How to Preserve Fish Bait

How to preserve fish baitIt's a fish eat fish world out there, so what better way to catch a fish than with some tasty minnows or other fish for bait? Having well-preserved bait fish on hand will ensure it won't fall apart on your fishing line. Also, well-preserved bait fish retain some of the characteristics they had during life, so they are more attractive to fish. There are several ways you can go about preserving bait fish, and most are easy and use things found around the house.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Vegetable Oil Preservation

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Vegetable Oil Preservation:
  • Minnows
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cooking pot
  • Pan (with a base wider than the base of the pot)
  • Sandwich bags
  • Canning Salt Preservation:
  • Canning salt
  • Cookie sheet
  • Wax paper
Step 1
Evenly distribute your minnows in the bottom of the cooking pot. Pour vegetable oil into the pot, until the oil covers the bait fish and rises to one inch above them.
Step 2
Leave your pot for the time being, and take your pan over to the sink. Pour water into the pan, and bring that water to a boil. Place the pot in the boiling water, and wait for the vegetable oil to boil.
Step 3
Once the vegetable oil begins to boil, immediately remove the pot from the pan, and allow it to cool. Turn off your stove and remove the pan from heat.
Step 4
Once the oil has cooled, remove the bait fish from the pot and place them into plastic sandwich bags.
Store the bags in a refrigerator until it's time to use them as bait.

Canning Salt Preservation

Step 1
Spread a layer of caning salt over your cookie sheet. Place the bait fish on the cookie sheet, but don't place them too close together. It's best if none of them touch each other.
Step 2
Put another layer of salt on top of the bait fish. Loosely cover the cookie sheet with wax paper or foil, and refrigerate the bait fish for two days. Do not seal the cover on the cookie sheet, because you want the bait fish to dry out.
Step 3
Remove the cookie sheet from the refrigerator, and pour out the excess water that has accumulated (the salt will have drawn out the moisture within the bait fish).
Step 4
Repeat this water removal processes every two days for the next week. This will make the bait fish dried out and leathery, the perfect consistency for baiting a hook. Keep bait fish cold until it's time to use them.

Tips & Warnings

Put a little salt in water to make it boil faster.

Article Written By Kelsey Childress

Kelsey Childress runs a freelance creative business called Awen Creative that specializes in SEO Web content, social media marketing and blogging. She has been writing for online and in-print publications for over six years, and has a bachelor's degree in English literature and creative writing from Kansas State University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.