the Tailout July 2020 - Page 24

high. Instead, look to your local seafood shop or grocery store. Asian specialty stores also routinely carry bulk prawns. Head-on Arctic prawns are the most common bait prawn, but often must be special ordered. Thankfully, most employees at these places also fish and will know just what you are looking for, but just in case, bringing a sample or picture doesn’t hurt. If a retailer stocks prawns, you can buy them by the pound, but if a special order is needed expect to be required to purchase a minimum amount, typically around 11 pounds. Get a few friends to go in with you if you don’t need that many. Prep Once you’ve acquired a batch of prawns you’ll need to prep and sort them. Wearing rubber or nitrile gloves to prevent contamination with human scent (and prevent prawn from contaminating your human scent), place the prawns in a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow them to thaw slowly in the refrigerator. Do not set them on your counter to thaw. Bacteria can spread quickly ruining baits and causing offensive scents. Thawing too quickly can also cause mushy, soft prawns. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly When buying bulk, you are going to get a range of quality from primo to garbage. Start by separating your prawns into three groups of Great, Good and Bad. Great prawns should be fully intact, have both eyes, the color should be uniform (including head) and the head should be securely connected to the body. Good prawns may have slight discoloration in the head, missing one eye, or missing a few legs. Bad may be missing both eyes, have very pro- Proven Cures and Brines The Ultimate Brine Bait guru Duane Inglin has earned a reputation for creating phenomenal brined shrimp and prawns. Like all good things in life, this brine takes time, but the end results are oh so worth it! This is the ultimate brine for both prawns and coon shrimp. INGREDIENTS 1 full bottle of Pautzke Nectar (any color) 1/4 cup BorX O Fire (match Nectar color) 1/4 cup fine white granular sugar 1/4 cup of raw sugar 1/4 cup of non iodized sea salt 1/4 cup rock salt 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Fire Power 1 to 2 teaspoons sodium sulfite Additional Scents (optional) Top off with distilled water DIRECTIONS Mix all dry ingredients, place into a one quart glass jar, add Nectar and any additional scents, then shake for a few minutes to mix. Once blended, add as many prawns as necessary to fill the majority of remaining space in the jar, and then top off with distilled water. For bold red and orange baits, use two bottles of Nectar and no distilled water. Inglin suggests only using one additional scent per jar of brine, favorites being anise, crawfish or vanilla. Do not mix multiple The Cave Man This effective cure will no doubt have you using a club to bonk a few heads and it’s so easy, even a cave man can do it! INGREDIENTS Nate’s Prawn Cure 1 quart zipper freezer bag 1 cup rock salt Pure cooking vanilla DIRECTIONS Place two dozen Arctic prawns in scents in one jar of brine. For smaller batches or to experiment with scents, shake the one quart mixture well then divide into two one pint wide mouth jars. Keeping the jar on its side in the refrigerator, remove several times a day and gently rotate to keep brine ingredients mixed. Allow prawns to brine for a minimum of two weeks before use. Prawns will stay fresh for up to a year when refrigerated in this brine. They can also be removed, placed in a container with distilled water, and frozen. a one quart freezer bag and cover with ¼ cup of Nate’s Prawn Cure. Gently rotate bag to ensure all prawns are covered in cure and then add ten drops of pure vanilla. Bleed excess air from bag, and then place inside the second zipper bag for puncture insurance. Place the mixture in the fridge, and gently roll every couple hours while the prawns soak in the cure juices. After 24 hours, add one cup of rock salt and you’re ready to fish. 22 SALMON THE TAILOUT & STEELHEAD JOURNAL 38