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Saturday, September 27, 2014

JELLO and Salmon

Its egg time here in the Great Lakes and Salmon season is in full swing. Now is the time to stock up on your eggs and skein for fall, winter and spring fishing. Preparation is where opportunity meets success. Quality baits for Salmon and Steelhead put fish in the net.

Ever been on the river with your buddy and he out fishes you 2 to 1? You have the same rig, shot, float, leader, etc. but you’re too proud to use his baits because you think yours is the same or even better because you cured it or tied it up. Put pride aside and use your buddies bait. Some days certain cures, colors and types work better than others.

So if you get that simple principle and believe it. You know several baits cured and colored up in different ways can make all the difference some days. Many of us have our own cure recipes either homemade or used in conjunction with commercial products. Some families it’s a closely guarded secret. I too have many recipes and tricks of the trade I employ to get bit.

Today were going to discuss one such recipe that has been around for years and is my favorite for Kings here in the Great Lakes. This bait is usually drifted or floated under a float or used bottom bouncing. With this type of fishing you need a tough bait. One that lasts, milks and attracts fish and causes them to bite.

First product needed is Pautzke’s Fire Cure. I use all their products in all my different curing recipes. Now this is a sodium sulfate cure which means it has a salt preservative in it. Along with other secret ingredients and scents. This cure is a Salmon magnet and comes in several fish catching colors. Sometimes I like to mix Pautzkes Fire Cure red with the pink. So different shades of reds and pinks are possible. The sky's the limit, become your own mad scientist.

Salmon crave salt as their bodies are depleted of it as they enter the river. More so on the West Coast because of the salt water they come from, but I do believe also here in the Great Lakes they do as well. Because their bodies are changing rapidly as they complete their life cycle.

Salmon can smell one part per million so they can smell your bait. That’s why you want a bait that milks and leaves a scent trail and also why many fishermen wear rubber gloves when fishing. I do recommend when curing to lessen your human scent on your bait and to keep your fingers from being dyed red or pink.

First cut slits in the main blood vein on the membrane side and use paper towel to soak up any blood. Your goal is to push the remaining blood out of the skein vein. Gently use the back of a plastic spoon or your thumb. Blood is your enemy in the curing process. Next butterfly your skeins right down the middle with a plastic knife. Free at any fast food chain. Hint, Hint. Be careful not to cut through the membrane. This holds the skeins together.

Once skeins have been butterflied they should look like this.


Next you need a box of JELLO. I use Cherry, Strawberry and Orange the most. Not only do you produce a sweeter egg but gives you a deep rich color that’s pops in the water column.

Now I like to make large batches up of my cure at a time and store in my own containers. The only ingredient I do not add until I’m ready is the liquid krill or Nectar. This is added when skeins go into a ziploc bag. I take one cup of fire cure, 2 cups of borax and 1 box of your favorite JELLO mix. I mix all ingredients well and shake some out on newspapers or paper towels and lay skeins on top of the powder. Next I sprinkle cure mix on the top of the eggs. Make sure to pull apart egg folds and get that cure in between the skein folds. Let the skeins sit outdoors with the cure on it for one hour. This amount of time can be adjusted based on how wet and firm you want your eggs. 

Next the skeins are added to a zip lock bag and more cure is then added. I leave the skeins to juice up in the bag for at least 1-2 hour's at room temperature sometimes even longer depending on skein size. During this time you should be tumbling your eggs every half hour. Goal here is to make sure cure is being mixed covering all the eggs and in between very well. If the eggs aren't juicing add more cure. You want the eggs to juice up.

Once skeins are covered well with your mixture place them in the fridge overnight. Make sure to keep tumbling the eggs. By the next day the eggs should have soaked up all the juice and osmosis is complete. I take skeins out and lay them out and cut them into manageable pieces. I do not cut them too small this way you can cut them down on the river to the size you need based on the bite. You can always cut them into smaller pieces but you can't make them bigger.

I then let the pieces of skein air dry to the right tackiness I prefer. And I sprinkle Pautzke  Borx O’ Fire on the top of the pieces. This adds more cure, scent and a creates a bait that milks a lot when fished. So if your bait came out too wet for your liking, just add more cure mixture or let air dry longer to get the desired results you like. 

The end result is a very firm, colorful, durable bait that will have salmon slamming your offering. Look at the color in these eggs. By having a bait that lasts you will spend more time in the water fishing. You can't catch a fish if your not in the water. More time in the water with your bait and in the strike zone equals more fish. 

Don't forget to mark your zip lock bag, jar or container with what cure combo you used. You will soon see some of your colored skeins work better than others on your home rivers. After experimenting in time you too will have your own favorite arsenal of cure color combos that produce results and put fish in the boat.Give this simple recipe a try. 

Pautzke's has been around for over 75 years, there is a reason because it works. 


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