How to cure prawns for spring chinook salmon angling

Posted: April 14, 2013 by Hellcat in Fish Reports, Gear Fishing, Salmon, Trout & Steelhead, Tips & Advice, Tutorials
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We’re almost fully entrenched in spring chinook fever. Those of us that relish the winter steelhead season so must move on gracefully to the next season on deck. And it’s here. There’s nothing more important when spring salmon fishing, or any salmon fishing for that matter, that you correctly ‘match the hatch’. In this case matching the hatch refers to providing the right bait for the fish you’re after. I’ve learned from Neit who has been doing this for forty years how absolutely important it is to ‘weight and measure’ your cures regardless of the meat it’s going on.

The other night while I was attending the seminar in Clackamas (new seminar in Mollala the 18th with details forthcoming) celebrating the success of Nate’s Baits prawns, curing process and angling method….Neit surprised me by calling me out in the crowd with one simple question: Do you weigh and measure your curing process and if not why? Needless to say I learned a lot that night and I hope to adequately convey some of the information I retained while openly admitting I am as much a novice at this as word’s definition suggests.

So here we go. Prawntastically Fantastic!

Nates Purple Royale

Step 1) Locate and procure whole, shell-on, raw, frozen ‘fish bait prawns’ in one and one half pound increments as you’ll be adding 1/2 cup Nates Baits cure(s) etc.

Step 2) Prepare one 1 gallon freezer zip lock bag for every 1.5# of prawns you’ll be curing. You will also need mason jars of your choice for prawn transfer after 24 to 48 hours of bagging the bait.

Step 3) Using the aforementioned 1.5 lbs bait to 1/2 cup cure ratio….you’ll now mix everything together in one of the zip lock bags. Simply sprinkle your 1/2 cup of cure into the freezer bag of prawns. They are now slightly thawing and will be more receptive to the chemical reaction taking place as the curing begins. And it begins immediately.

Step 4) Mixing or ‘ROLLING’ the prawns upside down in your freezer zip lock bag with the locking portion of the bag folded over on itself will prevent the spiky portions of the prawn from poking through the bottom part of the bag which will make a stained mess later when everything settles.

*Note: You can use one color of Nates Bait cure per batch or you can mix two different colors to create another. Tips and Tricks:when you mix 1/4 cup Nates Bait orange prawn cure with 1/4 cup pink you’ll end up with a killer Red.

Step 5) Leave the prawns to cure AT ROOM TEMP for a minimum of 24 hours. Up to 48 hours at room temperature is not only acceptable but even preferred whenever possible. Such prolonged exposure to the cure at the warmer temperature described ensures the baits are really soaking everything up after it’s originally expelled. Imagine a sponge being squeezed tight and then released. That’s essentially what’s happening here so you want to be sure to capture those original expelled juices as they are precious indeed and will be re-absorbed into the bait in the final stages of the cure. Once cured for the initial 24 hours the bait may be fished. If you are refrigerating your bait during this process, as many of us do, you really need to wait 3 to 5 days to accomplish the same bait or near the same.

Step 6) Before moving your prawns to the bait refrigerator you will transfer them into the mason jar size of your choice. I recommend using the FAT WIDE jars whenever possible. It makes dipping our big man paws into the jars and successfully retrieving a bait somewhat possible. REMEMBER TO GET ALL THE JUICE TRANSFERRED.

Step 7) See my next article in this Nates Bait sponsored series about RIGGING coming soon…..

Don’t miss the next Nates Bait seminar! I’ll be there filming this one in it’s entirety in HD! This amazing seminar is being hosted by Mollalla Steelheaders at Arrowhead golf course on 4/18/13 at 6.30 pm. This is open to the public free of charge. Come get the facts, curing baits and rigging on king fishing!!!! with John Webb AAA/TeamSalmon2013!!

  1. Greg G says:

    Great Article Hellcat!!! Definitely bookmarking this one for fall salmon!!!

  2. Hellcat says:

    Thanks GREG!

  3. Strick says:

    Looks good Chris. The main reason for holding the gallon sized ziplocs upside down is when the prawns poke small holes in the bag, the holes will be in the top portion of the bag when bag is sitting upright. Because the prawns will poke holes in the bags.

  4. Hellcat says:

    Thanks Jason!

  5. Donaca says:

    Great info. I can’t wait for his dry packed coin shrimp. Going to be money for summers and sockeyes.

  6. Captain Jack says:

    Dang, theres some good stuff in here. Though my Prawn curing is done for the season, I’ll be using this method on the next batch.

  7. Jim Reed says:

    Thanks for sharing this Chris!! You always have us headed in the right direction with tips and advice to help get us on the BIG ONE!! Me and the boy have just began fishing prawns and now being able to cure our own will be a BIG PLUS!! Now for some Nates bait cure!!!

  8. Great information to have that will come in handy in a huge way as this spring/summer progresses. Thanks Chris.

  9. BHoov says:

    Great read I can’t wait to put it to work

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