By: Brian Kelly
Silvers are a favorite target of mine during annual trips to Alaska. These wonderful salmon will hit just about any presentation, just not the same one day in and day out. During a trip to the greater Anchorage area, my fishing partner and I hit the silver run at its peak, but warmer than normal weather conditions put the normally aggressive silvers in a foul mood.
We were switching up between eggs and shrimp while float fishing, getting the odd lethargic take down. After baiting up with a fresh chunk of Fire Cured skein in my egg loop, I attached a small piece of shrimp that was soaked in Fire Brine. The first drift went about 10 feet and the float shot down. Once we dialed in this presentation, it didn’t take long to fulfill our daily limit.
Upon arrival at camp that evening, we got down to curing eggs and shrimp. It seemed a 50/50 mix of Pink Fire Cure and Natural BorX O-Fire was the ticket for the eggs.
The egg procedure we used is pretty simple.
Step 1: Cut the skeins in the fishable sized chunks
Step 2: Place them in a gallon sized Ziploc and coat liberally with Fire Cure. After a soak in the cure overnight, the eggs were ready to fish.
Step 3: Time to move on to the shrimp. We used standard cocktail shrimp and chopped the tail meat into half-inch chunks.
Step 4: Place shrimp in a plastic container and coat with Red Fire Brine. Allow soaking overnight. The Red Fire Brine turns the shrimp into a deep pink, almost cerise color, while Pink Fire Brine will turn the shrimp a light shade of pink; either color seems to work fine when combined with eggs.
Step 5: The last step in the process was to wrap the eggs and shrimp into netting, which in essence, was an oversized egg sac that we used back home on the Great Lakes.
These egg and shrimp sacs provide several advantages over the standard West Coast egg loop method. First, the sacs stay on the hook, even when finicky silvers are mouthing the bait. When they keep mouthing and get a taste of the flavor combo, they keep on munching till the hooks in their jaw.
Another advantage to this presentation is repeated casts and drifts without re-baiting. Silvers can ignore something that goes by their face 10 times, but it’s that 11th drift that gets them riled up. Point being is you can fish the pool or run with less downtime with a sac and can even trigger bites with a jigging motion.
The highlight of the week was a cooler morning that had the fish fired up. We arrived to our favorite hole at first light to find fresh silvers rolling from one side to the other. My first drift didn’t yield a bite, but during the retrieve a curious silver followed the scent trail. Once I saw the wake behind my sac, I hesitated float reel for a moment and the silver inhaled the sac, nearly at my feet.
Upon seeing this, we began casting across current and holding back on the float rig allowing the sac to swing across the pool, similar to presenting a spinner. This drove the silvers out of their minds. Soon we were filleting our limits on the bank and headed to breakfast with a big smile of success painted on our faces. Give this combo a try during this silver season and you’ll be doing the same.
Editor’s Note: Brian Kelly is a veteran outdoor writer based in Upstate NY. His work has been featured in numerous fishing publications for more than a decade.