By Duane Inglin | 11/03/2014
During fall salmon season on the West Coast, everybody is normally using Red or Pink FireCure to cure eggs, which means the fish are always seeing red or pink eggs. These eggs are the mainstay in the Northwest. Meanwhile, oftentimes if you show them something different it could be a game changer.
I still use red and pink cure weekly in the fall. However, I like to mix cures to create an egg that most guys aren’t fishing. Sometimes that’s all it takes to have an edge. An egg that’s created by mixing cures is valuable to me when conditions aren’t normal, meaning there’s falling river conditions and minimal visibility. By mixing cures, you’re able to achieve a dark, red egg that also has more properties to help it stand out.
Fire Cure is an egg cure that’s a staple in every angler’s arsenal. Pautzke’s Red Fire Cure is what I use 85% of the time for fall salmon. That being said, there are times when I need something that’s brighter. By brighter, I mean UV, something that glows and attracts. (I bet you didn’t even know Fire Cure was UV.)
I want to create a red egg that pops even more and has an increased amount of UV. Don’t get me wrong, this multi-colored egg works well in all water conditions, but can be dynamite in dirty and high water. I start by mixing I full jar of Pink Fire Cure with a half jar Red Fire Cure.
I find it easiest to simply pour the two colors into a gallon Ziploc and tumble the bag until the two colors are mixed thoroughly. I’ve poured it back into a container here to show the vibrant color it creates.
As with any eggs you are curing, prepping is a must. Removal of blood is important. Remember salmon smell in parts-per-billion. Blood left in eggs does not cure. It spoils and adds a foul smell to your eggs.
I simply make a couple small cuts along the main vein and use the flat edge of my scissors to move the blood along the vein and wick the blood away with a paper towel. Once all the blood is out, I can butterfly the skeins and lay them flat.
Now that the eggs are prepped they are ready for the cure. One thing I do is sprinkle a light dusting of cure onto my paper towels. Then I lay the skeins down on the cure, skin side down, egg side up. Next, I sprinkle a good dusting of cure on the eggs. With sulfite based cures remember, less is more. Without moving the eggs I now have cure on both sides.
Now, without even touching the eggs, I pick up the paper towels and pour the eggs and any extra cure that’s on the paper towels into a gallon Ziploc. Next, leaving plenty of air in the bag, seal it. Leaving air in the bag allows for enough room to gently tumble the eggs around. Tumbling eggs mixes the cure and the juice that has now begun to develop from the cure.
This is where guys often make mistakes. To avoid doing so, as the eggs begin to juice, it’s imperative to mix the eggs, juice and cure. I do this by simply rolling the eggs around in the bag every 15 minutes, or so, for the first two hours. A gentle tumble allows for a continuous and even cure process.
After a couple hours open the seal on the bag (just a small area, not the entire seal). Roll the air out of the bag so that the juice completely surrounds the eggs and seal the bag tightly. (This next part is important) Leave the eggs in the bag (with the air removed) at room temperature for the first 24 hours. This is the time needed for the eggs to reabsorb the juice.
When done correctly, the eggs will reabsorb 85% of the juice. The eggs should look like this at the end of 24 hours when most juice has been reabsorbed. Now they can be refrigerated for a day and then fished or put into the freezer for storage.
After refrigeration the eggs can be taken out of the bag and the extra juice strained off, if you choose. The end result is you will have produced a vibrant red egg with a tremendous amount of UV, which again, may give you improved results in dirty and high water.
How much UV, you may ask? Here are these freshly cured Coho eggs under a black light which demonstrates the vibrant UV quality of this mixed cure. Give it a try. You’ll be pleased with the success.
Editor’s Note: Famous for “The Bait Lab” in his garage, Duane Inglin is the co-host of Seattle’s Northwest Wildcountry Radio. He fishes almost daily in the fall and formerly ran Strong Arm Guide Service.