It's the time of the year for me to make some shrimp up for plunking for steelhead and the upcoming springers, they also work great for sockeyes and many other critters roaming the Columbia.
I start out with a bag or two of the small shrimp (61-70 count) uncooked headless shrimp on sale at the grocery store. The shrimp are semifrozen still by the time I get home, put away the other groceries and crack a beer.
Using a sharp knife, trim the shrimp to length for the size of the hooks you use. I use 2/0 for all my spin glos as I run size 4-6 sng's with good luck for my CR fishing from both boat and bank with good results, and this size hook balances well with them. Trim more or less for the size hooks you use.
A sharp knife will help keep the shell and legs intact. I pinch the two main flaps of the tail off, leaving the small pointy part intact.
Keep going until you have covered the bottom layer of your brining container.
You should have finished your beer by now so it's time to wash your hands, crack open another beer, and then liberally sprinkle with your favorite cure/color. I just use egg cure, had good luck with amerans salmon cure last year, i have a bottle of nates im using for trials here. Then continue cutting shrimp and sprinkling till they're all done.
Just cover them up and refrigerate overnight, but you're not done just yet.
Take the cut off pieces and make dinner.
I sautéed some chanterelles and then added the shrimp pieces, went great on noodles.
The next morning I sprinkle them with white sugar and kosher salt, helps toughen them up and the steelhead like them even with the salmon egg cure on the shrimp. Also add whatever flavors you like, I add a little cocktail mixture.
Now it's time to separate them into smaller fishing day size containers, you can pick these up cheap at the dollar store.
I top them all with the leftover juice from the brine dish (I also added the drippings from the original shrimp bag to the brine so lotsa juice in it.) I put these in the fridge for a day and let it gel up a little with the added salt/sugar etc and then freeze.
Now for the really nice part, hooking them up when they are all the same size and texture. I pull em out of the freezer right when I head out to fish as they don't freeze hard with all the salt and sugar on em. I run the hook point from the tail first and thread the shrimp on with the natural curve of the shrimp following the hook.
The hook point is sticking out the back underside and looks like one of the natural legs hanging off the shrimp. I then wrap with some stretchy thread on the hook shank up past the hook eye where the little point you left on the shrimp tail is sticking out.
Stays on great, even with garbage fish pecking at it or being trolled along the bottom or casts by rookies from the bank. The extra juice in with them goes great on a plug for scent when running stacked rigs, or just to re-dip your shrimp and sng in instead of replacing the bait too often.
I like how all my baits are the right size for my hooks unlike most cured coonshrimp that comes in tiny to huge in the same jar. I've tested these side by side with many expensive bait shrimp and these do just as good, and most times better for us.
I know there are a lot of different ways to do this, just thought I'd share my preference, most of the time they have a very good hookup ratio this way, and I've caught all the CR salmonoids on them along with sturgeon, walleye and many more.
Happy fishing all.