land slowly and smoothly on the bottom about 6" to 12" in front of a hogsucker... then wait. If they smell your bait (and want to eat it) their  lips will start quivering as they search among the rocks for the delicious worm. Another minute and they will follow their nose up to your bait, where they will suck it in with gusto. 


If you are standing downstream: Slinkies (or snagless runs) work best for this technique. Walk up behind the hog, and cast far enough up stream that it doesn't see your bait land. Next, pull your bait along the bottom until it is directly up stream. Pause, and wait for the hog to smell the worm.


In either case, if your worm ends up behind the fish try to get the bait out of the area with out spooking the it. They won't drop back to take a bait because they can't smell it. Better off to have your bait 18" in front of a sucker than 2" behind it. 


I also recommend a #8-#6 octopus hook (circle or straight) depending on your preference. 




Gunnar's picture
I love that a spooked

I love that a spooked hogsucker might not move away at all. So much more badass than wimpy trout or bass that shoot out of the area yelping in fright.


Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers:

2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5

dj330's picture
try fishing them from farther

try fishing them from farther away and using typical sucker tackle. i use just a single splitshot a size 6-10 hook and half a crawler. they can be tough to sight fish sometimes. i caught most of mine just blind casting not really specifically targeting them. 


MichaelAngelo's picture
this is great advice guys!  I

this is great advice guys!  I am learned!  :)  

It was so odd to watch the fish continue to feed and ignore my bait.  I'll have to think twice about how I present it1

MichaelAngelo's picture
Thank-you for all your help

Thank-you for all your help guys, I finally got one!  Report here: