By: Kyle Deavers
Salmon season has begun in the Great Lakes and fish are already keying in on cured skein. Having good cured eggs is one of the main factors in catching salmon. There’s no better bait for salmon in the Great Lakes than cured eggs. Many anglers do find success casting crankbaits and spoons, however, you’re likely to catch more salmon with skein. Cured skein leaves a scent trail, doesn’t wash out (turn white) after only a few casts and allows you to enhance your skein the color the salmon are keying in to.
Tougher than curing eggs is catching a female salmon (males don’t have skein) so you have eggs to cure. After that the process is fairly simple. While I’ve fine-tuned my curing process over the last few years I’ve basically used the same products to cure skein. I use a few different cure recipes during the season. This is one of my favorites. Follow the steps below and you can have good eggs, too.
The Beginner Cure
Step 1: The Bleed
Once you catch a female you’ll want to bleed your fish at immediately. Do this by cutting both sides of the gills. Once you do put the fish in the water and keep it on a stringer. You don’t want any blood on your skein and this process will ensure that.
Step 2. The Cut
I like to cut the skein into small pieces. These pieces are cut to the size I would use on my hook. Because the pieces are cut rather than keeping the skein whole the eggs cure better.
Step 3. The Cure
Take the cut pieces of a loaf and place them into a gallon Ziploc. Then I gently sprinkle the cure on top of the eggs. You only want to sprinkle enough to cover the top of the eggs. I use Red and Pink Fire Cure and when using Fire Cure specifically less is more. You don’t need a lot because Fire Cure is a sulfite based strong cure.
Once the cure on the eggs seal the bag. Then shake the bag repeatedly for 2 to 3 minutes. This helps spread the cure throughout the skein. For it to work properly the cure needs to penetrate the entire skein.
Step 4: Add More Skeins
Add the rest of the pieces of skein in the bag and reapply a light dusting of Fire Cure on top. Don’t be alarmed when liquid forms in the bag. This is normal. This means the cure is working. Shake the bag for a few minutes again. Then place the bag in a fridge and let them sit for 3 to 5 hours. At the end of this waiting period if there is excess juice in the bag go ahead and drain it.
Step 5: Power Up
One thing I do that many Great Lakes anglers don’t is add scent to my cure. Krill is a strong bite stimulant. Therefore, I use it heavily in my cures and last year I’m positive it increased my catch rates. Keep in mind that Fire Power is pure krill powder. I add a dusting of Fire Power on my eggs and give the bag a good shake to make sure the powder gets in the eggs.
Step 6: Dry ‘Em Out
At this point you have Fire Cure skein that is going to milk well when it hits the water. On the other hand, the eggs are going to be wet and gooey. I prefer the eggs to milk and also more firm. To attain this I’ll sprinkle Natural BorX o Fire on them.
This cure is borax based and toughens up the skein so it stays on the hook better. This helps firm up the eggs. After adding the BorX O shake the bag repeatedly for 2 to 3 minutes one more time. Then place them in the fridge and let sit overnight. By the morning your eggs will be ready to fish.