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Mussels are a bait that require some preparation before using it,but once you've managed that,it's a good bait especially in winter for cod,and it can be frozen without affecting it's usefulness.
You may read to blanch your mussels in boiling water to make them open easier and to make them easier to bait up,but personally I'd never even think of doing that. All you need to hook mussels successfully is some bait elastic. The very easiest way to do it is to put on another piece of bait first,like a small mackerel strip or a worm,then whip your mussels around that with elastic.
Firstly though,you need to get them out of their shells.
For years I've made a wee tool to "shuck" mussels with,which is just an old teaspoon with both the flat handle end sharpened, and also the point of the spoon. I insert the teaspoon into the mussel flat end first,cut the muscle that hold the shell closed,and then scoop out with the spoon end.
The muscle is at position X on this photo on the round side of the shell. Insert the spoon from the flat side of the shell and wiggle about to cut through it.


Prise open the shell.


Scoop the meat from both sides of the shell.



When I have the mussels all removed from the shell I simply bag them into those small resealable bags where they are easily transported to the mark,or frozen for use later.



To use several small mussels on their own as a bait,you can use the baiting needle.
Firtly insert the needle through as many mussles as you need for the size of the bait you want.



Use bait elastic to whip around the mussels pulling them onto the bait needle.


Then insert your hook into the bait needle as for the worm baits.


Push the bait up over the hook and your mussle bait is ready to go.