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Thread: Cure Fresh Caught Herring for Bait

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    Default Cure Fresh Caught Herring for Bait

    How do you guys that catch your own herring to use as bait, "cure" or prepare your herring to use as bait? Are there "magic" cures like there are (like some think there are) for salmon eggs or do you just throw some salt on them and put them in the freezer for future use? I'm making up some Sabiki rigs to take the grandkids out with. I'll bet those 5 & 6 year olds will get a kick out of fishing for herring for Gramps to use as bait for halibut.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I use a brine similar to this one then I vacuum seal them in quantities that allow me to not have all my bait thawed at one time. I found that this works great and I always have nice fresh bait.

    http://www.salmonuniversity.com/ol_brining_herring.html



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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    I put 8 or 10 in a ziploc bag and add pickling or sea salt and shake the bag to cover the bait evenly.
    I ad enough salt so that there is a few table spoons worth that doesn't dissolve.
    Leave in the fridge for a day or two, checking a couple of times a day and draining the liquid that builds up in the bag.
    After a couple of days toss them in the freezer.

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    Stid hit the nail on the head...that brine works great but is alot of work.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Fly Guy View Post
    I'm making up some Sabiki rigs to take the grandkids out with. I'll bet those 5 & 6 year olds will get a kick out of fishing for herring for Gramps to use as bait for halibut.
    HAVE FUN Gramps, with those grandkids, that Herring on Sabiki rigs is pretty wild,

    Took my littlest one out last spring to do this for some wild fun, thinking of getting him hooked on Fishing with immediate results, excitement of hopping fish everywhere, it really was,

    we did have a tough time with the little Sabiki rigs you can buy, the light weight mono line was hard to keep untangled when the Herring hit like crazy so I'd recommend you factor that in while constructing yours. a little heavier wt mono to keep the springiness down, probably only need like seven or even five hooks per rig.
    They'll absolutely Fill Up with fish then when the kids yard them aboard and the fish go crazy, well plan for that a bit.

    I'd also use a small circle hook myself, versus a J hook, we just bought a few pre made rigs, at the local store, had super small hooks, wicked "Grabby" for the little one who was all excited to "grab those fish" still hooked up,
    ("ahhhhhh, wait, be careful" from a Dad's perspective)

    Here's a thread I did on it with some cool pics you might like
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ring?highlight=

    as to the curing question, as commercial guy we just pre cut them, salt well with extra fine salt for a day or so, not a brine, just layered salt on pcs of bait, let the blood drain out, they'll harden up some (good for long soak halibut fishing), then freeze.
    For Halibut, we like to get the salt in the meat so we cut them first while freshly aboard, stiffens them well for baiting on a Circle hook.
    I also like Stid's packaging idea above. Very good idea to freeze smaller packages as he has done there.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  6. #6

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    I checked out the link to your photo's. Yep, that is exactly what I am after! A fishin' rodeo with the kids. I only have a small 16' Sea Runner so I won't be going too far from port. Where and when are the best time to go for these little guy's? Whittier, Seward, Homer? Do you just look for the diving birds or do you use electronics. I do have a portable Humingbird fish finder. When do they start showing up in the spring/summer or do they run all year long?
    Thanks again in advance.

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    Default Tangled Rigs

    "we did have a tough time with the little Sabiki rigs you can buy, the light weight mono line was hard to keep untangled when the Herring hit like crazy so I'd recommend you factor that in while constructing yours. a little heavier wt mono to keep the springiness down, probably only need like seven or even five hooks per rig."

    I had this problem and found if I put a 1/2 ounce weight on the bottom of the rig, the tangles went away.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Yeah Boater, I got 'em weighted also, they do fish fine that way but when we had problems after clearing the rail, hauling aboard 3-4 Wildly jumping fish all in one pull. Then had to keep it spread out, to get the fish off, or it would just jump into a ball real quick. Not impossible to deal with I was just thinking if I had stiffer mono it might be easier

    Fly Guy, those schools of Herring are out front of town in Kodiak, near the Fish Plant outflows pretty regularly all summer. I used electronics but following birds would probably work well, even imagine there will be other guys camping out in the same general spot in those other ports you mentioned. Catching their bait for the day of Salmon Trolling. It'd be probably cool to follow those guys, or wati til they're done, then just drift around as the fish move around a bit, not hard to get on 'em if you are in the general area.

    On the Sounder they come across as nearly solid Red underneath your boat. Kind of in Haystacks or Columns.
    They mass pretty good, and move around not too far, drift around in the area,

    and RODEO is the right word for it. Kids will Have A Blast.....
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  9. #9

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    alaska fly guy, my experience with herring has been mostly in whittier. when the fish plant is working the herring and pollack will be at the outflow. just go out of the harbor and follow the breakwall east and south untill you are near the ferry dock. the birds are usually working but if they are not your sounder should show the fish. I tie my own rigs with dropper knots and melt glow in the dark beads on the hooks. I like to use a crippled herring jig as a weight. one thing i noticed is my kids are having more fun when we are catching the bait then when we are using it. once i came to grips with that i started making the bait catching the trip. load up on bait, i use the same method as stid with herring, and just freeze the pollack for great halibut bait. my boys are having more fun with this, and we can go get an icecream or something in whittier.

