Sardines are a bait fish that you purchase from a market or bait and tackle shop. When selecting the sardines you want to use, choose sardines that are 8 to 9 inches long, which is an ideal size for filleting, cutting into chunks and scraping for small parts. Opt for fresh sardines, when possible. Sardines that have recently died will have small drops of blood in one or both eyelets, which will still be visible days after the fish has died.
Cut the sardine into 4-inch chunks using a knife or scissors. When cutting the fish, cut from the spine all the way to the tail and then cut into chunks from there. Chunks work better than fillets, which fish can quickly bite from your hook without disturbing your line and/or before you have an opportunity to retrieve your line from the water. Weave the hook through each chunk and secure it with a piece of Miracle Thread, which is a nude colored thread that wraps around soft baits that can easily fall from a hook when currents are fast or when picked at by fish with superior striking action. Wrap the Miracle Thread around the chunk leaving the hook point slightly exposed. Cast your line. This technique is especially useful when fishing for striped bass and carp.
The scraps left over from filleting and cutting sardines into chunks work very well as bait and can be threaded onto your hook for bank pole fishing. Bait your line with the head, skeleton and tail of the sardine. You can also use just the head if you don’t want to cut out the skeleton or come across a damaged or thin tail.
Fill a plastic container or plastic bag with sea salt and olive oil-add enough to wet the sardines; it is not necessary to submerge them. Toss in fillet and chunk pieces of sardines and store in a refrigerator overnight. Add Pro-Cure Sardine oil to increase the scent of the fish and increase the potential for a strike. This tip will also increase the firmness of the sardines, so they attach to the hook will securely. In other words, it minimizes the softness of the sardines, so fish cannot swim along and snatch them off your line.