Striped Bass Fishing Forums Forum banner
1 - 20 of 49 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello I'm seeking tips for eel trapping.

I'm in Dutchess County, NY and went to a few local baitshops to buy live eels to use for striper fishing but the baitshops said new regulations don't allow them to carry them. I've caught them on hooks before, but those are usually too big to keep for bait. NY regulations say they have to be between 6" and 14" for use as bait in the Hudson. So I figure the quickest way to get a dozen live eels is to trap them.

I've looked through this forum and gathered good tips but still can't seem to get any. I'm using a minnow trap with two 1" openings which seem to allow in the perfect size eel I am looking for, baited with chicken livers, set at 6pm and retrieved next morning about 8am. I've tried placing the trap in different spots around a little inlet that runs under the railroad tracks and forms a tidal cove. Since I dont have a boat, I'm manually throwing the trap as far as i can, about 20 feet from shore. My first night I caught a 12 inch eel. That was a few weeks ago and I stupidly set him free because i thought it was too early for striper season and it seemed pretty easy to get eels. I'm not sure if that eel ran and told his friends or it was beginner's luck, but since then I haven't caught a single one.

Can anyone give me some advice? I read that cracked clams are the best bait, but I'm in Dutchess county where the Hudson is freshwater, do cracked clams still work? The trap is in about 10 feet deep of water at high tide, is that too shallow? Is my minnow trap not good enough? I saw other posts where people posted pictures of their eel traps, but those posts are so old that the pictures don't load anymore. At times I've tried fresh chicken livers and last night tried rotten livers that sat in the sun for 5 days. Which do eels like better, fresh or rotten? Sometimes the tide is so strong that it pushes the liver thru the trap metal mesh like cheese thru a cheese grater, leaving an empty trap so now I put the livers in pantyhose. Does that hinder the scent? I put like 1 or 2 good-sized livers in a standard sized gee's minnow trap, is that not enough?

Thanks in advance.
 

·
We'er like seven elevan; we may not be doing busin
Joined
·
69 Posts
Use a can of cat food. Put holes in the can with a nail. One per pot. Use the pots with the middle part that makes the trap bigger. Also; put a drum stick of chicken in there so they have something to eat. Two if you soak them over night. Do it after dark and harvest in the morning depending on the time and tides.
Go for brackish waters for the males and up river till its fresh water or a fresh water pond. Fresh water holds them too as long as it leads to the ocean.
Try the dollar store for the cat food and buy the cheapest chicken as eels won't care what you paid for the bait.

:trink08:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks. I used some cheap 50 cent catfood and herring. i've been catching a bunch of baby herring, 4" long. so i used 5 of those instead of chicken. i set the trap at night and by morning i had 1 eel in a minnow trap without the extension. in that short time he ate all the herring minnows except 2 of their heads. chicken legs like you said are probably better because that'd probably give them something to chew on for longer. on the 10 minute car ride home the eel got car sick and threw up all the minnows. eels are real messy, now i got a stinky-slimy-herring-vomiting-eel. i might just stick with striper fishing with herring lol. unfortunately where i am fishing, people are only catching the 4" baby herring on sabiki rigs. dont know where the big herring are.
 

·
King of Eels
Joined
·
4,227 Posts
Most baitfish.. including eels will purge once captured... I keep one eel keeper just for purging.. after 24 hours.. the puurged eels go into the main keeper..

Frozen herring works well until the calico crabs show up.. then, clams or horseshoe crabs make a better bait, they also do not go rancid as quckly in warm water as fish bait does..
 

·
We'er like seven elevan; we may not be doing busin
Joined
·
69 Posts
Use a can of cat food (in the can) stab it with a nail so the scent gets out. Toss a chicken drum stick in with it so they have something to eat and keeps them there for a while.
Toss the trap in at night. Also go for brackish waters. That's where fresh water blends with salt water. Males are usually in there. Follow the river to its fresh water source. Toss one in there as well cause that's where eels go.
 

·
We'er like seven elevan; we may not be doing busin
Joined
·
69 Posts
Chicken takes longer for them to eat when its raw. Thats why I said to use it. If you can get your hands on horseshoe crabs use them; they work very well. Just check your state regulations on that.
We on the North shore have a breeding ground for the H.crabs so they are easy to harvest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Most baitfish.. including eels will purge once captured..
ok good, i thought it was my driving skills that made it car sick laughing7.gif

ok thanks SnowRider. i think i'm too far north to be near brackish water. i'm in dutchess county. but i dont really know how to tell if it's brackish without stickin my tongue in the water. so i'll probably just use chicken legs and catfood.

i'm going to set my trap again tomorrow night. i'll keep u all posted how i do.
 

·
King of Eels
Joined
·
4,227 Posts
ok good, i thought it was my driving skills that made it car sick laughing7.gif

ok thanks SnowRider. i think i'm too far north to be near brackish water. i'm in dutchess county. but i dont really know how to tell if it's brackish without stickin my tongue in the water. so i'll probably just use chicken legs and catfood.

i'm going to set my trap again tomorrow night. i'll keep u all posted how i do.
you'll do better with chicken livers...... another good fresh ater bait is to load a bunch of night crawlers into a nylon sock ( the size of a base ball)... tie off the end... the eels go nuts trying to get the bait, only to have their tiny teeth snag into the sock..
 