  10. #10

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    We use sabiki rigs all the time to catch opelu & akule (types of scad mackeral) for bait. Any of you guys want some with heavier mono, let me know and I'd be happy to send some up.
    Lots of choices here, ranging up to 40 lb mainline & 30 lb branches with larger hooks and everything down into the lighter weight mono's. Most of the rigs here are set up with 4-6 hooks only so big tangles aren't too bad; I usually stick the spinning rod in a holder and let the whole shebang hang while de-hooking fish; kinda risky especially for kids, but it keeps the whole thing hanging straight and no tangles.
    Around here they range from 3-6 bucks a rig, they also are now making flurocarbon setups but can't imagine that any baitfish would be picky enough to avoid regular mono line.
    Also, I make some of my own rigs with 15 lb. regular line and use with 3-5 oz. bank sinkers; this might be too light but there's also Mason's Hard Mono leader material (stiff); may work pretty well.
    Jim

  11. #11

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    I like to cast net mine while spawning, so they have that nice white milky "cure" on them.

    Seriously, I've caught a ton of kings on local herring that I just tossed on a meat tray, wrapped, and froze..

  12. #12

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    Take a cooler, two bags of ice, and some rock salt with you. When you get there half fill the cooler with sea water, stir in three or four generous handfulls of rock salt, then add the ice. When you catch the herring drop them right into the cooler. The cold will slow them down right away to prevent scale loss and the super saturated salt solution will dehydrate/firm them up.

    When you get back to the dock or home place them in meat trays (you should be able to get at Safeway) and freeze. Once frozen you can vac seal and store until ready. When you thaw them you don't have to brine them using the recipe posted above, but you can. Just make sure you break the seal on the pack before thawing.

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Kicking this back up to the top. I'm wondering if anyone knows if herring are showing up in Seward? Would be nice to take the grand kids (and get me some fresh bait )If this is top secret just PM thanks.

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    I will bump it as well, this is the kind of fishing my little guy would love. Anyone in Homer ever do any good at this? I will be in Homer for Memorial day and if they are around want to give it a shot.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Fly Guy View Post
    How do you guys that catch your own herring to use as bait, "cure" or prepare your herring to use as bait? Are there "magic" cures like there are (like some think there are) for salmon eggs or do you just throw some salt on them and put them in the freezer for future use? I'm making up some Sabiki rigs to take the grandkids out with. I'll bet those 5 & 6 year olds will get a kick out of fishing for herring for Gramps to use as bait for halibut.
    I like Stidd's process... /John

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    I brine my herring just the exact same process that STID posted. I'm hoping to catch my own this year instead of buying it then curing it. Sabiki rod is in the mail, and a few rigs are sitting in the tackle box waiting to get tangled. )

  17. #17

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    In my opinion herring that you catch yourself usually don't take a brine as well as high quality troll herring. One of the main problems with trying to brine herring that you catch yourself is belly rot, which comes from the fact that they are still feeding. Most troll herring that you buy in the store is starved for several weeks in order prevent belly rot, and firm up the scales to prevent them from falling off. If you are just going to use the herring as halibut bait, just throw them in a gallon ziplock or vac pack em' if you have one. The day before you plan to fish cover them in salt as they thaw out, this will firm them up a bit from being frozen and keep them on the hook longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Yeah Boater, I got 'em weighted also, they do fish fine that way but when we had problems after clearing the rail, hauling aboard 3-4 Wildly jumping fish all in one pull. Then had to keep it spread out, to get the fish off, or it would just jump into a ball real quick. Not impossible to deal with I was just thinking if I had stiffer mono it might be easier
    Unless the herring are tiny you can use the 4 - 5 hook rigs that have heavier line and more space between the hooks than the really small rigs. Alternatively you can cut off every other hook. THis works really well on big herring that are feeding on something tiny. I always use 2 or 3 oz of weight with small - medium herring and 8 oz with big herring. When you bring them over the rail you should grab the sinker and pull toward you enough to load up the rod and keep tension on the line. Shake them off with a bait de-hooker so you don't have to get really close to the hooks. You can do all this by yourself, but it goes a lot easier with two people.

    Big_E

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    Here is a good brine recipe: 1 gallon water ( without any city treatments)
    4 cups kosher salt
    1 cup powderd milk
    2 tablespoons liguid blueing
    As stated earlier troll bait is starved then electricuted before frozen. Alot of herring gets salted for halibut bait

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by capt. bruce View Post
    As stated earlier troll bait is starved then electricuted before frozen.
    Shhh. Don't tell PETA.

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