Powerbait’s floating mice tails are a misunderstood fishing lure because many anglers don’t know how to use use it. Most people believe you simply fish it on a jig, but that’s not what these worms are for. They’re almost like a secret trout fishing lure. Today I’m going to show you how to catch your limit of trout using PowerBait Floating Mice Tails. They don’t work all the time but when they do nothing else works as good. The best thing about these is that they’re easy to rig and you’ll have loads of fun catching trout with them. I’ll show you how to rig a mice tails bait and catch a lot of fish.
Berkley Powerbait Floating Mice Tails
Do floating mice tails catch trout?
Yes, they work great for catching rainbow trout, under certain conditions. In my experience they don’t work well for catching brown trout, unless you’re jigging them. But jigging is not how these lures were made to be used. Also, mice tails don’t work that great for freshly stocked trout in a lake. They work great in the shallows for freshly stocked (like within hours of stocking). But not when they’re freshly stocked into a deeper environment, in which case they respond better to a jigged or dropshot presentation. But once the rainbow trout have become accustomed to their new environment and have had time to become hungry, I can think of no bait that is more effective than a Powerbait Floating Mice Tail. There are times when I have caught my limit within five minutes, and countless times I have limited out within a half hour. That’s how deadly these lures are!
Origin of the floating mice tails
This bait is actually two baits in one. Many years ago there used to be a Powerbait floating worm lure and a Powerbait floating egg lure. Anglers found that you can buy both baits in contrasting colors, thread a hook through the egg and poke it out in the middle of the worm part, joining the two into a mice tail configuration. This became a popular fishing method with trout fishermen in Northern California. Powerbait noticed this and created the floating mice tail, which saved us a lot of money because now we didn’t have to buy two sets of baits!
How to catch trout with floating mice tails
It’s easy to rig floating mice tails. The key is to use a hook that’s not too heavy so that the mice tails will float. If you use a hook that’s too heavy then the bait will sink to the bottom. Use the thinnest diameter fishing hook you can find, in the smallest size you can get away with. My all time favorite hook to use with this bait is Mustad R30 Signature Dry Fly Hooks. These hooks are 2XF, which means 2 Extra Fine. This means that if you purchase a size 12 hook the wire thinness of the hook would be about equal to a size 16. I have fine results with a size 14 hook. Here’s a tip: Always check if your rig floats!
Floating Mice Tails versus Floating Worms
There is simply no contest, floating mice tails are better than floating worms. There’s a reason why fishermen combined floating worms with floating eggs, and the reason is because floating worms don’t float well. The egg part of the mice tail bait helps it float and balances out the weight of the hook so that the bait floats more or less horizontal.
What color mice tails should you buy?
Color is important only to the extent that it gets the bait noticed. Thus, the pink, orange and white colors tend to get noticed more often. I can’t say I have a favorite, although if I had to choose one color then that color would be a pink body with a white head. That said, if you only want to buy one pack of the lures, then white is an all-around color that is visible regardless if the sky is overcast, dark or sunny.
White is also visible regardless if the water is tannic (stained brown by decaying vegetation), green from algae or if the water is crystal clear. White is the all-around color that can be seen under any condition. So if you have to pick one color then go with a white body mice tail floating worm bait.
As I mentioned above, color is only important as a way to get the bait noticed. But it won’t necessarily make a difference in how many fish you catch. The more important factor is action. In trout fishing there are things called triggers. A trigger is a factor that causes a fish to decide that something is food and that it should eat it.
Action is a major trigger, followed by a resemblance to food. Although with wild trout, the resemblance to food might be considered a primary trigger, closely followed by action. This is particularly true for brown trout. Brown trout can be picky eaters and prefer to hit something that has action and resembles food.
I have never caught a brown trout with a floating mice tail except when I was jigging it back to shore. Brown trout like to hit fleeing bait. Rainbow trout are more of an opportunity feeder and seem to like gentle action that indicates something’s alive but not moving too fast, which indicates it’s an easy meal. This is why I characterize floating mice tails as a rainbow trout bait, not as a brown trout bait.
Action is a key trigger for both rainbow and brown trout and mice tails work best when they jiggle just a bit (although as I said, the floating presentation does not in my experience work for brown trout). This is why I find they tend to work best for catching rainbow trout when there’s some wave action in the water, like when the wind is blowing across the lake, stirring up the water. This makes the lure bounce around and wiggle, giving it action. Wave action usually means it’s a good time to rig up some mice tails!
How to Rig PowerBait Mice Tails
Tie your fishing line to the hook. Then insert the hook into the center of the PowerBait mice tail.
Then pull the hook through and pop it out about a half inch the length of the mice tail, behind the head. The fishing line and the hook should exit on the same side of the mice tail.
How to Use a PowerBait Mice Tail
The best presentation is to use a slip sinker rig. That’s when you attach a 1/8 ounce to 1/4 ounce bullet weight to your 6# test line, add a plastic bead, then attach a small swivel. To the swivel you add your leader, which is typically a 4# test monofilament line. Don’t use fluorocarbon for your leader because fluorocarbon is heavier than mono and tends to sink, while monofilament fishing line floats.
Length of Leader for Rigging PowerBait Mice Tail
A leader is the last length of line, from your swivel to your hook. The appropriate length of the leader should be from 8 inches to 18 inches. An 18 inch length of leader is the standard length.
There are times when the fish are close to the bottom. So if your PowerBait rig isn’t catching, try shortening the length of the leader to 8 or 12 inches. A shorter leader has turned the day around for me many times. I like to fish between 8 to 12 inches and no more than 18 inches.
Size of the hook for the Mice Tail Rig
At the end of the leader I add a size 12 to 14 extra fine hook then slide the hook through the exact middle of the worm (1.5 inches from the tail) then pop out the hook about a half inch behind the egg.
The hook bend should be fully exposed. The fishing line should be popping out on the same side as the hook, in the center of the worm bait. This way the lure will tend to float horizontal while allowing the tail freedom of movement to jiggle around.
Make sure there no irregular humps or bumps in the lure caused by the hook because that’ll make the lure look unnatural and make the trout hesitate. I always catch more trout with a smooth non-lumpy presentation.
It’s not necessary to cast your lure too far. Trout often hang close to shore. But the closer you’re fishing the more important it is to make yourself less visible. Trout tend to not eat if they can see you. Cast your lure, place your rod in a rod holder then wait for the rod to start bending or line to start peeling.
The best way however is to use a wine cork strike indicator. The reason is because about fifty percent of the takes the fish will pick up your bait and start swimming toward your rod. When that happens you will never know it because the line grows slack and the rod never bends. But if you’re using a wine cork indicator then you’ll see the cork start drop very quickly to the ground. This means a trout has your lure in it’s mouth and is swimming towards you! This is a fishing tip that will help you catch twice as many fish! (Click here to read how to make a strike indicator)
PowerBait Mice Tails are my favorite artificial baits for catching rainbow trout. These lures work so well it’s almost not fair!