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Keeping chicken liver on the hook comes up every so often.

Most recently, snakebit has a request dated 4/12/08 on the Cooling Lakes/Shabbona forum:

...we would like to give the chicken livers a shot.Could some of you please share your techniques with us and please be specific,we would really appreciate any and all assistance.Thanks.(Heideke and LaSalle)
Finally I tried something that works well enough that it has changed the way I rig chicken livers. This way works for me and might help you keep chicken liver on the hook.

In fact it works so well that it is pulling me away from using worms for bait. Dug worms and night crawlers have always been my go to bait. But not this year for channel catfish.

On my favorite catfish lake the channel cats go from dinks to 2 pounders, with an occasional bigger fish. There are usually some bluegills also. So far this year, normal fishing luck with chicken livers keeps one rod with 2 hooks too busy to do a second rod.

The secret to getting the liver to stay on the hook is to use cotton thread to hold the liver on the hook. Best thread is ordinary mercerized cotton sewing thread. The color is not important. Mercerized cotton thread is weak enough to be easy to break with your hands but strong enough to hold liver on the hook.

For fishing, a small barbless hook (Size 8 down to a 12) fished off the bottom works best for me. Just pinch the barb with pliers or file the barb to make a barbless hook. Bait holders sound good until you rebait the hook and you want to get the thread wraps off the hook. Bait holder hooks hold the thread wraps on the hook a little too well.

Use one piece of thread to hold the liver on the hook. Just hold the hooked liver against the hook and wrap the thread around the liver. There is no need to tie the thread on. The thread wraps will take a nice piece of liver and turn it into a mushy ball as the thread kind of cuts through the liver. Don't worry, the liver will still stay on the hook. In fact the thread wraps hold the liver on the hook and the liver holds the thread on the hook without any knot.

Burying the hook point in the chicken liver is fine. The fish usually find the hook point even when it is buried. And the thread really holds the liver on.

The liver kind of washes off of the thread as you fish. At least with the thread the liver doesn't fall off the hook. The slow washing off of liver might chum up the water a bit and help keep the feed on.

Another tip. When you catch a fish get it off the hook ASAP. You want to get that line back in the water fast to keep the feed on. Cast that line out right away. Don't worry too much about how the bait looks. Then take care of the fish you just caught. If the bite slows down, then check your bait. As a result sometimes the same piece of liver will catch 2 or 3 more fish. Some of my bigger fish came as the second or third fish for a baited hook.

Things can get messy when it comes time to bait up again. It is best to take off the old thread. Sometimes the thread comes off real easy. If you use a barbless hook, the thread comes off a little easier. A fingernail clipper is handy because other times the thread gets a little tangled even on a barbless hook.

A pound of chicken livers used to last me a full day fishing. Now a pound is good for 4 trips. This keeps me happy since fish bait should be cheap or free. 25 cents for a days fish bait is close enough to free. Just freeze what you don't use and save it for the next trip.

Cutting the chicken liver up into smaller pieces ahead of time pays off on the shore saving time so you keep the hook in the water where it belongs. So at home using a sharp knife, cut the chicken liver into smaller pieces just right for your size hook. For the same reason, on the shore break off a few pieces of thread to stay ahead of the need.

So give thread a try. It works for me.

Good fishing to you.
 
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