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salt - salting bait | Category: Fishing Talk

itsaboat 7 months ago

Long time coming, I know...

Salting bait has a number of advantages. The bait will keep fresh a lot longer, even without refrigeration. The bait will be firmer and stay on the hook better. It is harder for small pecky fish to get the bait off the hook.

No matter what you are salting, the method is basically the same. Although some things with high water content take a little longer and will need a drip tray.

Salt is a drying agent. So salting bait or food is simply removing the water. If you are salting food, just remember that most foods will take on a strong salty flavor.

Salting is a quick, cheap and effective way of getting the most out of your bait. It will even save you time and money because you are not throwing away bait that has gone off.

Salting cooked prawns -

You can salt prawns either with the shell on or off. Here I have removed the shell. Cooked prawns have a relatively low water content compared to raw prawns, so the whole process is fairly quick.

Starting with the heads. Here I have removed the shell as described in the Killer Bream Bait topic. I have also shelled the bodies at the same time.

Then simply shake on a thin layer of salt making sure they are fully covered.

As cooked prawn is already fairly dry, you only need some paper towel. For raw prawns or fish (with higher water content) you would use a plastic strainer with a bowl or bucket. I will show that next time when I salt some pilchards.

So simply put the slated prawns on a plate with some paper towel...

Then do the same with the prawn bodies...

After 3 to 4 hours the prawns can be stored in a plastic container or bag. They can be frozen if you want to keep them even longer or vacuum packed.

You can leave them on the paper (or in the strainer) longer if you want. Just remember that the salting process continues which means they get dryer. I have found that even 2 or 3 days on the paper is still good. But putting the salted bait into a bag, air tight container or vacuum pack will keep the remaining moisture in...If you let them dry out too much they will be too hard to put on the hook.

Once they are salted they will stay fresh and usable for a long time. At room temperature a good 4 to 6 weeks, maybe longer. In the fridge they will last at least 6 months even longer if vacuum packed. If you freeze them they will be good for several years. So you can make a big batch if you have the fridge or freezer space. If you have the freezer space and happen to get some cheap prawns you could make 4 or 5 years worth in one go, and the last pack will still be just as fresh as the first.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 7 months ago

that's awesome - great write up.

I'm a firm believer in salting baits.
These days I salt everything: Mussels, Squid, Shrimps, pilchards, etc
I find the salted baits way easier to use and they seem to work better for me than frozen baits.
Perhaps because of the stronger smell.

If I'm in a hurry and need baits immediately, I buy some frozen baits and use them right away.
Then as soon as I get home all left overs get salted.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
Tight Lines 7 months ago

Great write-up!
I bought some commercially prepared baits to have on board as an ‘emergency’ - tried it once with no success so dumped it. Similar result with some salted Bonito the other week...mind you they were not really taking any interest in anything that day. I will try making some myself and give that a go!

Lee Enfield 7 months ago

Excellent article, very helpful. It seems I've been too heavy handed with the salt. Thanks heaps

itsaboat 7 months ago

Hi Lee,

My pleasure mate

You can not be too heavy handed...You have just been using more than you need to

When I do a big batch, I use a bucket with holes drilled in the bottom. I go layer of pilchard (or prawns etc...bait) then a layer of salt. Then a layer of bait and a layer of salt and so on.

I am going to post a pilchard salting topic (or add it to this topic). It is not that much different. It comes down to how much water has to be extracted...That is, how much moisture is in the flesh of the bait that needs to be taken out to stop bacteria growth.

I will go into more detail in my pilchard salting....But, you can not use too much salt. You can use too little, but you cannot use too much !

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
JewCraze 7 months ago

Hi itsaboat,

I went out to Illawong point tonight with salted prawns and prawn heads. I went to Illawong point because I read that there are breams there. Unfortunately I caught nothing. No bites. But the problem is there were like 20 or 30 people fishing there. The place was choca block full of people, constantly casting very heavy sinkers and retrieving, and they kept TALKING. I reckon they scared away all the breams - and whatever other fishing normally available there.

So annoyed so I packed up and went home. Still can't experience how awesome cooked prawns and prawn heads are as baits. Finding a good land based fishing spot in Sydney is NOT easy.

Bentong 7 months ago

+1 on salting bait, I salt on peeled raw shrimp after I cut it to fish bite size and refrigerate it. It stays firm than frozen unsalted. I don't know about salting cooked shrimp....might not make it to the fish specially like your pictured one, looks yummy!

itsaboat 7 months ago

Hi Bentong,

Thanks for your reply.

Yes, they look yummy. I did actually use the salted bodies for dinner. I made an omelette.

Yes, cooked prawns are dryer than raw prawns. That is why I say put them in a bag or air tight container to keep the moisture in. 3 to 4 hours of salting is usually enough. Then just put them straight into a bag or container and they will be as fresh as I have pictured....Just be sure to use a plastic bag or plastic container...metal and salt is not a good idea

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Tim Jordan 7 months ago

Great read. I'm sure it all works but I remind a bigger fan of freash always works best