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To gut or not gut your cut bait

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To gut or not gut your cut bait
I have sat in as an innocent observer to some rather heated debates on how to prepare your cut bait for the freezer. Since I am fueling up my rig and bored, figured I would stir that pot.

Do you have a preferred or must do method of preparing and storing your cut bait. ie. gut it or whole, or soak in koolaid or brown sugar. Ya I have seen that done. Or other ....


Yukon the cowboy-pirate, acting crew-chief of Adventures with Cookie and the Cowboy

REMEMBER: Keep the lid on the worms, always share your jerky, and wave when you see the pirate crew.
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Re: [Cowboypirate] To gut or not gut your cut bait In reply to
Never heard of anybody gutting their bait fish. In fact the guts are great fish attractors, especially when the fish is cut in halves or thirds. Some prefer to scale them but I don't bother; sometimes I'll do it when I'm baiting up.

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Re: [catchinon] To gut or not gut your cut bait In reply to
So the argument I hear for gutting before freezing...is as follows (and just to be clear, I dont gut em myself currently, it's just the argument I hear) that the acids and emzines in the internal organs will leach out and break down the meat/skin such that you get " soft" bait when you unfreeze and they wont stay on the hook as well. Also that it impacts the sent let off when they unfreeze in the water.

The few short and wonderful years I got to live in Alabama on a work assignment gave me the oppurtunity to talk to a lot of fishermen with differnt tactics and theories. I learned alot. Like gut the bait and soak in brown sugar before you freeze it. Now this old boy had some big fish on photos to validate his point. I have not followed that particular idea but I would not dare call his practice heresy based on his proof of point photos.

Got ya thinking this morning anyway.


Yukon the cowboy-pirate, acting crew-chief of Adventures with Cookie and the Cowboy

REMEMBER: Keep the lid on the worms, always share your jerky, and wave when you see the pirate crew.
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Re: [Cowboypirate] To gut or not gut your cut bait In reply to
"I don't gut em myself currently, it's just the argument I hear) that the acids and enzymes in the internal organs will leach out and break down the meat/skin such that you get " soft" bait when you unfreeze and they wont stay on the hook as well. Also that it impacts the sent let off when they unfreeze in the water."

That process is known as "autolysis". It is more of a potential problem for trout and other delicate-fleshed fish you plan to keep for the table than for bait. If you process and fast-freeze your bait fish as soon as possible after they croak you will eliminate or retard the breakdown process significantly.


When I bring home minnows to process for bait I have them on ice for the trip home. Then I immediately package and freeze them in a single layer in a small box...with enough water in the package to cover the minnows...after squeezing out all the excess water and all of the air bubbles.


I sometimes fish with minnows that have been in my freezer for over a year...and they usually come out of hibernation almost as good as fresh. As for negative odors...well a whole lotta fish still slurp them up so I guess they ain't all that bad.


Some of my more successful minnowing trips might result in a couple hundred of the bitty tykes. I can't imagine all the hassle it would take to gut each one.


One of the things I often do...especially when fishing with whole minnows...is to use a small sharp knife point to poke holes in both sides to release more scent. And that almost always produces faster action and more bites. So it does not seem that autolysis has played a negative part.
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Re: [Cowboypirate] To gut or not gut your cut bait In reply to
Last Fall I caught a mess of carp minnows . Did the quick freeze method that Pat uses and a borax and salt cure. Used them up in the early spring this year, when it was hard to find fresh carp. Found that the ones quick frozen were still firm and worked best. Borax cured one were dry and the fish did not go for the as well.

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Re: [Cowboypirate] To gut or not gut your cut bait In reply to
I don't use chub cut bait a lot , but

this is what I do
there is a video out there showing this

I use a Vacuum pack machine

add Morton Coarse Kosher Salt, and 20 Mule Team Borax Detergent

this works good

I put the hole chub in the vacuum bag

when I catch the chubs with a net I have a ice chest with the salt and borax in water and ice. when I get home I vacuum pack them.
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Re: [Ahi1953] To gut or not gut your cut bait In reply to
Now I can attest that John's baby carp do well at catching Cats in the Bear river.
I have never heard of using Borax. Isn't that the same stuff my mom used to wash clothes in a metal tub on a wood and metal wash board...............Wink Laugh

I have frozen my white bass from UL, whole, in batches of 4 or 6 in zip lock bags cuz it is sometimes several weeks between trips down to UL and as good a Catfish bait a WB is, it can only be used LEGALLY in Utah Lake. (that's a real shame, too)

When I get a carp from the river, I usually cut the side slabs off the back bone, then cut the slabs in sections about 3 x 3 inches so they fit better in my river bait tub. I try to keep and use the carp guts the same day at the river. Those guts make great Cat attracting bait, but the smaller cats can nibble them off easily, and they never seem to keep very well for future trips. The carp slabs can be frozen, or if planned to use in the next week, just refrigerated.

