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Home > Tips & Techniques > Bait Brine Recipes

Bait Brine Recipes

Used for toughing up baitfish like sardines, shad, herring, anchovies, etc.

Dry Brine

  • 1 cup canning salt (or any non-iodized salt)
  • cup baking soda

    Shake the bait in a plastic bag with the brine, then remove the bait from brine.  It should have a light coating of brine.  Now let the bait sit in the refrigerator for about 24 hours.  Once finished curing you can use it or freeze it.

Wet Brine Jump to the top of this page

  • 3 pounds of bait
  • 1 gallon (16 cups) of water
  • 1 gallon (16 cups) of ice
  • 2 cups non-iodized salt
  • cup powdered milk
  • cup baking soda
  • 1 tbsp bluing (optional)
  • Liquid scent (optional)

Fill a non-metallic container like a small ice chest with water and let sit uncovered for at least a few hours to dissipate the chlorine.  Mix the ingredients and add let your bait soak for about 24 hours in the refrigerator.  Remove the bait and use or freeze.

Notes Jump to the top of this page

Important things to remember are number one, don't use iodized salt which has iodine added.  Second, make sure to let your water sit uncovered for at least a few hours to allow for the chlorine in tap water to dissipate.

The dry brine is good for sardine or anchovy chunks which are used to tip hooks when trolling for landlocked kings.  The wet brine recipe is good to toughen up cut baits like sardines, anchovies or shad to be used for stripers .  It's also good for mooching with herring or anchovies.  If you are going to be trolling with whole baits like herring, anchovies, or shad, wet brine then and then dry brine them as a second step to toughen them up.

Optional ingredients for the wet brine are liquid scent and dyes.  You can add about a teaspoon of your favorite liquid scent like pure anise or Pro-cure bait oil.  Adding a tablespoon of dye will brighten up the baits, especially useful when dying the bait blue for trolling or mooching herring or anchovies for ocean salmon.