By Joel Shangle | 11/10/2010
A bait-wrapped plug is one of the best Chinook baits on the West Coast, and Pautzke Pro Team member Troy Whitaker proved it when his sardine-wrapped Kwikfish accounted for the winning fish at the 15th Annual Middle Rogue Derby.

Whitaker is one of several Pautzke Pros who have discovered the effectiveness of Fire Cure in prepping fillets for salmon plugs. He uses sardines here, but this curing process works on virtually any bait wrap you’d care to use on your favorite salmon plug.

Here’s how he does it:

1. Fillet sardines into approximately 2- to 3-inch pieces. Each fillet should be split down the middle roughly 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up to resemble a pair of pants, so it can be placed around the eye of the front hook of the plug


2. Shake pink or natural Pautzke Fire Cure over fillets, making sure that the flesh side of each individual fillet is covered with a light sprinkle of the cure


3. Place fillets in a plastic container with a lid and refrigerate overnight to allow the cure to set


4. Wrap fillet on Kwikfish using stretchy thread or rubber bands.


5. Tune plug as needed.


Remember to adapt to your water conditions. This technique is particularly effective in dirty water, such as we’ve had this year with the removals of two dams on the Rogue River

Curing fillets in this manner toughens them up, making them easier to wrap. These bait wraps last longer, and leave a great scent trail.