How To Hook Live Pinfish & Pigfish Like A Pro

By: Joseph Simonds on March 23, 2020
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how to hook live bait

Do you know the best way to hook live pinfish and pigfish?

To give yourself the best shot at catching fish, your bait needs to look natural, and how you hook it can make or break your presentation.

There’s no one perfect way to hook live baits — it all depends on the current and how you’re fishing them.

In this video, world-record holder Capt. Peter Deeks is sharing two ways to hook live baits in two different scenarios.

These tips work for all types of baitfish, including:

  • pinfish
  • pigfish
  • mullet
  • threadfins
  • pilchards

To learn the best way to rig live bait to catch more fish, watch the video below.

How To Hook Live Pigfish & Pinfish

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Capt. Peter Deeks usually hooks live bait one of two ways:

  1. In the back, near the tail
  2. Through the lips

Hooking live bait through the back

When you’re fishing your bait with the current and you want your baitfish to swim, hook them above the spine and near the tail.

This allows them to swim naturally and it makes them aerodynamic so you can cast them far.

Also, be sure to hook them close enough to the edge of their body so that the hook can tear out easily when a big fish bites, but not too close to where if you cast them far the hook will rip out.

Hooking live bait through the lips

When you don’t want your bait to swim far, or if you want it to swim straight down, hook your bait under the chin and through the lips.

Two examples of this would be if you’re fishing docks or bridges.

Another time you would hook them this way is when the current is really ripping and it’s not possible for them to swim with the current.

Hooking them through the lips will let them face into the current, whereas hooking them in the tail in this situation will cause them to tumble around in it.


gator trout

When hooking live bait, you need to get it in front of feeding fish and make it look natural.

If you’re fishing on the flats and letting your bait swim around, hook them in the back near the tail.

And if you’re fishing docks or bridges and want your bait to swim down, hook them through the lips.

Have any questions about hooking live bait?

Let us know in the comments below.

Know someone who fishes with live bait? Please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Richard PartynskiLuke SimondsRICHARD FIORENTINOGregAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Richard Partynski

What size hook are you using ?


Thanks Captain. What size octopus hook ? No loop knot?


Why don’t you use circle hooks when using live bait?

Luke Simonds

He often uses J hooks for this type of “active” live bait fishing where he’s using big baits and actively feeling for strikes because the J hooks have a slight advantage on getting hooksets when using the bigger baits (and the fish are less likely to get hooked deep because they can’t immediately swallow the bait and he is quick to set the hook).

But if not actively feeling for strikes, circle hooks are definitely the way to go.

Dale Fluty

Just wondering why we can no longer access live bait mastery course by Peter DEEKs?

Luke Simonds

That course is only available to people who purchased it directly (or to those who upgraded to the VIP level when joining the Insider Club). Did you perhaps buy it using a different email?

Lee Ashe


Luke Simonds

Thanks Lee!

Ferdinand Alsina

Would these to technique work with mid minnows and finger mullet?

Luke Simonds

Yes. The same concept holds true for mullet and mud minnows too… it just gets a bit tougher to do as they get smaller given that there’s less room in between the spine and the top of the baitfish for the hook to go.


great. Thanks for the prompt response.