Five Tips for Keiryu Fishing with Live Crickets

by John Evans
(San Antonio, TX)

A cricket keeper allows you to shake out crickets one at a time

A cricket keeper allows you to shake out crickets one at a time

Five Tips for Keiryu Fishing with Live Crickets
During spring and summer there is no bait better than live crickets for catching many species of fish. Plus, keiryu and even tenkara rods are made for crickets because the delicate casting and presentation do not tear the insects apart as traditional rods and reels do. Many people, however, are reluctant to use live crickets because they have too many unanswered questions or they think they are too much trouble. Here are five tips that will help you overcome any reservations that you might have.
1. “Where can I buy crickets at a decent price? They seem like they would be too much trouble to trap.” The pet super stores sell live crickets in several different sizes to feed to reptiles and such. They will be happy to bag them up for you. Buy the largest size they have. Even a three-inch panfish will gobble a large cricket.
2. “How do I keep crickets alive if I’m not going to use them for a day or two? I don’t want to go to a lot of trouble.” I use a large, plastic storage container with a bunch of 1/8” holes drilled in the top. You can put in some empty toilet paper rolls for the crickets to climb on and give them water with a piece of damp paper towel. The pet super store where you bought the crickets will also sell you some jellied liquid cubes and some cricket food if you’d like to go that route. Some people use pieces of raw potato.
3. “How do I carry crickets to the stream and handle them without all of them jumping away?” Accompanying this article is a photo of a cricket keeper that you can buy on-line or at some sporting goods stores. These keepers will hold 30 or 40 crickets for a few hours and will allow you shake them out through the funnel one at a time.
4. “Should I fish them on the surface or sub-surface?” You can catch fish both ways, but—as usually is the case—you will get more bites when you fish them below the surface. You can sink the cricket with a small split shot or use a weighted nymph to accomplish the same thing. Just put the cricket on your favorite beadhead fly and see what happens!
5. “Where’s the best place to hook a cricket?” I’ve tried every method I’ve heard about, but hooking them through the big middle of the body works as well as anything. Many people recommend hooking them through the “collar” of the neck, but they just don’t stay on well that way. Again, the big middle of the body works best.
Yes, there is a small “learning curve” to using crickets but they are one of the best keiryu baits out there. Everything from trout to panfish to bass and catfish will go for them. Give live crickets a try!

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