How to Brine Herring/Anchovies

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fishing Forum' started by Charlie, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. Charlie

    Charlie Well-Known Member

    I tried this and found it is the best receipt for brining anchovies I have found... thought I would share it! Also, after I brine the anchovies I place them in a plastic container and soak them in scent and refrigerate.

    2-1/2 gallons of non-chlorinated water. Leave tap water sitting out overnight and the chlorine will evaporate.

    3 tablespoons Mrs. Stuart's liquid bluing. Makes scales and skin brighter and more reflective.

    4 cups non-iodized salt, canning salt, rock salt, kosher salt, or road salt.

    Powdered milk:
    1 cup powdered milk. This makes the meat firm without burning. This is especially good for bait that has been frozen too slow at the processor, or bait that is too soft.

    Garlic oil from a jar of minced garlic or one of the prepared garlic scents. Also try adding 2 tablespoons of pure anise oil.

    This recipe will cure 4 to 6 dozen anchovies overnight. It's fine to let them set there for two days. Once the bait has firmed up, this solution will keep the bait firm for weeks if refrigerated.

    Inject any number of scents to change the scent trail.
  2. mason.jar

    mason.jar Guest


    That is a very popular recipe, and one that truly does work very well. Juicing your bait can some times make all the difference in the world, between catching or not. This works especially when fish are in transition while traveling toward their home waters. When choosing a good scent to juice your bait fish with, look for additives or ingredients on the product label like pheromones and proteins and fish based oils. Water base scents work extremely well during the wet brine process as it will absorb into the bait, where oil based scents work best for injecting, they also expel from the body faster than the natural smell from the bait fish creating broadly dispersed scent trails. These kinds of scents trigger non feeding fish into biting you presentation more often than not.

    The juicing method also works well with bottom fish when trying to hone them in. Mason
  3. highlights

    highlights Active Member


    Mrs. Stuarts liquid bluing. Hmmm where to find that I wonder.

    Guys down at Colwood Petro can are selling brown bags of iodized (table) salt for brining bait. I said they were crazy. I have always used pickling salt. The guy tried to tell me it is what they have always sold at that location. BS, that was the first I ever saw it. They must have gotten a good bulk deal on it.
  4. mason.jar

    mason.jar Guest

    You can find it at your favorite grocer, in the laundry isle. It is used in conjunction when bleaching cloths to help give a glowing white look to your whites. It has also been used in the past by grey haired women to enhance their hair color [blue hairs]. I buy mine at Save-On. Mason

  5. Charlie

    Charlie Well-Known Member

    Hi Mason, thanks for the additional info!

    What I am thinking is after the brine process... soaking them in "Smelly Jell", "Salmon Feast"... ever tried that?

    Should work good! What do you think?
  6. abbyfireguy

    abbyfireguy Active Member

    After brining do you give the bait a quick rinse??I will be brining for a week long trip to Barkley Sound on Sept 1st,but will be travelling for a day to get there....Do they keep well on ice for 5 or 6 days or need refreezing???

  7. mason.jar

    mason.jar Guest

    When using any water based scent, add it in during the wet brine process. When using oil based scent, it is best to inject the bait. Soaking the bait in an oil based scent will add only a thin layer of scent to the body, and it will absorb a small amount. What I could suggest is to layer a 1/4 inch of coarse salt in a plastic or glass deep dish, then a layer of bait fish, add scent oil to cover above the bait fish. Finally add a heavy layer of salt covering above the oil. Normally a full tray of bait or divide it and do two different scent flavors. Place this into the fridge or a cool spot in the house for three days. The oil stops the salt from burning the bait, the oil will absorb into the bait, and the salt will cure and stiffen the bait fish. This process can also be done after a wet brine in the case of dying or coloring the bait. Mason
  8. mason.jar

    mason.jar Guest

    No rinsing is required. For long lasting bait, do a heavy salt water solution. Start the brine process the night before your trip overnight in the fridge. once you have arrived at your destination add ice packs to the bait and solution, do not stir as you risk scale loss. each night before you go out take as many bait fish out as you think that you will use in a day and do a dry brine. The dry brine will remove excess moisture out of the bait fish and stiffen it up a bit more. Mason

