Real, live earthworms are one of the very best baits for perch (walleye, too). One would expect that the plastic ones should work, too, but I've never used a plastic worm myself.>pike>worms
There's your problem. Pike are an apex predator: they eat mostly things like amphibians, rodents, and other fish. Mere worms are mostly beneath them. Now, if you put the worm on a harness, it's another story, because there you have blades providing additional flash and making the bait more enticing than it would be on its own (though again, I can't speak specifically to plastic worms, only the real ones).>>1516800
This is why I won't put a fish back that has swallowed a hook like that if it's a legal fish (if it's not legal, there's obviously no choice). While I know they CAN survive that kind of thing, to me it's not worth the waste if they don't.
BTW, the consensus these days seems to be that if you do have to release a gut-hooked fish, you should just cut the line as close to the hook as you can, and leave the hook in it. Trying to extract the hook is likely to do more damage than leaving it in.>>1516847
A real, live minnow? Yeah, the catch-and-release game with live bait really doesn't work.>>1516953
Gut hooking happens to everyone occasionally, no matter how good you or your gear are. If it hasn't happened to you, it's either because you are lucky, or because you're a LARPer who doesn't really fish.