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DIY: Salted Mussels - a prime bait for saltwater bottom fishing

When you examine the stomach contents of many bottom dwelling saltwater fish species, you’ll often find the remains of crushed mussels.
Many fish love mussels and will often take a mussel over other baits. This is especially true when you fish in areas that naturally contain lots of mussels, like sandy beaches, rocky ledges or reefy areas with nearby mussel beds. Mussels are THE top secret weapon when surfcasting off beaches and bays or when fishing near mussel farms. 
On the flip side, mussels are very tricky baits to use. Due to their rather soft consistency they are difficult to attach to a fishing hook.
Using fresh mussels is also quite time consuming while fishing. You first need to crush them or somehow get them out of their shells and then try to wrap the squishy meat around your hook. This put me off using mussels for a long time.
The solution to these problems is surprisingly easy and only requires a bit of preparation.
You just need to dry out the mussels by salting them a few days before your fishing trip.
Salted mussels work great, are tough enough to stay on a hook and are quick and easy to re-bait.
They also release their scent a bit slower once in the water and attract fish for longer.
If you haven’t fished with salted mussels yet, I would highly recommend to give it a try. You’ll be amazed by the results.
Here is how to prepare and salt mussels for bait:
First collect some mussels if you know where to find them. Alternatively buy fresh ones from a supermarket.
Mussels are often quite cheap to buy. Bigger mussels are better and it’s best to find the type of mussels that also live in the area you intend to fish. 
collected musselssome freshly collected mussels 
Once you have enough mussels - maybe a bucket full - you need freeze them.
If you ever tried to get a fresh live mussel out of it’s shell, you know that it’s almost impossible without making a huge mess.
However, when you freeze fresh mussels, it’s a bit like cooking them. During the freezing process they’ll open up.
Have a bucket or plastic container ready with some holes poked through the bottom.
Also get a bag full of non iodised table salt. You’ll need quite a bit of salt - so get a big bag :-)
Once the mussels are partially open, you can take them out of the freezer and let them defrost.
Then take a knife and cut along the inside of each shell to detach the mussel.
Now open the shell carefully and try to work out the mussel without tearing it apart.
frozen musselsremoving mussels from shells after freezing
It’s a bit of work - but while you do it, you can dream of those nice big fish you’ll be soon catching with them.
Put each mussel into the bucket and pour salt over it. You want to have each mussel pretty much covered in salt, before you add the next one.
Continue to layer mussels and salt into your bucket and then finish with a final layer of salt.
Place the bucket onto some sort of drip tray to collect the water that will be withdrawn from the mussels.
You don’t wan’t that all running around in your kitchen or garage.
Then check everyday if there’s still water coming out. Once the water has stopped, the mussels are done.
It takes maybe a few days. Afterwards you can remove the mussels, shake of the excess salt und put them into a bait container or ziplock bag until you use them for fishing. No need to keep them in the fridge or freeze. Because of the salting they are now preserved and will keep for a long time. You’ll notice that they consistency is now quite rubbery and they are much easier to handle.
salted musselssalted mussels
A tip for using them as bait is to get some bait elastic. This is a thin rubber band on a spindle.
You can wrap the salted mussels around your hook and then use a little bait elastic to tie them on so that they wont fall off easily.
That’s all there’s to it. It’s very easy and super effective to make your own salted mussel bait.
I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. Good luck with the mussels and happy fishing.
snapper fishingand the result


3 years ago by Tery Tucker
Thank you so much. I have a friend who is a diehard surf fisher in the atlantic. I will ask her about trying this.
2 years ago by
I intended to try it but every time I buy mussels, ....I eat them They are better tasting than any fish I know
2 years ago by fishingem
Thank you for sharing, great information.
2 years ago by gnatsum289
that's great I have a bag of pipis I will try it with them first cheers
2 years ago by Michelley T Waihape Keefe-Tai
Thanks so much for this great tip. I am a newby in the fishing industry and I absolutely love it and certainly intend to learn as much as I can while enjoying my new founded leisure activity. Will let you know how I did, once I've tried this. #Shelz
2 years ago by dazzling79
Great to try new things!! Please let us know how you go with it
2 years ago by larry40
I've used muscles fresh muscles for years & have learned how to put them on the hook & cast them way out without falling off. Oh & yes I catch plenty of fish. My record is 9 different kinds( 14 fish total) in about 5 hours shore fishing Southern Ca. Larry C. ( Koreatown).
2 years ago by larry40
Forgot to say how. I gently cut the muscle open,cut along the hard edge both sides & both sides of the shell. Pull the hard firm pieces. Then cut gently under the stomach, completely cutting out the tendon. Sometimes your lucky & there is some weed still attached. Gently remove the stomach, weed attached. Then put the hard part of the stomach ( middle section ) on hook & cast away! The fish love it........ Thanks, Larry C.
1 year ago by Sassinator
Sounds like a good idea. Might try this myself. S
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