The New Great Lakes Cut Bait Brine

It’s salmon season in the Great Lakes and we have a strong bait bite going on. After a slow early season there’s enough salmon around now that we can target them specifically with meat rigs. On the Great Lakes we typically run our cut bait rigs behind 8 and 11-inch Pro Troll Pro-Chips and 13-inch slasher style attractors.

For years we fished our meat right out of the package and it worked ok. Meanwhile, a few years ago we switched to using Fire Brine to brine and color our baits and quickly realized different colors work in varying conditions. Keep in mind, in the past the way we added color to our baits was changing the color of our bait head. That would only allow us to have a quarter of the bait to have any color. With Fire Brine the entire baits are colored. You could now use a chartreuse bait with a chartreuse bait head.


The new brining system that became available a few years ago opened up many avenues and enabled us to use more color patterns. And, we all know Great Lakes Anglers are all about color variations. All you need to do is look at any of the Great Lakes spoon companies and see the number of colors they are available in. This should explain why guys are so excited about different colors of cut bait.

For the last few years I’ve simply been using Fire Brine. However, with the introduction of Fire Dye a few months ago I’ve been able to make my colors more vibrant. With Fire Brine your bait has a hue. By mixing Fire Brine and Fire Dye the colors come out strong and throughout the entire bait. While we use Natural Fire Brine a lot, blue and chartreuse get put to work daily.


The great thing about using both products (the brine and dye) is you can run the bait an hour and not lose any color. The brine and dye properties are so strong they can withstand extended time in the water without washing out. It gives you even more confidence in your bait and puts more fish on the boat.


When it’s sunny chartreuse becomes a very important part of my spread. I only use chartreuse in bright light. The brighter chartreuse colors seems to work better in sun. If you put the chartreuse Fire Dye on them in addition to the Fire Brine you need sunglasses it’s so bright in the water. That chartreuse is scary strong and the fish love it. It’s amazing. If you put that bait in the water it leaves a color trail coming off it. You can see it 100 yards away, which leads the fish in. If I can see it from my boat the fish sure can.

The blue seems to work better when the fish are super deep. When the fish are 100 feet down or more, I’m using the blue. We use a lot of blue on days when it’s cloudy out, so I always have blue and chartreuse baits in my box, and natural, on every trip.

Learn To Mix

Step 1: Get your alewife or herring. Thaw them. You can do this with herring strips, whole baits or fillet baits.


Step 2: Add Fire Brine. You want just enough brine to cover the baits.


Step 3: Add Fire Dye. I just add one squirt. You only need to add a tablespoon. This stuff is strong. A little goes a long way.

Step 4: Let it do its job. I leave the bait in a cool place for 12-24 hours. At this point they are ready to fish.

Tip: I never take the baits out of the brine until they are ready to fish. I was fishing baits yesterday that I cut and brined in late May. Just leave them in the brine and they’ll fish great, catch fish and hold up great. This process prolongs the life of your bait.

Editor’s Note: Andy Bliss operates Chasin Tail Adventures. For more info on his Great Lakes salmon, trout and steelhead trips please visit