By Andy Couch
In Alaska it’s no secret that salmon roe is a top bait, especially when fishing for early running king and coho salmon. There are times, however, when a roe-fishing angler may need to, “kick it up a notch,” in order to draw strikes in occluded waters or jazz heavily pressured salmon into one more mouthful of a particularly appealing bait.
In my experience as a 30-year Alaska salmon fishing guide, tougher than normal conditions may call for scent-saturated, wet roe. This scent-oozing bait is easier for fish to find in silty or off-colored water and may also produce additional hookups after drier roe and artificial lures have drawn their last strike.
Let’s discuss how I make scent-saturated wet roe. Below are two easy ways to fish scent-saturated wet roe that is still firm enough to stay in an egg loop for several drift presentations.
The Quick & Easy
Contents: Cured roe, Pautzke Red Nectar
Pautzke Nectar contains krill scent, roe juice, and other bite stimulants that will enhance your roe. You may use commercially purchased roe or some you have cured yourself. At the start of your trip, simply cut your cured roe into bait-sized chunks. Then combine with Nectar in a plastic bucket.
Note: Use only enough Nectar to cover the roe. Save any excess Nectar for your next trip. Viola! It’s that simple. You are now fishing a juice-oozing scent-saturated bait. Because of the wet and sticky nature of this bait I suggest wearing surgical gloves and washing gloves/hands after putting on new bait.
6 Steps to Wet Salmon Roe Nirvana
Contents: Skeins of fresh salmon roe, Fire Cure
Cut skein of roe into bait-sized chunks and layer into a plastic bucket. Note: bait chunks shrink during the curing process. It’s helpful to cut chunks a bit larger than the desired finished product.
Powder the cut roe with a layer of Fire Cure. Then add additional layers of roe and cure until finished.
Stir the layers of roe and cure until ingredients are well mixed. Then let cure work for four hours.
Drain excess cure juice off roe. Save juice in a plastic container and freeze juice unit use.
Dry roe to desired firmness (similar to the feel of a candy gummy bear). Package and freeze until ready to use.
Prior to fishing thaw and combine the roe bait and cure juice in a plastic bucket. You now have firm-cured roe that will last for several drift presentations, dripping with scent-infused juice. It’s the best of both worlds. Fish On!
Editor’s Note: Andy Couch operates Fishtale River Guides and has guided salmon fishing trips in Alaska’s Mat-Su Valley for more than 30 years. For more info on his trips please visit www.fish4salmon.com.