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Thread: Bait question

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Default Bait question

    As an avid contributor to this forum I have been searching for credible information regarding the salt water fishery around the state. During this adventure I have heard various advice about what baits to use for halibut and other salt water fish. SILLY question , but is the herring ( used for bait ) caught by rod and line or is it caught or bought on land from a trawler or some other party. It would appear that you would require quite allot of bait , some of the time. What is the most economical method of obtaining this for sport fishing. thanks

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    You can buy it in bulk from many places. My father fishes quite a bit and he usually buys 50lbs at a time and rebags it into zip lock bags for daily use.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky_Ireland View Post
    As an avid contributor to this forum I have been searching for credible information regarding the salt water fishery around the state. During this adventure I have heard various advice about what baits to use for halibut and other salt water fish. SILLY question , but is the herring ( used for bait ) caught by rod and line or is it caught or bought on land from a trawler or some other party. It would appear that you would require quite allot of bait , some of the time. What is the most economical method of obtaining this for sport fishing. thanks
    That is an interesting question. Most people buy their herring fromn a retail store.
    You can buy it in different size packages from small packs of 12 troll herring and 10# bags of Halibut size herring to 50# boxes.
    Certain areas do have spots where you can catch your own herring and each one is probably a bit different as to where and when they find them so you would need a specific location to get a specific answer on that area.
    I also know people who buy theirs every spring from commercial setnetters they know. The problem there is you must be available to pick it up fresh and preserve it yourself. Many people lack the freezer space to store large amounts of bait especially once they start filling them with fish to eat.
    I believe most people buy their bait before each fishing trip from a retail vendor.
    I like to buy a 50# box. The good ones are individually frozen baits so I just take out what I need each trip.
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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    The Sports Shed, on the Homer Spit, sells troll herring of various sorted sizes in packages of a dozen.
    they also sell a bag of 12 large (12") herring for halibut bait, and I believe they sell 20 lb boxes of frozen herring
    but I didn't look at the boxes that close, may have been 50 Lb boxes... They also have some squid and
    octopus for bait.

  5. #5
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    pretty much as the other 2 posters have said, definitly depends on where you are planning on fishing. I am most familiar with the penninsula and not the sound. Fresh herring is available thru most of May, be it thru the set netters or the local fish processors. buying in bulk is the way to go, and most processors will have it in IQF form, this makes it easy, to take out what you need whenever you want to. I put up about 600 pounds this spring in 18 # bags, cause that is about what i use in a day.
    Troll herring is another thing. if you buy it a tray or two at a time, you can expect to spend up to $10 per tray, where you can buy in bulk in some places and get it for less than half of that. Key point to a summer packed with fishing would be to have a dedicated bait freezer, you could pay for it in one season in the savings on buying your bait in bulk.

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the help. What price is it for a 50 lb box approx.? Also , is it correct in saying that the herring that is used for trolling is of a much smaller size than the halibut bait ? Can large herring be filleted to troll or are they just to large for the salmon. I read somewhere that some people troll with herring strips on bare hooks and it is quite effective. Thanks guys for all your help.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Some people do use sabiki rigs to catch herring for bait, but it is generally not a good use of your time on the water. I've always intended to do so but it seems I need every minute on the water for catching fish or motoring to more productive grounds.

    Generally herring are trolled whole, sometimes with the head cut off at an angle to induce a roll, sometimes with a "helmet" over the head to induce a roll.

    As far as trolling herring strips, I think you'll find most people do that in combination with a hoochie or squid type rubber skirt. This can either be trolled or mooched and is still an effective way to catch fish when the hook no longer has bait on it. When I mooch for silvers I'll fillet the herring and cut the fillets into approximately 1" wide strips to bait the mooching hook, but I also use Berkley Saltwater Gulp. I don't think the gulp is any less expensive than herring but it doesn't go mushy and so long as you keep it sealed air tight will last for several trips.

    Haven't bought any herring yet this year but figured that for an all day trip I'll use $10-20 worth of herring. Leftovers are re-frozen for future trips or if they are mushy get added to my shrimp pots as bait.

    The only downside of herring is sometimes you get a batch that wasn't properly taken care of and even if you give it a good salt soaking it won't firm up and won't stay on the hook.
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