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How do You Salt Your Bait?


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Hi everyone, 

Just looking for some various methods people employ to salt slimies, pilies or any bait really.

I have salted pillies and slimy fillets in the past but the fish just dont touch the bait (nowhere near as good as fresh). I usually pack the fillets/pillies in layers between coarse rock salt and leave them for a day to draw out the moisture, i then put them in the freezer until they need to be used. The slimy fillets loose most of their colour and go white/grey/yellow and leathery and the pillies shrivel up and go leathery. Am i doing it wrong?

If i dont salt the slimies they end up turning to mush when i freeze them but the fish still like em that way and i get a fair few bits but the mushyness means that a lot of the time i am rebaiting........

A recipe would be great!

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I just salt my slimies whole using pool salt from Bunnings in a polystyrene ‚Äúprawn box‚ÄĚ. Layer of salt, layer of slimies, layer of salt, repeat. After a day or 2, I then cryovac them, 3 or 4 to a pack. I mainly only use them for¬†drifting for¬†blue spot Flathead offshore and they seem to work OK. But I always seem to get fresh slimies each trip anyway, so...

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I think its something you could definately play with.

Essentially salting is curing & what your doing is drawning all the moisture out & hence you pulling out the scent & blood that attracts fish.

The longer its in salt the more it will pull out.

I might try this next time I get an abundance-

Salt slimey fillets using a moderate amount of cooking salt & layer in a container, leave in the fridge over night but no more that 24hrs.

Wash off the salt & dry fillets off on an old tea towel(both sides) then lay them out on a tray & drizzle fillets with tuna oil, Vacuum seal in bags & freeze.

 

So essentially I would be trying to replace the scent lost by the salt curing.

 

The fish frames can become great burley when crushed up with bread as well so hang onto those.

Edited by kingie chaser
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I find salted bait to be just barely OK at best, for Slimies, just fillet, add a bit of salt and put into old Chinese containers and put straight in the freezer, that way, they don't get "cured" but just toughen up a bit, even better is to simply freeze the whole fish and just use "fresh defrosted" fillets. Pilchards just buy good quality frozen ones and use as needed, left overs can be used as burley.

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Right or wrong, i just fillet the slimes, salt heavily on both sides and add two filets in a zip lock bag and freeze.

I am just looking for a bit of firmness and toughening up without losing too much of its body etc.

On the old occasion sometimes do this with frozen pillies, slight thaw and add salt and refreeze.

I too mainly use them for flat head drifting, however saying that never bag out!

GGG

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I also use a bag of pool salt, in a foam box, a layer of news paper, then about 2 inches salt, the lay the fish out, usually pilchards, then another 1 inch of salt over the top. I found I had to do this in cooler weather, and its in the garage, and I set up a pedestal fan to blow air across the top. I usually salt for 24-48 hours ish, it gets the skin tougher but keeps them juicy inside, once salted, I dry them off with paper towels, then bag them in zip lock sandwich bags and toss in the freezer.

 

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Personally I don't like salted baits, like you say they go leathery and loose their colour. I prefer cutting my baits ready to hook up from fresh slimies, yakas, salmon, and tailor then vacuum seal them. Being a tight arse and trying to reuse plastics more I keep my vac bags after they have been used for fish fillets we eat and then re-use them to seal my baits. 

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I don't fish bait much these days preferring to throw lures, but when I used to fish pilchards I got a far better result by wet brining rather than salting. Its just a more subtle technique.

Make a brine by mixing around 200g of salt per litre of hot water, allow to cool and add your baits. Leave in a cool place like on the garage floor and keep checking a bait until you have reached the level of preservation you want. Usually 1-2 days depending on the thickness of the bait.

Doing pilchards this way they dont lose their colour or dry out. They still retain their oil and scent and fish just as good as a freshly thawed bait. Just like salting they stay pliable when refreezing as well.

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Being a bait fisho, I start the day with salted whatever, until I catch something fresh.

Mackerel can go a bit crumbly after salting and freezing, however, if you salt them and leave them in the fridge for several days without freezing, they are a better bait.

I like tailor fillets the best for salting and freezing, also trevally, mullet, small tuna.