  9. highlights

    highlights Active Member

    Yeah , see, I have always done a dry brine after my liquid solution from the night before. This does stiffen but you run the risk of over drying and making tin foil type bait .LOL The key is to try and keep the bait hydrated and full without leaving it too soft. Refreezing has always been an issue I found . Especially if the water content was too high in the bait. The water that is absorbed into the flesh will expand and you will find that the belly always splits open.
  10. mason.jar

    mason.jar Guest

    If you dry brine overnight do it in a cool place or in the fridge as the moisture does not exspell as fast as it would if it was in the open air. I generally leave my dry brined bait in salt no longer than 8 to 12 hours. The above dry brine, oil based cure is different in that the oil protects the bait and it will absorb into the bait fish. I have left bait in this combo cure for two weeks and still caught fish on it. Simply, just things to play with. I normally fish with fresh unscented brined bait. In areas where migratory fish are within 25 miles of home, try using the scent methods to turn them on. Mason
  11. bee15

    bee15 Active Member

    the little bags of salt at colwwod petro can are great especially when thats the only place you can find salt early on,been using them for years just open the anchovy pack and pour in the salt. works great for me and my buddies. the more salt the better good luck fishing.

    if you pour salt directly onto crushed ice the melt is super cold and will keep bait frozen much longer.
  12. cby

    cby Active Member

    I use coarse salt from Thrifys, Dry Brine bait and freeze and refreeze. I have never had a probably with this method. Makes bait like leather and last forever. Its all about the roll anyway.

  13. tubber

    tubber Well-Known Member

    I put a whack of salt, a fist full of dry powdered milk and a splooch of Mrs. Stuarts's in a big tupperware and shake it up. On the way to the boat add 2 packs of frozen anchovies as soon as they can be seperated without damage. Keep them coolish until they are somewhat dehydrated and then it doesn't matter what temperature they are. Leave them on the boat if there are no critters to bother them. The next day put a crusty one on one side and a fresher one on the other. If you don't get a hit in a few minutes reel up to find both look equally fresh (they rehydrate very quickly. Dry Brine seems so much easier and they will last longer than your trip in most cases. I got a decent fish on Sunday on a bait that had been used once before (toothpick and hook marks), thrown back in the tupperware and was sitting in dry blue salt for over a week. Haven't got into the scents much yet. Maybe dried garlic powder next time. I still think it has more to do with fishing where there are fish and the shape of the roll than the type of brine.
  14. Sitkaspruce

    Sitkaspruce Well-Known Member

    Ditto, I just throw them in the freezer during the week and thaw out on Friday Mornings.

    I rotate fresh on the bottom, older ones on top. Fish do not seem to mind:D



  15. Tips Up

    Tips Up Well-Known Member

    I have never added powdered milk and thought I would give it a try. All I could find at Thrifty's was instant powdered skim milk. Is that the stuff?
    If it is milk would it no need to be refrigerated to keep it from going sour?

  16. tubber

    tubber Well-Known Member

    That's right, skim milk powder. Wet brine keep cold, dry brine doesn't seem to matter. I'm no expert, but the dry brine baits never blow out and last until they get bit, or fouled by weeds.
  17. lazyguy

    lazyguy Guest

    Havn't tried the dry brine, but sounds pretty good especially if it lets you refreeze! Does the dry brine work equally well with cut plug herring or does it dry out too much and start to curl? I always figured the fresher it looks the better!
  18. cby

    cby Active Member

    For Cut Plug it might dry them out to quick unless you do them the day before or off your trip, then they will be golden.

  19. mason.jar

    mason.jar Guest

    Speaking of cut plug fishing, I got a few cases of vac pak blu's for a very reasonable price the other day. Considering they are dam near impossible to find this year. If you go to the following classified ad at you will find various frozen baits for sale. Anchovy, herring, squid, etc. Mason
  20. Tips Up

    Tips Up Well-Known Member

    How many cups in a gallon? 2 1/2 gallons seems like a a ton of water.

    I am messing around with my brine. Usually use 3 cups water to 1 cup salt then add stuff to that.

    Anyone else have a ratio that they like?


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