the Tailout July 2020 - Page 26

nounced discoloration of the head, have crushed/broken heads or tails or heads that ‘flop’ when a slight shake is given. Black heads indicate decomposition, and cause heads to become very soft and frail. Note: Do not throw a prawn away just because it is broken or has a black head. Snip off the head and save the tails. The tail section of “Bad” prawns can still make great bait. Tails There are certain applications that work very well with just a prawn tail such as drift fishing, back bouncing, bobber fishing and wrapping plugs. Prioritize the best baits for uses where whole prawns are needed, and use all the marginal or broken prawns for just the tail. Use scissors to snip off the black or damaged heads and place just the tails into a cure or brine of your choosing. If your fishing buddy has failed to chip in for gas or bait for the last few trips, take the excess heads and trimmings and place them under the back seat of his vehicle. Prawn tails also make excellent steelhead baits. When brining or curing for steelhead, recipes heavy in sugars and lacking sodium sulfites will achieve the best results. Great additive scents for steelhead baits are anise, shrimp/sand shrimp, crawdad and natural egg juices such as Pautzke’s Nectar. Storage Long term storage of brined and cured prawns varies a bit depending on ingredients used, but the most popular methods used are to place prawns in a jar or container and cover with rock salt, or place prawns in a freezable container then fill with distilled water and freeze in block form. Kratzer’s Killer Veteran guide Bob Kratzer relies on this easy method for curing prawns via cooking. This cure could also be called The Divorce, because if you attempt to do it in your house, or with your wife’s good sauce pot, bad things will happen. This method produces very bold scented, durable baits that work well for both salmon and steelhead. INGREDIENTS 1 large pot 20-30 small to medium sized prawns with head on Shake It This simple cure uses your favorite powdered egg or prawn cures. INGREDIENTS Shaker style powdered bait cure (any) Rock salt Gallon Freezer Zipper Bags (2) Additional Scents (if desired) 2 quarts distilled water 2 cups sea salt 2 cups raw sugar 2 cups Pink BorX O’ Fire DIRECTIONS Mix all ingredients and place into an old pot from a thrift store. Add prawns, and heat outside on a propane camping stove. Boil for 10 minutes, remove from heat, pour prawns into a large strainer and wash with cold water to stop the curing/ cooking process. Allow to air dry for one hour, then place into containers and cover with rock salt. DIRECTIONS Place a layer of prawns in the bottom of a flat bottom glass dish. Sprinkle your favorite bait or egg cure over the prawns so that the side facing up completely covered. Let sit for a few minutes, then flip the prawns over, and sprinkle with cure. Wearing gloves, gently stir the prawns with your hands to ensure good coverage with cure, and then pour into heavy duty freezer zipper bag. (Double bag for protection from leaks) Add scents such as anise or krill (optional). Bleed air from bag and place in fridge. Gently rotate bag every few hours over the next 24-26 hours. Remove prawns from bag and place into container, and then cover with rock salt. 24 SALMON THE TAILOUT & STEELHEAD JOURNAL 38