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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    mackinaw city mi
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    59

    How to cure my bait fish

    I'm going smelt dipping tonight and have a few questions about curing them for this summer. I have big weenies brine, but what exactly do I do once I met the little guys. Do I have to remove the guts? Are they going to be ok in a cooler with ice until I get back home and put them in the freezer? When do I add the brine? If anyone reads this please help me ASAP as I'm leaving in 2 hours for the river. Will smelt even work for salmon fishing with good success?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Sweet Home Chicago
    Posts
    1,053
    Do not gut them. The purpose of brining is to cure them. If you are going to freeze them, they need to be vacummed packed. Either cure then vacuum or freeze a bit, then vacuum, slowly thaw and then brine.

    You will get mixed thoughts. Remember, most bait is starved before it his the tray and frozen.

    Smelt work great in BW's mini meat heads.
    Last edited by joelreiser; 04-24-2013 at 05:17 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    mackinaw city mi
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    59
    Ok so no to gutting the smelt. What exactly is the process from catching on.... cuz I'm completly oblivious as to what to do.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    mackinaw city mi
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    59
    Also, I don't have a vacuum packer, so will leaving them in a water/brine solution in the fridge work or not even close? Any way to save them without a vacuum packer???

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Near Lansing, MI
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    6,097
    Quote Originally Posted by straits of mackinac View Post
    Also, I don't have a vacuum packer, so will leaving them in a water/brine solution in the fridge work or not even close? Any way to save them without a vacuum packer???
    They will last for a couple of weeks brined in a refrigerator but that's about it. With vacuum packing the alewife I caught and brined in May were still good in September. I have never used smelt in bait rigs but if you can get big enough ones, they should work. BW does have smaller heads that would probably work with them.

    Video originally contributed to the site by Frank at Calumet Marine:


    And here is the Big Weenie how to video:
    Ryan... ... Think KINGS!

    Boat Name: CATtitude Adjustment -- 21' SeaCat
    More technology per square foot than any boat on the Great Lakes
    Owner: NetBungee -- http://www.netbungee.com &
    Michigan Slamon Spectacular - http://www.MichiganSalmonSpectacular.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    8
    the big weenie girl is much better looking than Capt John's hands.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Thunder Bay Ontario
    Posts
    27
    Smelt will hold up fine in a ziploc freezer bag. For brine I usually thaw and drain and cover them in coarse salt and keep cold for a couple days. It seems to work fine. Small bait heads will work but I prefer my home made strip on rigs. I use wire for making spinner baits and make an eyelet at each end and have it end up a little shorter than the smelt you are using. To rig push the wire down the smelts mouth until it pops out the vent and slide on a double hook. The benefit of the spinner bait wire is you can easily tune it by bending to get a nice rolling action and you lose less bait than you do with bait heads

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Sweet Home Chicago
    Posts
    1,053
    Quote Originally Posted by filletandrelease View Post
    Smelt will hold up fine in a ziploc freezer bag. For brine I usually thaw and drain and cover them in coarse salt and keep cold for a couple days. It seems to work fine. Small bait heads will work but I prefer my home made strip on rigs. I use wire for making spinner baits and make an eyelet at each end and have it end up a little shorter than the smelt you are using. To rig push the wire down the smelts mouth until it pops out the vent and slide on a double hook. The benefit of the spinner bait wire is you can easily tune it by bending to get a nice rolling action and you lose less bait than you do with bait heads
    Split tail herring rig. There is an easier way to do it with a bait snap. ;)

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