By: Kyle Deavers
We’re on the verge of egg curing season in the Great Lakes. In many areas it’s already started. However, it’s amazing to me how many people still used homemade and old school egg cures that aren’t effective. During our short river salmon season having good cured eggs is the difference between success and failure. It’s simple. Cure your eggs well – and catch more salmon.
Many anglers in the Great Lakes still refuse to add color to their skein. People believe that they must be natural or the salmon don’t want them. That’s not necessarily true. I catch fish daily on pink, red and orange cure. However, if you are a firm believer in natural eggs, that’s fine, use a natural color cure and you’ll enjoy better, longer-lasting skein.
Keep in mind when your eggs turn white (as they will in one or two casts if you don’t cure them) the fish don’t want them anymore. When you use fresh or uncured eggs – like many still do – they wash out right away. Curing them keeps the color that the fish want and the one we are trying to resemble.
I use Fire Cure and BorX O Fire to cure my eggs. I use the simplest cure there is. It takes me 10 minutes to cure a batch of eggs. Even if you only use natural, the thing BorX O Fire and Fire Cure does is keeps your eggs from turning white. The cures keep your eggs fresh and from looking old and washed out. Using them properly ensures a fresh looking piece of skein on every cast.
And, here’s how easy it is to achieve perfection.
Step 1 -Bleed
As soon as catch a get a female salmon cut the gills right away. You don’t want any blood on your eggs, period.
Step 2 – Remove
After the fish bleeds out cut the stomach and remove the eggs immediately. I don’t like to get my eggs sopping wet, but will rinse them in cold water to remove to blood residue.
Step 3 – Cut
Cut skein into 50-cent pieces, roughly the size necessary to catch Great Lakes salmon. Then lay skein on paper towels or cardboard (whatever you have) and let them sit for an hour to make sure any other blood comes off the eggs.
Step 4: Sprinkle First
I use a gallon Ziploc bag and fill 20 percent of the bag with cure. This could be Fire Cure or BorX O Fire depending on what I want to do with my eggs. Normally, I cure two batches, one in each cure, and let the fish tell me what they want that day. It’s also good to have two options when fishing.
Step 5: Lay Skein
Lay a row of skein on the bottom of the bag.
Step 6: Re-Sprinkle
Sprinkle another coat of cure on the top of the skein.
Step 7: More Skein & Cure
Add remaining skein into the bag. And one more coating of cure.
Step 8: Let Sit
At this point, seal the bag and then massage the eggs for five minutes. It’s important to make sure that every bit of skein gets cure on it. Repeat this step a few times in the next 24 hours. Let the bag sit overnight. At this point you’re eggs will be cured.
Step 9: Air Dry
After a day the eggs will be cured and full of color (or the natural color if you used natural). Oftentimes, the eggs are too juicy to fish at this point. I’ll then take the eggs out and let them sit on a paper towel for an hour. This will allow the eggs to dry out more.
Step 10: Dustin Time
Many anglers will fish the eggs at this point and you can, too. However, I’ll grab a new Ziploc and sprinkle borax or Natural BorX O Fire in the bag. Then I’ll add a layer of eggs and repeat this process until all my cured eggs are back in the bag.
Adding the borax makes the eggs more durable and holds them together longer on the hook. Before adding the BorX O Fire (or plain borax) the eggs will be orange, but once you add the final cure the eggs turn a light brown or cinnamon color and that’s what these Great Lakes kings want.