Plenty of fish I catch like eating the salted fish strips I thaw out. I use the cheap table salt to preserve my bait, let it remove the moisture for a day or 2 ( 3 days with tuna fillets ) then place into a plastic bag and freeze.

For pillies, I buy the salted ones, not the big blocks as most of those are non salted.

Edited by Yowie
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I prefer to brine thin filets like slimies in water saturated with salt.  If you can find them zip bags made for wraps are perfect as they are long and thin and hold 6 to 8 fillets nicely.

Thicker filets like striped tuna I coat with salt and wrap them in newspaper to absorb moisture drawn out, then criovac to freeze.   Ron 

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Stripies are best frozen whole, just cut baits off as you need them, then re freeze what you don't use, fresh baits will increase your bag of quality fish by a huge margin. The fisher who just goes out at mid morning, with a pack of rock hard salted bait or servo frozen Squid, drops it down on 30lb line with a loop double for the hook and a kilo of lead is missing out on a lot of fish, especially in our heavily fished locations.

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100% agree that fresh is best, the reason i freeze slimies (and started the original post in search of best preservation) is because i fish two different spots about 300km apart. Spot A (Jervis Bay) has an abundance of slimies that i can get my hands on whenever (and i use fresh fillets or even live bait for kingies and snapper), spot B (Beaches along the Central Coast)are a bit spares when it comes to fresh bait(unless i catch a legal tailor and that does the trick).

Sometimes though when fishing the beach, when there a few fishermen with pillies as bait in the water, my slimy fillet  seems to do all the catching, hence im trying to find effective ways of preserving slimies as bait. I will try a wet brine and a shorter salt period as a trial, but bar that, it may just be back to mushy fresh frozen slimies (as they seem to work!)

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On 12/15/2020 at 11:04 AM, Green Hornet said:

I don't fish bait much these days preferring to throw lures, but when I used to fish pilchards I got a far better result by wet brining rather than salting. Its just a more subtle technique.

Make a brine by mixing around 200g of salt per litre of hot water, allow to cool and add your baits. Leave in a cool place like on the garage floor and keep checking a bait until you have reached the level of preservation you want. Usually 1-2 days depending on the thickness of the bait.

Doing pilchards this way they dont lose their colour or dry out. They still retain their oil and scent and fish just as good as a freshly thawed bait. Just like salting they stay pliable when refreezing as well.

That's good idea.

I'm giving it a go currently, but as the weather is hot and humid, I've put it all in a sealed container and in the fridge. 

Will check on it in a few days

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2 hours ago, motiondave said:

That's good idea.

I'm giving it a go currently, but as the weather is hot and humid, I've put it all in a sealed container and in the fridge. 

Will check on it in a few days

I think the fridge would be the perfect place. 

Luckily for me I have a garage that stays quite cool as long as I keep it closed up.

I have heard other guys say they use 2 parts salt to 1 part brown sugar, but I have no idea what purpose the sugar serves. For me the salt alone gets the job done.

 

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2 hours ago, Green Hornet said:

I think the fridge would be the perfect place. 

Luckily for me I have a garage that stays quite cool as long as I keep it closed up.

I have heard other guys say they use 2 parts salt to 1 part brown sugar, but I have no idea what purpose the sugar serves. For me the salt alone gets the job done.

 

Maybe  people brining fillets for smoking ?

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2 hours ago, Green Hornet said:

One guy puts anise in as well to give it that aniseed smell that's popular in a lot of lure scents.

Yep, another good idea to try to up the scent of salted bait.

 

If you can put it on a SP or lure then why not on the bait¬†ūüėČ

Someof these scents can get pretty exy so maybe you could try some star anise powder instead, oil or similar??

This 2oz bottle is $25 from a major store¬†ūüė≤

 

Anise.thumb.jpg.292d8cded580d750f9569add6e237554.jpg

 

Why Do Fish Like Anise? The Time-Tested Fish Scent - Finn's Fishing Tips

Edited by kingie chaser
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I just remembered the salt brine pilchard/sardine fish in the fridge. Been there over two days. I just got them out, certainly tougher to handle, so I dried them a bit, put in sealed bag and into the freezer for next fishing trip. Will see how the fish like them. 

 

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