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RK

Keeping cut bait fresh?

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RK    29

Hiya -

You guys ok with a bass/muskie guy sneaking in here once in a while? wink

Quick question - I figure one of you guys has solved this... I fish channel cats on a small river where bait shops are few and far between. Lots of times I need to bring bait from home to use for cut bait (at least the first morning until I can leave the cats alone long enough to catch some chubs or suckers...) Keeping bait alive until I get there isn't practical in this case so I'm limited to dead bait. Anyone have any good ways to keep it from getting soft other than just putting it on ice? Freezing it work? Better off leaving it whole or cutting it up? I go through the stuff at a pretty furious pace when it starts getting soft, so be nice to figure out a way to keep it a little tougher longer...

Thanks for any tips...

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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Yes freezing it does work. Being "stuck" with dead bait isn't always bad either. The majority of the time channels will prefer cut bait over live. Cut your suckers into thirds and freeze them if you cant fish with them right away. They will stay just as fresh as when you cut them. I haven't had a problem with them getting soft after freezing.

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I've been trying to cut my bait up before I freeze them. I typically do a few different sizes and then keep smaller amounts in a few different bags in a small cooler packed to the brim with ice. I like to throw down a layer of ice in the cooler, followed by a bag or two of cut bait, more ice, more cut bait etc. This minimizes the amount of exposure the rest of my bait get to the sun, heat etc. Before I was doing this I kept my bait whole in gallon size bags and it just didn't keep very well. Another way to seperate the layers is to add cold packs between layers of ice and cutbait. I feel like this might seal off those bottom layers and keep them frozen longer. I've also tried adding salt and a little water to the bottom layer of ice in my cooler and stirring it for a few minutes. As we all know, the salt lowers the freezing temp and it seems to work as well. Good luck!

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Yes, freezing does work. The size of the bait will determine whether or not I pre-cut before freezing. For obvious reasons you don’t want to freeze a 2lb sucker whole. Well you can, but it takes forever for the thing to thaw out.

What I like to do is use 4-7” creek chubs or suckers and I will keep them alive and count out approx 6-8 of them and vacuum pack them live and then freeze. Yes it sounds a bit in-humane, but it is the best way to keep them fresh. Whenever possible I try not to refreeze as they get super soft (hence the small qty packages). I try to only take out what I will use, but would rather toss out a few then run out.

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RK    29

Hiya -

Cool - thanks guys. I hadn't thought of the vacuum sealer - thanks dtro. I'll do some cut and some whole for next time. Yeah, the gallon bag thing hasn't worked too well for me either. The river I fish is a wade wet deal, so everything has to go in a 'cat bag' over my shoulder with a cooler in the truck for extra bait so I can restock when I change areas.

The BOSS has never made a fuss about nightcrawlers or maggots in the fridge, cleaning fish and butchering deer on the counter or letting our 3 year old play with left over minnows in the bathroom sink. I wonder if she'll draw the line at using the Food Saver to seal up live creek chubs? smile

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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RK    29

What river do you fish? You could alwasy just hit one of the small creeks on your way to the river.

The river I fish is a creek, more or less - heh. It's a trib of the Miss. I can catch bait in there no problem (I catch an amazing number of chubs on 1/0 circle hooks even when I'm not trying to catch bait), but always like to have some pre-packed too - but the problem, especially when it's warm, is keeping it from getting too soft too fast.

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Well if it is the same one I am thinking of, you should drop an email, jpbrown77@yahoo.com, I always have fresh bait and lost of private land to fish, and no date for the dance.

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RK-

Sounds like these guys have already given you some good advice but here's my 2 cents for what it's worth. Like Dtro, I always will freeze my bait live. This goes for suckers, golden eye, moon eye and frogs too. There are a couple of advantages to this. For one thing a long nap in the freezer is actually quite a humane way to dispatch your bait. sleep The best thing about freezing them alive is all the blood freezes in the tissue. I actually freeze my suckers etc individually, even the 14" to 16" ones. Frozen suckers are actually easier to cut than fresh ones as long as you are using a serrated knife. grin Some of the guys I fish with tell me my bait looks more like sushi than cut bait because of the straight cuts. I don't even let them thaw before I use them. It only takes a few minutes in 70 degree water for a chunk to thaw. What's even better is that as they thaw the blood is released from the tissue and you know what that means... If you are looking for a cheap way to insulate your bait while your carry it give this a shot: After you have your bait frozen in bags wrap each one in a couple layers of newspaper. You'll be amazed how long your bait will stay frozen. Good luck!!

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