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.
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.
Last edited by Michael Repper; 02-07-2013 at 12:37 PM.
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.