By: Duane Inglin
The availability of Chinook and coho eggs can be plentiful in the fall and curing them is an easy process. Using a gallon Ziploc and BorX O Fire or Fire Cure there are numerous cures that many of us have written about for years. This is my favorite method when I’m only curing a few skeins at a time. Meanwhile, when I have lots of eggs to cure I choose to wet brine them.
By lots of eggs I’m referring to 10, 15, 20 pounds or more. With this many eggs the single Ziploc is too time consuming. Wet brines save time and still gives me a durable egg that fishes well and takes a lot of the needed hands-on work with the single bag method out of the equation.
When Chinook or coho eggs mature like they do this time of year the skin around the skein begins to break down. A cure with a little less sulfite tends to allow the eggs to toughen up a bit during the curing process. This creates more durable bait that lasts more than a couple casts. Typically for fall salmon eggs I’ll use BorX O Fire. Below I’ll cover exactly what I do.
*1 full container of BorX O Fire (red is preferred)
*½ cup refined sugar
*1 heaping tablespoon of Fire Power
*1 tablespoon of sodium sulfite
Mix all contents in a container thoroughly. Then pour it back into the original container for storage. You’ll have a little left over, but will use it as soon as you cure some eggs.
The first step (as with anytime you cure eggs) is to remove the blood from the skeins. Do this by simply placing a small cut in the main vein at one end of the skein. Use the flat edge of scissors to move the blood along the vein, pushing it out the end where it can be absorbed with a paper towel.
Next cut the length of the skein into halves or thirds. For tighter skeins I butterfly the sections to open up the skein more.
Once the skeins are blood free and cut into preferable size, you are ready to cure.
Start by sprinkling a light dusting of the pre-mixed BorX O Fire combination on the bottom of the container (or a bucket). Then place the first row of skeins in the container: skin side down and egg side up. Then sprinkle a coating of cure onto the eggs. I also sprinkle Fire Power on top of the cure. Salmon like krill, so I give them plenty.
Because I am curing eggs to use for fall and spring salmon fishing I add more to the mix. For this batch, it’s canned tuna packed in light oil. Open the can and sprinkle the oil and tuna meat on the eggs evenly. You can also substitute minced sardine, mackerel or crushed sand or ghost shrimp or nothing at all. Either way is fine depending on what you want your eggs to smell like.