Hahaha, pliers arent necessary if they attach to you the quickly un attach to you when you start jabbing a hook in them.
The hard part is getting over the fear of "ITS A LEECH" it took Cody some time the other day.... funny stuff I think for his first one he scooped it out with the lid into his sweater then hooked it up using his sweater, but by the end of the day he was grabbing them like they were night crawlers.
Leeches are my favorite bait...they dont need oxygen to the extent minnows do...or spoil as easily as crawlers...no worm guts either...walleyes and wipers love them...so do trout in weedy lakes...the wooley bugger is a leech pattern...the kind they sell dont suck your blood...they are scavengers...they use their sucker to hold themselves to logs and rocks while probing with the head end looking for decaying vegetation...use a light wire hook in a size 10 or 12...if you hold the leech they will kind of grab around your finger with the sucker on your index finger...slide the hook point under the sucker and back through about an eighth inch of the body and out...they swim like black ribbons in the water when hooked correctly...if you use one of those tylenol capsule shaped floaties you can keep them out of the weeds and rocks if shore fishing...they just feel like wet rubber...really a clean bait...change the water every few days and keep in the fridge or a cooler with ice...
Nice post zman. z's correct the kind you buy aren't blood suckers. They're ribbon leeches. If you are worried at all about them grabbing on, just hold them so their sucker will latch onto your fingernail. Then, you can take all the time you want to bait up.
P.S. I'd worry more about tetinus because you got so worried about the leech that you went and stuck yourself with the hook while baiting up. Me personally, I hurt myself so much, my tetinus booster is always up to date.
I personally fish them the same way I would fish crawlers, Either slow trolling, jigging on or near the bottom. Or if anchored on structure, or near a weed bed, I use a slip bobber so I can control their position in relation to the bottom.
And bass! Very informative post, Z. I also let them attach to my thumbnail, then slip the hook just below the sucker and back out. Drop them in the water and watch them stretch out. No self-respecting fish can resist them!
I like leeches for Bass as well. I need to find a good lake to fish walleye though. I caught several largemouth at coot lake dragging a floating jighead on the bottom. They are a really tough bait, I got several hits without hooking the fish and the leech was in perfect shape. It would have killed a minnow. I tried the leeches the next day in boulder res. and had no luck at all on them. All fish I caught were on lures.
I like just pitching them on an 1/8 oz. jighead, fished under a slip bobber, or slowly dragged on a jighead or lindy rig.
Zman is right on with his post. I also like the medium sized ones. If they are too long you can get short bit a lot. My go to bait as well. Very durable and clean. I like to hook through the sucker and lace up the jighead a little like you would a twister tail.
I just moved to CO and part of the reason I moved her is that I wanted to be able to hunt and fish.
So far I've been kind of skunked. Lots of smaller trout but nothing that big.
Barker Meadow Reservoir is closest to me as I live in Boulder Canyon.
For the most part it still seems dead...