I always leave the carp skin on, but try to get the scales off. The skin is tough to get a hook thru sometimes, but it also makes it difficult for the Cats to just pull it off the hook.
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Re: [Tin-Can] To gut or not gut your cut bait In reply to
I used to leave the skin on carp meat too. Two things caused me to skin the fillets and fish without the skin. First, scaling a carp is like root canal work without novocain. Scales everywhere...forever. Second, you don't need to leave the skin on to keep the bait on the hook. Carp meat is tough and you often get better hooksets with skinless carp.


Attaching a pictorial writeup I put together on carp cutting and freezing. The pieces pictured are more for "average" size cats. Most of us who try to focus on bigger cats usually end up using larger baits. But having pre-cut bait strips kinda keeps down the mess on a trip and makes life easier.

application/pdf CARP MEAT PREP.pdf (1.82 MB)
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Re: [TubeDude] To gut or not gut your cut bait In reply to
There have been a couple times in the last few days were I have found myself chucking for no apparent reason, other than thinking about you (TD) gutting a bunch of redshinners with an exacto knife. Not that you actually engaged in such tomfoolery, but the image of ya trying is making me smile right now.

I guess I should of clarified - my Bama friend, who espoused the gut and brown sugar cure was using big shad or other large cut bait critters, for big blues. Not minnows.

I think I am going to go sharpen that pen knife of mine. The look on my brides face as i clean a 3 inch shiner will be priceless.


Yukon the cowboy-pirate, acting crew-chief of Adventures with Cookie and the Cowboy

REMEMBER: Keep the lid on the worms, always share your jerky, and wave when you see the pirate crew.
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Re: [Cowboypirate] To gut or not gut your cut bait In reply to
Sometimes ya gotta laugh...so you don't cry.


Actually, in real life I did once fillet about a 3" carp minnow...just to prove it could be done with a sharp blade and a bit of know-how. But just once. That was enough. If you wanna show off for Cookie, that is all on you. Good luck.



On the flip side, I have filleted a 300# marlin. That was a lot of work. And while working on southern California party boats...and some commercial fishing...I have filleted hundreds of fish in a day. Even more work. And my hands often looked like hamburger from sharp gill plates, spines and careless knife strokes. Don't miss it at all.

"I guess I should of clarified - my Bama friend, who espoused the gut and brown sugar cure was using big shad or other large cut bait critters, for big blues. Not minnows."


There are a lot of larger bait fish...like shad, mackerel, bonito, sardines, smelt and others...that can be doctored with assorted preservatives and flavorings to improve their attractiveness to the targeted species. But my subjective opinion is that most fish still respond better to fresh-dead natural bait...but still not as well as live bait. Howsomever, we can't use live bait in Utah so dead is all we got. Morbid.




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Re: [Tin-Can] To gut or not gut your cut bait In reply to
Quote:
I have never heard of using Borax. Isn't that the same stuff my mom used to wash clothes in a metal tub on a wood and metal wash board.

Borax was a common cure for salmon or steelhead roe in Southern Oregon when I was growing up. The likeness to soap/detergent may have been beneficial. If you take a chunk of that roe and put it in the water it will give off a whitish/milky looking cloud.

Some of the guides claimed that this smelled (to the fish) like detergent and you could excite them in a hole by "accidentally" putting some liquid dish detergent into the water up-stream of where you were going to fish.

I'm happy to say that I can't tell you if it worked or not as the practice of chumming was illegal in most Oregon waters even all those years ago.

As for how the guides knew or believed they knew that it worked...I can only speculate.

BTW, the guides I heard discussing it are all dead now, so I guess the statute of limitations is probably lone pastWink
(This post was edited by Piscophilic on Oct 18, 2019, 2:12 PM)
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Re: [Cowboypirate] To gut or not gut your cut bait In reply to
When I am fortunate enough to catch small minnows I freeze them whole, with or without salt, by vacuum sealing them or freezing them in a little water to remove the air.

If I catch larger chubs (over about 10 inches long) I filet them and typically salt them and then vacuum seal and freeze them. This provides the added bonus of using substantially less freezer space. I have found that if I salt them (I use powdered Real Salt) they are not frozen stiff even directly out of my freezer. Although they aren't stiff they are still extremely cold to the touch! I just cut off chunks as I use them.


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