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Old 08-10-2010, 12:23 PM   #1
Bill Rogue V.
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Default Brining bait fish?

I have had some wonderful advice from fellow iFishers on preparing to troll for fall chinooks. One suggestion was to brine my anchovies/herring/sardines to help firm them up. Do you just put 'em in a pan of heavily salted water and leave them in the fridge the night before, or what? Any particular ratio of salt? Any scents involved?
Thanks from an old greenhorn.

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Old 08-10-2010, 12:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Brining bait fish?

I havn't used rocket science on it or any thing I usually stick two packages in a desinated tub fill it up with water till they just start to float and then add rock salt until they are covered usually the night before. This simple technique seems fine for me, they key is too start with good bait. Almost all of the springer season I was fishing straight out of the package on around 2 hours out of the freezer, this was working great all spring. If you do a search you will find some good info. on brining, measuring, use only river water, use slamola, use scents, brine in pautske nector, add green dye, add brine and bright, add blueing and so on and so forth.... I keep it simple and havn't had any of those bad days to speak off when i know there are fish around. Remember the key is too start with good bait, that has some good flash and scales left.

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Old 08-10-2010, 01:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Brining bait fish?

I haven't found the brine to hurt yet, but good quality bait is key. Adding a little tuna/scents seems to help sometimes. Still, straight bait works well also. For heavy current (buoy 10, strong tides upriver, etc) the brining can help a bait keep shape and the cut plug roll longer. I don't change as often as most but hate reeling up to find a mush ball or missing bait.

If I get fresh bait in astoria, I'll usually bring brine in a tub and add the bait with a little extra salt and then it firms as the fishing day goes on. Brine the night before or more if I'm planning ahead of time with my bait, and use less salt so it doesn't "jerky" on me and I can use the bait for a several more days if needed.

And mrs stuarts has been better than the dye for me for shine/results. I'll generally cut plug before dropping in the brine (about half of them) to save time/mess onboard while fishing, then cut more as needed/time allows while fishing. Still fish some whole/spinner rigged, and gonna try some fbr's for comparison too. Whole setups stay on longer/fish better in stronger current (as well as brined bait.)


Last edited by Quiet Riot; 08-10-2010 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:13 PM   #4
Ifish Nate
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Default Re: Brining bait fish?

There is a recipe on Salmon University. Never tried it, but looks technical enough to dazzle your fishing buddies.


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Old 08-10-2010, 01:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Brining bait fish?

A buddy of mine keeps a small bucket with a lid on his boat with rock salt in it with enough water to cover several herring plus the salt. Really seems to help not only in toughness but keeping the scales on. He just takes a pack of herring, opens it, and tosses it all into the bucket for the day's fishing. Just add another pack or whatever to give you bait for the day.
Make sure brain is engaged before putting mouth in gear...
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Brining bait fish?

use river water or distilled water with the salt.
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:55 AM   #7
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Wink Re: Brining bait fish?

I used 2 cups of non-iodize salt to 1 Gal. of distill water and 2-3dz. fresh herring (bought this from the new bait shop in Hammond called Great White Bait, good size fresh puget sound herring) and mixed it all well together and leave in frige overnight. If you leave it too long the fish will puckered up and shrink to half the size (that's what happened when I tried it the first time, Oops!). Well! good luck with yours. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: Brining bait fish?

Salmon University receipe:

1 Gal of water (no chlorine)
2 Table Spoons Mrs. Stuarts Blueing (shine on scales & skin)
4 cups non iodized salt (rock or pickling)
1 cup powdered milk (firms flesh)
Add scent as you choose
4-6 Dozen of herring
Keeps bait firm for weeks if kept in fridge

I used this at Neah Bay/ SnowCreek and it works...
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:43 AM   #9
shawn k
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Default Re: Brining bait fish?

I use the pro cure brine. It seems to toughen the bait up.
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Old 08-11-2010, 12:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Brining bait fish?

Don't forget the black dye....
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Old 08-11-2010, 01:26 PM   #11
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Default Re: Brining bait fish?

You can add some Mrs. Stewarts laundry blueing solution to brighten up the bait and make it super-sparkly. Never try and separate dry, still-frozen herring from one another as you slip them in to the brine.

Adding some powdered milk powder is another additive.

Sometimes I add anise oil to my herring brine. I like to have two,separate jugs. Used to have pretty good success adding Berklety Strike Salmon/Trout scent mix to the brine water, back in the 1990' smelled kind of sour, and odd to we humans, but chinook salmon liked it.
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Old 08-11-2010, 01:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: Brining bait fish?

The FBR™ are really bait savers. They will allow long time trolling without sign of bait fatigue such as you experience with cutbait when trolling.
Sometimes good bait is hard to come by and bag bait is all you can fine.

The FBR™ allows you can get by with less quality bait…sometimes you can catch more than one salmon on same anchovy or herring.

Another way to save on bait is to get a cooler that fits a tray of bait properly and put approximately 4 inch of water in it and freeze the entire cooler and water in freezer. When ready to go fishing take cooler out and place how many trays you need and place a frozen blue pack on top.

Ready to bait up take out a frozen bait and insert bait frozen in FBR™. Not necessary to thaw out bait so by only taking one frozen anchovy at a time you save the rest of the tray bait for the next trip.

Some folks like to brine and use dye and problem if you have a preferred methods of bait prep.

When you find good bait stock up. Bait is expensive so saving on bait used and/or not used, more than pays for the FBR™

Bait cooler sizes simular to this type of igloo fits tray bait well.

or any cooler with Specifications similar to
Size: 13" L x 9.5" W x 8.75" H
Capacity: 9 Qt. (9L)

Cooler tips for keeping fish fresh…….
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