Curing fish bait really stinks, and it's supposed to. Curing, also known as brining, helps retain the bait's alluring scent to attract the fish, while it makes the bait firmer and longer lasting for storage. Curing works equally well on whole fish as it does on fish eggs, or roe. Dozens of recipes exist, but a few easy ones will get you started, whether you're curing whole fish, egg skeins or single eggs.
According to Salmonuniversity.com, all you need for brining whole fish are a few key ingredients and a big cooler. Fill the cooler with de-chlorinated water mixed with four cups of non-iodized salt, one cup of powdered milk, and two tbsp. of liquid bluing. Leave the bait fish soaking in the mixture overnight. Remove and use. Store any unused portions in an airtight bag or container.
A simple recipe for brining egg skeins comes from the fishing section of Fun4u2do.com. The recipe calls for a large bowl or other container, Borax and a few other common ingredients. Fill the container with four cups of de-chlorinated water. Mix in one cup of Borax, one cup of non-iodized salt, and one cup of sugar. Split the egg skeins and soak the eggs. Larger eggs will take up to an hour to absorb the mixture fully. You can do smaller eggs in less than 30 minutes. Remove the eggs, let them fully dry, and then use or freeze in an airtight container for future use. One way to speed up the drying is to put the eggs on a screen of some sort and place them near a fan. The air will circulate above and below the eggs.
Single Fish Eggs
Curing single fish eggs is also easy. The goal is make the single eggs durable enough, with a rubbery texture, so they will stay on your hook. The recipe from Lakemichiganangler.com says all you need are salt, a strainer and a pot of boiling water. Add three tbsp. of salt to a pot of at least four cups of water. Once it's boiling, place small groups of single eggs into a strainer and hold them in the water for up to 15 seconds. Smaller eggs will need less time, as few as five seconds. Lay the eggs on paper towels to dry. Use or freeze them in airtight plastic bags.
Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski
Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.