Do You Salt Your Baits?

Last year was the first time I tried salting my baits and I have to say I was pretty impressed.

Unsalted shrimp and cut bait goes bad after a trip or two even if you keep it ice cold and refreeze it. Plus the quality of the bait SUCKS after it's been frozen again and rethawed.

I had pretty good success with Pompano and Whiting on salted Shrimp. Cut bait stayed on the hook very well after being salted. The best thing about it is that you can take salted bait in a baggy in your tackle bag. It doesn't need refrigeration while you are out fishing (though I do keep mine refrigerated at home). I have a piece of cutbait I've used as a test and it's been salted and sitting in the cabinet in a baggy since last Spring. Still smells fine and there's nothing growing on it.

It will be one of the first baits I toss this year.

Anybody else here salt your baits?

Replies

  • fsu11fsu11 Posts: 1,812 Captain
    mind telling me your process of going about this? like do you just salt the bait leave it in the sun or what?
  • Michael RepperMichael Repper Posts: 4,897 Officer
    fsu11 wrote: »
    mind telling me your process of going about this? like do you just salt the bait leave it in the sun or what?

    I use a baking dish, like for a caserole. 8 x 8 is decent for a half pound of shrimp. Bigger for more. I use plain salt as I'm not sure what the Iodide does as far as the scent and flavor of the bait goes. They are real cheap at Publix, like .70 a box or so. Get 3 or 4 boxes to get a feel for how much you will need.

    I cut up all the bait first. You want it just a tad bigger than you would cut fresh bait, but not much bigger. Experiment with the size to get what you want. Apply about a half inch thick layer of salt on the bottom. Then spread out a single layer of bait, they can touch, but they should not be on top of each other. Then cover that layer with salt so that they're buried.

    Remember, the salt has to absorb all of this moisture and if there's not enough it won't work correctly. Just repeat this until you can't add any more to the dish. A typical square 8 x 8 Pyrex will take like 3 or 4 layers this way.

    I like to let the baits cure in the fridge. This will work in the open air as well, but I like to ensure that my baits are as FRESH as possible. It can take anywhere from 3 days to a week for them to finish. Shrimp should be completely dry and kind of rubbery when they are done. They should have a strong ocean smell, maybe smell a bit like Sand Flea Smelly Jelly if you've ever tried that stuff.

    The cut baits will be kind of leathery when they are finished, but they soften up in the water. Another great thing about this method is that some salt sticks to the bait, so when you cast, you are also casting out little shrimp or fish scented salt sprinkles everywhere.

    The cut baits stay on the hook VERY well BTW.

    Also, if you use long strips for trolling or jigging, like long strips of squid, this is an awesome method which basically gives you portable strip baits which are pre-cut, not messy, and they last for a whole season if not more.

    P.S. - Save the salt! You can use the salt a few times at least. Just spread it out when you are done and let it dry. You can even let it dry in the same baking dish. Just make sure you don't cover the salt or put it in a baggy until it's completely dry.
  • Michael RepperMichael Repper Posts: 4,897 Officer
    For you offshore guys, try taking a portion of your next bait purchase and either cut strips, fillet, or butterfly your baits. Salt cure that portion. You now have preserved cut baits for bottom bumping or sweetening your jigs even if you can't find it at the bait shops.
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 4,054 Moderator
  • chicochico Posts: 496 Deckhand
    I have salted whole finger mullet, don't see why you couldn't salt pilchards. As stated, don't use iodized salt, kosher is fine.
  • Paragon1Paragon1 Posts: 509 Officer
    I've tried it with some success, still prefer live though
  • Plastered2850Plastered2850 Posts: 1,223 Officer
    I use kosher salt on ballyhoo come in
    from a day of fishing salt them down
    last alot longer.
  • INTREPID377INTREPID377 Posts: 3,699 Captain
    Kosher salt on ballyhoo the night before a trip. It makes them hold up much better. I don't refreeze them however.
  • Fi$h2nguyenFi$h2nguyen Posts: 7,782 Moderator
    Kosher salt on ballyhoo the night before a trip. It makes them hold up much better. I don't refreeze them however.

    Just sprinkle and throw in the fridge, or completely cover top and bottom in salt and let sit in fridge night before?
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  • INTREPID377INTREPID377 Posts: 3,699 Captain
    Just sprinkle and throw in the fridge, or completely cover top and bottom in salt and let sit in fridge night before?

    Only if you want to get divorced! Seriousily you don't want to put them in the fridge because they'll dry out. Here's what we do.

    You need to have a bait tray (aluminum works best) that you set on top of ice in your ice chest. That keeps the baits out the water. If frozen, let the baits thaw naturally (we use Baitmasters). Place them belly up in the bait tray and then salt the underside from head to tail.
  • JerseyzuksJerseyzuks Posts: 156 Deckhand
    Yes, yes, and yes! Been doing this for years.

    Take a small bluefish or mackerel, fillet it thin (only want 1/8" of meat on the skin), cut it into strips and salt it. Makes a phenominal addition to a bucktail.

    Buy salt in bulk at the grocery store or home improvement store (it is sold for water softeners). Use lots of salt when you are dehyrating the baits, then you can put fresh salt (and a lot less) when storing them.

    I have salted everything from smelt to shrimp with great results
  • Michael RepperMichael Repper Posts: 4,897 Officer
    It's a huge money saver when it comes to shrimp and cut baits. Once salted they don't go bad (well for a season at least). Don't freeze them after you salt them, there's no need. I mean, think about the convenience of just being able to take a small baggy of unrefrigerated bait for a quick trip. This process literally turns them into something like a natural and super inexpensive Gulp type bait.

