PowerBait Floating Mice Tails Review & Tutorial

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!

How to Catch Trout

16 inch trout caught on a Berkley PowerBait Floating Mice Tail.

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.

Rainbow trout caught with mice tail lure.

Rainbow trout fooled by a PowerBait Mice Tail in November. The bait is poking out of the corner of its mouth. Color of the lure was white with a pink head.

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

How to rig a PowerBait Mice Tail

Step 1
Tie your fishing line to the hook. Then insert the hook into the center of the PowerBait mice tail.

Step 2
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.

Rigged PowerBait Mice Tail

Note how the line and the hook pop out on the same side. This assures a proper presentation in the water.

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.

DIY Strike Indicator

Your rod won’t bend if a trout takes bait and swims to you. A strike indicator will alert you when that happens.

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!

Disclosure: This article may contain Amazon affiliate links. I receive a commission from products purchased at Amazon.com through my links at no extra cost to you. Reviews on Baitsoaker.com reflect my actual testing and opinion of the products reviewed.
Filed in: Lure Reviews

25 Comments on "PowerBait Floating Mice Tails Review & Tutorial"

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  1. Sheldon chanes says:

    Well written and with much information..with an absence of nonsense. Much appreciated and that’s why I subscribed.

  2. Jim says:

    I love this article and have already purchased the dry fly hooks. Could you please upload pictures of the mouse tail hooked/threaded properly? That is my only hang up. Thanks so much.

  3. Rich says:

    First time trying mouse tail, was a bit skeptical at first. Today I caught and released over 15 stocked trout, but I was putting the hook on the head. It was a white tail with a pink head. Next time I will try your hooking style.

    • Roger says:

      Wow, Rich! That’s what I’m talking about! The Mice Tails are one of the best baits around for rainbow trout. 🙂
      Sometimes PowerBait mice tails works so well it’s almost not fair. If hooking it through the head works for you then I say don’t fix what isn’t broken. Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂

  4. Edward Lobrigo says:

    Im a little confused. Are mouse tails a lure? Do you cast and jig it back in? Is it a a bit that you just cast out like power bait? Or is it both?

    • Roger says:

      Good questions! 🙂
      Mice tails are a lure, as is shown the images above. You rig it and fish it the same way you would do with floating dough bait. Only this stays on the hook and won’t go flying off. You can also use it over and over again. In my experience, it works better than dough bait.

  5. Edward Glenn says:

    Thanks. I had no clue how to rig or fish these.

  6. Camas Logue says:

    How does the strike indicator work? I have looked them up and only found ones for floating on water not hanging on the line like that. I’m really interested in figuring this out. Thx

    • Roger says:

      I’m glad you asked! Soon I’m publishing an article explaining how to make them and use strike indicators. I’ve found that about 50% of the takes are when the trout picks up your lure and swims towards you. But if you’re waiting for the rod to bend you’ll never know it. With the strike indicator you’ll be able to know it and can grab the pole and start reeling. You’re catch rate will go up because those are the fish you’d otherwise likely lose. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll get notified. 😉

    • Thomas O'Donoghue says:

      I just use a slip bobber with a cup hook screwed into one end and it works fine.

      • Steve F says:

        I just use an old bobber & a snap swivel. I hook bobber on swivel side, then open the snap up & hang it on line between eyes. Been doing this for years.

        • Roger says:

          That’s fascinating. 🙂
          Always stick with what works!
          There’s a saying that we should let the fish tell us what they want. So if something’s working then that’s what the fish like where you’re fishing at.

  7. Drew H says:

    Are they like regular power bait and cant be used in flies and lures only waters?

    • Roger says:

      These are lures, not bait like dough or salmon eggs. If it’s ok to fish a jig or a lure, then the PowerBait mice tails should be fine. But as always, double check with the local authority in charge of that body of water.

  8. Denny C says:

    I am curious. Is the tip of the hook supposed to face the tail or the head. All of my other plastic worms have the hook facing the head as when I am reeling in the hook is facing me. This has the hook facing away from me when I reel. What is the difference in this and my other plastic worms?

    • Roger says:

      When rigged in this manner, there is no front or back. The line is tethered to the barrel swivel, which is on the bottom of the lake. The worm is floating above it. So there is no front or back relative to you. The worm could be floating sideways to you, depending on any currents in the lake, pond or reservoir you are fishing.

      What’s important is for the hook point to be pointing away from the round worm head. That way you’ll be able to get a good hook set.

      You could rig it so the hook pops out of the rear part of the worm, but it might float oddly that way. The round “head” of the worm supports the weight of the hook and allows it to float horizontal if the hook weighs enough. If you have a lightweight hook, you might be able to have it pop out of the rear, and it *might* balance horizontally. I’ve always fished it with the hook near the head of the worm and it works fine that way. But it might be worth experimenting the other way! 🙂

  9. Patrick Lao says:

    I don’t see anywhere here the length of the leader, i.e., how many inches is this lure floating off the bottom?

    • Roger says:

      Hi Patrick,
      Thanks for the feedback! 🙂
      I just updated the article to add that information. The recommended length is between 8 to 18 inches. I usually start with 12 to 18 inches, depending on where I’m casting and how deep the water is. An alternate approach, which is what I usually do, is fish with two poles. One rigged with an 8 inch leader and the other leader 18 inches.

      Cast out, let it sit, then reel back and cast to another area until you find fish. Fish relatively close to you, then gradually cast further and further. Often the trout are closer than you think! 🙂

  10. Fred Roach says:

    Are mice tails considered artificial baits on the Owens River in California?

    • BaitSoaker says:

      Mice tails are artificial baits. You should check the official fishing regulations for the particular body of water you’re fishing. As certain times of year you might need to use barbless hooks. Barbless hooks can be purchased online or in fly fishing supply shops. Fly fishing hooks, particularly the size 12 and size 14 dry fly hooks are great for mice tails. They are thin and light, which allows the mice tails to float.

      Good luck!


  11. daneille says:

    I am very new to this. Is there a place I can look to seean imageof what the leader hook up might look like? Thank you.

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