Mike Kelley doesn’t like to dip for “ditch crawfish” as do many fishermen who use mudbugs for bait. “They are on the small side and you can’t get them early in the season,” he explained.

Instead, he buys them from seafood markets. “Sometimes it’s a little hard to talk the staff into breaking a sack for me, but I usually get them,” he grinned mischievously. 

He is very particular about how he puts his crawfish on the hook. Here is how Kelley preps his bait:

1. After removing the crawfish’s claws, insert the hook beneath the tail, near the tail fins. 

2. Curl the crawfish onto the hook while pushing the hook through the tail and back out in the center of its legs under the body, ensuring the mudbug is straight on the hook shank. 

3. Crush the body of the crawfish from side-to-side to release the juices and the smell, then pull the top two rings from the tail to expose the meat to the water.