    Even if you prefer fresh unsalted baits, this allows you to take much less of the fresh stuff while still knowing you have a backup on hand. Less wasted bait = More money in your pocket. Simple and effective.
  • JerseyzuksJerseyzuks Posts: 156 Deckhand
    It's a huge money saver when it comes to shrimp and cut baits. Once salted they don't go bad (well for a season at least). Don't freeze them after you salt them, there's no need. I mean, think about the convenience of just being able to take a small baggy of unrefrigerated bait for a quick trip. This process literally turns them into something like a natural and super inexpensive Gulp type bait.

    Even if you prefer fresh unsalted baits, this allows you to take much less of the fresh stuff while still knowing you have a backup on hand. Less wasted bait = More money in your pocket. Simple and effective.

    And since salted tends to be a lot tougher, you tend to lose less bait, and spend less time dangling empty hooks in the water. It's really a win/win
  • JonathanBostonJonathanBoston Posts: 119 Officer
    I salt all my clams that I use for pompano fishing, whiting, and red drum.. helps keep the clam fresher and stays on better
  • Michael RepperMichael Repper Posts: 4,897 Officer
    I salt all my clams that I use for pompano fishing, whiting, and red drum.. helps keep the clam fresher and stays on better

    Yeah I am going to give clams a try this year. A lot of people on the Atlantic coast from Georgia up through the Carolinas swear up and down that clams are the best Pompano bait around. It's high time I tested that theory here in the Gulf. :grin
  • fish_stixfish_stix Posts: 1,238 Officer
    I use clams for pompano and I salt them. Doesn't seem to be any difference in fish preference. Tupperware container with Kosher salt and layer the clam strips. I refrigerate mine and they'll last the whole season. Shrimp works well too and fish don't seem to be picky about fresh versus salted. Remove the shells first. Sandfleas don't work very good salted but you can drop them in boiling water for 10 seconds (blanching) and then freeze them and they'll work but not as good as fresh. BTW, if you're going to try clams get them at a seafood dealer and get large chowder clams. 1/3 the price the bait shops charge for the same product. Get a bunch and salt them! You'll get 2 or 3 strips out of each of the large clams. :wink
  • NSByakNSByak Posts: 424 Officer
    Do you guys peel the shrimp you salt first? I've got some that I put in a ziplock with a bunch of kosher salt last night in the fridge (whole shrimp, unpeeled, that were live the day before). Today its just a damp sludge, not really drying out. More salt? Peel the shrimp? Give up? :huh

    I've moved them over to an aluminum pan with some (lots) of fresh kosher salt and left them out of the fridge. We'll see how that does.
  • ThumpThump Posts: 188 Deckhand
    You can add Baking Soda to the mix to help as well. I think this is what Baitmasters and Bionic Brine are made with...
  • Michael RepperMichael Repper Posts: 4,897 Officer
    NSByak wrote: »
    Do you guys peel the shrimp you salt first? I've got some that I put in a ziplock with a bunch of kosher salt last night in the fridge (whole shrimp, unpeeled, that were live the day before). Today its just a damp sludge, not really drying out. More salt? Peel the shrimp? Give up? :huh

    I've moved them over to an aluminum pan with some (lots) of fresh kosher salt and left them out of the fridge. We'll see how that does.

    You can do it with shells on but they dry out better with no shells. Also, you should cut them into small chunks first. (Unless you use them on your hook whole) A little bigger than you want them to be because they shrink a little. They should be buried in salt. There should be too much salt for it to get very mushy. More like the consistency of slightly damp sand.
  • killiankillian Posts: 2 Greenhorn
    For years I have fished clams and fleas in Satellite and around the state. I often salt clams for the toughness it brings and the lack of waste and hassle often involved with live and frozen clams. I just grab a bag of salted and go.It seems the worse I treat them the tougher and stinkier the hand trimmed clam chunks get. I have brought my expertise to market and now sell salted clams at the bait shop. Based on reports from many return customers and the lore of fishermen of yore, salted clams are where its at.
  • dragon baitdragon bait Posts: 5,477 Admiral

    I prefer baking soda and Kosher salt, and as a bonus you can pick them up while you are picking up food for the trip
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,922 Officer
    Who are you?
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • RollyRolly Posts: 35 Deckhand
    I've been salting clam for about 2yrs and some shrimp... works great!

    I use Aqua Salt pool salt. Sold in 40lb bags. Cheap at pool stores. Free for me at work.
  • dragon baitdragon bait Posts: 5,477 Admiral
    Who are you?

    Who me?
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,922 Officer
    This "Repper" guy.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • seajay-1seajay-1 Posts: 4,729 Captain
    Does it matter? Back to the op. Salting works great to have a back-up. I take it you fish from the sand. Use fresh anytime you can. A lot of the beach boys good great with baits tipped with fishbites. Same difference.
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,922 Officer
    seajay-1 wrote: »
    Does it matter?

    Yeah, it does.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • OneTimeOneTime Posts: 42 Deckhand
    Who are you?

    He has 5000 posts. You know who he is.
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,922 Officer
    yesyouareverysmart.jpg
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • p914p914 Posts: 474 Deckhand
    I used to use pro-cure brines and cures for shrimp prawns sardine and herring. Worked great. Kosher salt and a dash of attractant are a good bet too.

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