by Andy Schneider
The Guaranteed Spin
Ever have trouble getting your cut plug Herring to spin 'just right' or spin at all? This is actually a common problem and it actually starts when 1st pulling the package of Herring out of the freezer. There is no 'one' cause that causes a Herring not to spin; it's actually a combination of problems the Herring develops from freezer to hooks. To have a cooler full of quality bait takes at least one day of preparation, but taking the time to prepare, will pay off in dividends of Chrome. Follow these simple steps and you will have a Herring that's guaranteed to have a fish catching spin.
Step 1: Break and shuck. When you pull your Herring out of the freezer, cut the bag to break the vacuum packing seal, then "shuck" the bag to pull the plastic away from the fish. There are 3 reasons for this; 1st- breaking the vacuum will make sure that the blood of the Herring isn't pulled through the skin and scales, discoloring the Herring. 2nd- breaking the vacuum will let the fish resume their natural shape. Having a tight bag vacuumed to the fish will collapse body cavity as the bait thaws and you will have a misshaped Herring that will be problematic when it comes to spinning properly. 3rd-pulling the bag away from the fish while the Herring is still frozen will help keep the scales on the Herring, not on the bag.
Step 2: Thaw it. Put your package of Herring in the Fridge and allow 12-hours to thaw your Herring. The more time you allow your Herring to thaw the better; this allows your Herring to take on their natural shape.
Step 3: Miter box's not just for wood working. When you place your Herring into your bait miter, make sure you line your smaller Herring up properly. Place the belly of the Herring on the bottom of the miter box and line up the lateral line of the Herring so it's parallel to the miter box.
Step 4: Slice, don't saw. Sharpen your bait knife and slice, don't 'saw' through the bait. Use the thinnest, sharpest bait knife you own. A sharp thin blade will give you a clean miter cut on your cut plug Herring. Having a clean cut contributes to having a nice roll on your Herring, but also keeps your baits from 'blowing out' with heavy currents.
Step 5: Gut and vent your Herring. Start at the anal vent and slice up 3/4- to 1-inch to allow water to flow through your bait; another strategy for keeping your bait from, 'blowing up'. Don't forget to take the guts out before throwing your bait in the brine.
Step 6: Add your bait to your brine. Use 2-cups of chlorine-free water to 1/4-cup of Pautzke's Nectar for each dozen Herring. Pautzke's Nectar is a premixed brine that firms your bait, adds color and scent. You can add other ingredients to spice up your brine; Pautzke Fire Power, Sea Salt, Sugar (yes Springers have a sweet tooth), Mrs. Stuarts Bluing or your favorite scents.
Step 7: Cure your bait. Put your Herring in the back of the fridge (where it's coldest and less likely to be seen by the Mrs.'s) Let your Herring cure for at least 8-hours. If your adding salt or sugar, make sure to monitor your brine so you don't shrivel your bait.
Step 1: Thread the trailing hook through the lateral line 3/4- to 1-inch down on the short side of the Herring.
Step 2: Pull the trailing hook completely through.
Step 3: Start the top hook on the roof of the Herring's body cavity on the long side (long miter cut), get as deep as the bend of the hook will allow. Thread the hook through the top of the Herring, crossing over to the short side (short miter cut) of the back bone.
Step 4: Throw your Herring over the side of the boat and fish, no need to even double check if rigged properly. Rigging your Herring this way will give it a quality spin without any need to 'fine tune', which only tears your Herring and will give you a bait that may fall off on the first slash of a Springer, leaving you fishless.
*Barbed hooks are shown, make sure you are using barbless when fishing the Columbia, Willamette and Multnomah Channel.