If your a surf angler you can salt cure your own shrimp bait easily. Salt cured shrimp bait will get just as many strikes as live shrimp and it stays on the hook much longer.
How much better would it be if you didn’t have to deal with live bait? The advantages are numerous.
- You don’t need a bait bucket
- You don’t need an aerator
- You can carry a bag of bait in your pocket
- Salt preserved shrimp will catch just as many fish as live shrimp
- What you don’t use doesn’t spoil
- It stays on the hook much better than live bait
- It’s simple and easy to preserve shrimp yourself
- Cured shrimp has an indefinite shelf life
Salt curing has been around for ages but since the advent of refrigeration you very seldom hear about it. The reason why salt curing works is because it inhibits the growth of microorganisms.
Once you start using shrimp that has been cured as see how well it works you won’t want to go surf fishing with live shrimp again.
Go to your local super market and buy a box of kosher salt (do not use iodized salt) and a pound of uncooked shrimp with the shells on. Peel the shells off and cut the shrimp into chunks about ½” to ¾ of an inch long. Do not wash or rinse the shrimp. You want it to retain as much of the natural scent as possible
Use any plastic container about 6″-8″ round with a flat bottom. Start with about an inch of salt in the bottom of the container. Place in a layer of chunk-ed up shrimp and another inch of salt. Continue building layers of shrimp and salt until all the shrimp is under the salt. Do not seal the container. You can place a rag or a towel over it if you like.
The shrimp will cure relatively fast usually in one day but allow at least a few days to be sure. You can shake it a little bit every once in awhile just to be sure that the shrimp stays in contact with the salt.
Once the shrimp has cured you’ll notice that it is a lot more firm than before curing. This is the reason it will stay on the hook much longer than fresh shrimp. Any surf angler knows you can go through a lot of live bait when your surf fishing.
After curing you can place the shrimp in zip lock or vacuum seal bags and you’re ready to head to the surf anytime. Surf fishing will take on a whole new meaning once you start curing your own bait.
Curing your own bait is a great way to have bait on hand ready to go at a moments notice. Try it for yourself and see how well it works. You won’t be disappointed.