Like any dedicated fishing specialist, Padra Francois has twists on how she likes to do things, beginning with the crickets she always uses for bait. She inserts the tip of the long shank No. 6 cricket hook into the butt of the insect, and then threads it onto the hook.
The traditional approach is to insert the hook under the collar of the cricket then through the body and then finally out the butt. Her justification: The cricket stays on the hook better.
Another slick trick she uses is to clamp 3 B-size (the smallest available) split-shot sinkers on the line a few inches above her hook. Her rationale: the bait flutters down, rather than sinks quickly as it would with a single larger weight.
Weight is necessary because the naturally buoyant body of a cricket tends to float rather than sink to where the fish are.
Finally, she keeps a washcloth handy to grab her catch, not because they are bloody and slimy (which they are), but because the cloth protects her hands from the spines of the active fish. “I’m a wuss,” she laughed out loud.
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