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Thread: Preserving Herring ?

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    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default Preserving Herring ?

    What is the best way to keep herring firm for a entire weekend?
    I am fishing from an open boat with out any storage so the herring sits in the cooler, buy late Sat. or early Sunday it is always soft.
    So if a I guy buys in bulk & takes out a ziplock bag or two full, or a couple trays of the troll herring what is the best method to keep it?
    Borax, rocksalt, or just regular salt in a small cooler,and how much salt are we talking?
    A lb per couple dozen or so?
    Any ideas to help stop the waste would be appreciated

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    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Here's a great recipe from Salmon University for brining troll herring that I use and I get good results. The key, I think, is the powered milk, as I did a batch the time before last without it and the cure was not very good.

    Of course, if you buy your herring on the way to your fishing, the 30 hours it takes to do this is not possible. In that case, I think a layering your herring (troll or bulk) in a tub with rock salt is your next best bet. Put the tub in a cooler with ice to keep the temperature down. Cooking your herring doesn't help at all...

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    I like that cure too, and if anything the herring is "shinier" after you use it. But it takes time.

    Each night all my thawed herring goes in kosher salt for use the next day. If I don't get it used then, I fillet it and cut the fillets into strips and salt those for later use inside hoochies. I really don't like thawing tray herring before I have to, but there always seems to be leftovers.

    If not possible to keep it frozen till you need it, then by all means buy it a few days before you leave, cure it this way, then refrigerate. Likely it will be better than plain tray herring thawed the same day, at least for plug cutting.

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    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link.
    I will give it a shot as it sounds great.
    Quick question, have you tried re-freezing the herring after brining them? Don't know if this would work or make them soft when the thaw but thought it might be easier than trying to keep them in the refridgerator for weeks at a time.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I take the tray herring and brine it using the method already posted. I then pack it into vacuum bags in amounts I would use at one time and only open the bag as I need them. This system has worked great, the bait last a long time and is nice and firm. I have even added garlic and anise to the brine with good results.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I also use a marinating needle to inject my herring with scents, garlic, herring oil, anise, ect....

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    I keep my bait in a soft insulated lunch pack or use an insulated 6-pack cooler.
    I use 2-4 blue ice packs to keep the bait frozen.
    I use all the blue ice packs I can fit with the bait I am taking.
    I try to keep the pack closed and in the shade.
    This will keep the bait frozen for a day.
    As soon as I get home the un-used bait goes into a freezer.
    Ken (Tiderunner)

  8. #8

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    i take mine and in a five gallon bucket and put a layer of salt then herring till full top off with more salt and it works great leave in a shaded area and take out as used lots of old longliners do this and works fine

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    Anyone have an alternative to the Mrs. Whites blueing. I can't locate any here in Kodiak. Would like that added shine. I'll have to order some online unless there is an alternative.
    Experience is a hard teacher because you get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Talk to your local grocery store and see if they will order it.

    I find that I use it in laundry (that is what it is made for) in addition to the brining.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakbound View Post
    Anyone have an alternative to the Mrs. Whites blueing. I can't locate any here in Kodiak. Would like that added shine. I'll have to order some online unless there is an alternative.
    You might check any place that sells Pro-Cure products...they have a blueing product in a 2 oz white squeeze bottle called "bait bright".

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    Never done it, but I've heard of guys using Baking Soda to brighten their herring.


    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakbound View Post
    Anyone have an alternative to the Mrs. Whites blueing. I can't locate any here in Kodiak. Would like that added shine. I'll have to order some online unless there is an alternative.

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Two questions about this:

    What is liquid bluing or at least what section of a store should I look for it?

    Does anyone add scent to herring for silvers? I've heard of the anise and garlic for kings, but not silvers, so just wondering what people do.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by coho slayer View Post
    Two questions about this:

    What is liquid bluing or at least what section of a store should I look for it?

    Does anyone add scent to herring for silvers? I've heard of the anise and garlic for kings, but not silvers, so just wondering what people do.
    It's in the laundry section, near the fabric softeners If I recall correctly. Blue bottle with white label and white cap.

    I've been experimenting with the whole cure thing, but not with scents. So far there's been no penalty for letting the herring scent come through.

    My experiments have included leaving out the bluing (for my eyes they don't seem and less shiny), leaving out the milk too (just plain brine, and that seems to hold fine) and longer soaks in the solutions. If anything I like the texture best with a 24 hour soak in 2 cups of salt in 6 quarts of water, basically the same amount of salt as in the original recipe, but a longer soak and no milk or bluing. I trolled a cut plug for 6 hours, and it never came unbuttoned or got too soft. Of course, to troll it that long, the bite was really off and nothing was working.

    So far none of them keep as long as the claims in the link. After about 6 days in the refrigerator, I start getting a sour smell and king catches fall through the basement.

    I've also tried freezing them after curing. They "feel" softer, but seem to last just as long on the hook. My routine now is to do a batch of 2-3 dozen and take a dozen out with me the next day while freezing the rest (on a cookie sheet so they can go loose into a ziploc for ease of later use).

    BTW- That cut plug demo on the same site is a killer. I'm pretty good at rigging whole herring after almost 50 years of doing it, and have been trolling a mix of cut plug and rigged. So far, the cut plug works at least as well and often better. Best of all, my wife can bait the cut plugs even though she's about worthless at rigging. Now she is in charge of baiting most of the time, which is kinda nice!

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Did my first batch of my own brined herring this weekend. I caught a bunch in Whittier, and immediately brined them when I got home. We'll see how they do. I added some scents (herring oil and a secret one, for now). I will try them side-by-side with non-brined/scented herring and see which gets the best results in Valdez later this summer. For now, they went straight from brine, to packs of ten, to the freezer.

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    I usually break my bait down into 12 fish ziplocks (bulk herring) and then throw them in the freezer. When I go out we take a bait cooler which gets ice and one package of bait. The rest of the bait stays in the big cooler that is packed with fish ice for later use and only gets opened when another bag of bait is needed. Essentially what i'm saying is get a small bait cooler for constant access becuase opening it all the time keeps it from staying cold, keep the rest of your bait in a different cooler full of ice and it will stay frozen for days.

    Thats how I do it anyhow, have a quality long term storage cooler is helpfull too, the bait cooler can be anything, even a rubber maid containter.

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    I usually break my bait down into 12 fish ziplocks (bulk herring) and then throw them in the freezer. When I go out we take a bait cooler which gets ice and one package of bait. The rest of the bait stays in the big cooler that is packed with fish ice for later use and only gets opened when another bag of bait is needed. Essentially what i'm saying is get a small bait cooler for constant access becuase opening it all the time keeps it from staying cold, keep the rest of your bait in a different cooler full of ice and it will stay frozen for days.

    Thats how I do it anyhow, have a quality long term storage cooler is helpfull too, the bait cooler can be anything, even a rubber maid containter.
    That's pretty much exactly what I did. I brined them, then packaged in ziplocs, 10 each, freezing flat. I had a nice round number to work with, so that was helpful. Only have 5 bags, though. I can picture using those up fast between myself and my family. I may make another bait run to Whittier and repeat the process.

    I have a large marine cooler that will keep things frozen or very close to it for days....it's actually held ice for almost two weeks...blew me away. But yeah, once you break a bag out, use it up before taking another out. I have one of those little lunchbox type coolers that are pretty good for holding bait only.

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