·
We'er like seven elevan; we may not be doing busin
Joined
·
69 Posts
Im gonna try that nightcrawler trick. I always am trying new things and that seems like a good one using the stalking
 

·
King of Eels
Joined
·
4,227 Posts
Im gonna try that nightcrawler trick. I always am trying new things and that seems like a good one using the stalking
If you have a spot that you get them chummed in, you can tie the sock to a rope ( weighted) and drop it in... after a period of time ( depending on how thick they are0 you can pull the rope in.. they will have their teeth stuck in the stocking, shake them off over a fish box... it can net you alot of eels in a hurry.

another very good eel bait is hot dogs..they love e'm.
 

·
We'er like seven elevan; we may not be doing busin
Joined
·
69 Posts
I'll give it a shot tonight or this weekend and see if they are up here yet. I got my commercial license with the eel endorsment. Probably will sell them to Pete @ Fin & Feather in Essex or Al's bait and tackle in Beverly. Well see who pays the most for them.
 

·
King of Eels
Joined
·
4,227 Posts
Most towns have by - laws pertaining to eel trapping, which is controlled by the shellfish/worm warden.... usualy you need to get an endorsement/permit from each town as well as a state license..nothing is for free anymore.. everyone has a hand in the till..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
oh i've read about the nightcrawlers in a nylon sock. i didn't realize you had to put so many in, a few months ago i tried it with 3 nightcrawlers in a lil ball and it didn't get me any eels. i'll have to try the hotdogs tho that sounds like a good one. i've tried chicken livers but sometimes the current in the river is strong enough that by morning time the livers are pushed thru the trap like a cheese grater. i have a bunch of frozen chicken livers in the freezer that i have to use up, maybe i'll try some in a nylon sock so the current doesn't squish them away.

so friday night i put out my trap with canned cat food in a nylon sock anchored in the middle of the trap with fishing line. then baited it with about 5 frozen baby herring since i had to use them up. it was super windy that night and chilly. then morning time got nothing but one 4" minnow. i think it was a chub, not sure. i have bad luck in real chilly windy weather. so anyway, i re-tossed the trap in the same spot without re-baiting and even kept the live chub minnow in there.

then this morning i went to pick up the trap. looked all over for the trap and it was GONE. i had it tied on 80lb mono line on a stick wedged around a huge boulder so someone must have found it. so i sat there staring at the river thinkin bout wut i was gonna do to the guy that stole my trap when i noticed 30 feet out one stick wasn't drifting with the current. i cast my fishing pole between the stick and where i placed my trap and reeled in. after 3 attempts, i snagged an invisible line and realized it was my trap!! so the strong waves must have jarred my stick loose and took it out in the tide but the weight of the trap kept it from going too far. man i was lucky. so i reeled the stick to shore and pulled the trap in by hand figuring i wouldn't catch anything since my bait had been out there a good 30 hours. then to my amazement i got an eel!!! today's my lucky day. the chub minnow was gone, either got away or got eaten. most, if not all, of the bait was still there. eels are tough to measure but i'd say he's about 10". perfect striper food for today. here he is in a 4.5 gallon bucket:

Reptile Terrestrial animal Scaled reptile Lizard Amphibian


so now i'm going to go striper fishing. will try a few herring and then my live eel. can i fish live eels during the day or is it really a night bait?
 

·
We'er like seven elevan; we may not be doing busin
Joined
·
69 Posts
Really? I'm gonba have to check that out. Don't know who that would be for Essex, Salem and Beverly.
 

·
King of Eels
Joined
·
4,227 Posts
oh i've read about the nightcrawlers in a nylon sock. i didn't realize you had to put so many in, a few months ago i tried it with 3 nightcrawlers in a lil ball and it didn't get me any eels. i'll have to try the hotdogs tho that sounds like a good one. i've tried chicken livers but sometimes the current in the river is strong enough that by morning time the livers are pushed thru the trap like a cheese grater. i have a bunch of frozen chicken livers in the freezer that i have to use up, maybe i'll try some in a nylon sock so the current doesn't squish them away.

so friday night i put out my trap with canned cat food in a nylon sock anchored in the middle of the trap with fishing line. then baited it with about 5 frozen baby herring since i had to use them up. it was super windy that night and chilly. then morning time got nothing but one 4" minnow. i think it was a chub, not sure. i have bad luck in real chilly windy weather. so anyway, i re-tossed the trap in the same spot without re-baiting and even kept the live chub minnow in there.

then this morning i went to pick up the trap. looked all over for the trap and it was GONE. i had it tied on 80lb mono line on a stick wedged around a huge boulder so someone must have found it. so i sat there staring at the river thinkin bout wut i was gonna do to the guy that stole my trap when i noticed 30 feet out one stick wasn't drifting with the current. i cast my fishing pole between the stick and where i placed my trap and reeled in. after 3 attempts, i snagged an invisible line and realized it was my trap!! so the strong waves must have jarred my stick loose and took it out in the tide but the weight of the trap kept it from going too far. man i was lucky. so i reeled the stick to shore and pulled the trap in by hand figuring i wouldn't catch anything since my bait had been out there a good 30 hours. then to my amazement i got an eel!!! today's my lucky day. the chub minnow was gone, either got away or got eaten. most, if not all, of the bait was still there. eels are tough to measure but i'd say he's about 10". perfect striper food for today. here he is in a 4.5 gallon bucket:

View attachment 15956

so now i'm going to go striper fishing. will try a few herring and then my live eel. can i fish live eels during the day or is it really a night bait?
it's still early in the season.. migration gets under way in June.. that's the time to load up..

and as jake said.. good bait night or day..
 
1 - 20 of 49 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top