Cut Plug Herring

Herring Supplies

 

HERRING SUPPLIES
Brining frozen tray herring: top guides use either Pro-Cure's Brine 'n Bite Bait brine or a rock salt brine to toughen baits and set scales. Add a few drops of Bait Brite bait brightner to your brine solution to add extra shine to your baits. If you are using fresh baits they need to be toughened quickly. Use 1 cup rock salt to 1 quart clean water, with 1/2 cup of Brine 'n Bite Bait Brine added. Soak baits immediately upon purchase. Always keep brined and fresh baits ice cold. If your baits get warm they will turn to mush, and can't be kept on the hook. A little ice goes a long way.

Plug Cutting Baits

PLUG CUTTING BAITS
There are 3 variables to getting a cut plug herring to roll correctly. #1 is the angle of the cut (which is a compound angle and can be tricky for beginners), #2 is the placement of the hooks, and #3 is your troll speed or current speed. The use of a quality bait cutter gives you the exact same angle of cut for each bait, and eliminates the variable of different angles on every cut bait. With the same angle cut every time all you have to do is fine tune your hook placement for perfect rolls every time.

Removing Guts

REMOVING GUTS FROM BAIT
After plug cutting your bait lay the bait on its side with the short side of the cut facing up. Gently press down on the bait until the guts start to bulge out of the bait, and with the dull side of your knife catch the guts and carefully pull them out from the body cavity. Carefully remove as much of the guts form the body cavity without damaging your bait. (note: if you are in an extremely heavy bite, with lots of fish around you, some guides chose to leave the guts in for extra smell and scent in the water.)

Opening Vents

OPENING VENT
After removing cuts from body cavity make an incision from the anal vent up to the pectoral (belly) fins. This allows for water to pass through the body cavity, and puts less drag on your baits. This becomes extremely critical in heavy current or if you chose to troll very fast.

Hook Spacing

HOOK SPACING
When tying two hook leaders tie on trailing hook first using a basic egg loop bumper knot. Slide the top hook down your leader and measure the distance between hooks so that the trailing hook is at the notch of the tail or to the tip of the tail, with the top hook about 1/4 to 3/8" into the top of the bait's cut angle. Many anglers like to use 30 to 50 pound leaders, but top guides will tell you you'll get lot's more strikes if you keep the leader test at 25 pounds. The major reason for this is the finer diameter line allows your bait to roll more freely, and a faster tighter roll produces more strikes.

Trailing Hook Placement

TRAILING HOOK PLACEMENT
Take the trailing hook and carefully run the hook out the tall side of the bait's lateral line. When placing this hook go as deeply into the body cavity as you can before working the hook through the side of the bait, taking care not to tear up the side of the bait as you work the hook through it.

Top Hook Placement Another Angle Top Hook Placement

 

TOP HOOK PLACEMENT
This is extremely critical to get the correct roll on your bait. Looking at your cut bait straight on you'll see that the spine runs from the top of the body cavity to the top of the bait. If you were looking at a clock the spine would be in the 12 o'clock position. The spine is also the toughest part of your bait, so to keep your bait on during heavy current or faster troll speeds it is imperative that your top hook go through the spine. Start by placing your top hook into the body cavity at the 9 o'clock position (left side of the spine) and carefully working the hook through the spine so that it comes out the short side of the bait between the 12:30 and 2:30 position. When the hook point comes out the short side it should only be 1/4' to 3/8" from the edge of the cut. If this top hook is placed too deeply into the body cavity it creates a 'hinge' point, and you get a roll where the head of the bait is rolling in a 2 or 3 inch circle, and the tail is rolling in a wide 6 to 8 inch circle. With the tail flaying out in a wild circle you might catch a few Silvers in a red hot bite, but Chinook will rarely hit it. Picture your rolling bait traveling down a clear 3" pipe. Your bait should be rolling inside this pipe, with neither the head nor the tail of the bait touching the pipe. This tight roll is accomplished by not placing the top hook too deeply into the body cavity. It is not how deeply you place this top hook that holds your bait on, it is going through the bait's spine that does the trick. You can make slight adjustments to the roll by trying the top hook position between the 12:30 and 2:30 position. Again, if the tail of your bait is out there flopping around you've probably got your top hook placed too deeply into the body cavity.

Perfectly Rigged Bait

A PERFECTLY RIGGED BAIT
Note how shallow the top hook is into the baits body cavity, and that the trailing hook measures between the notch of the tail and the tip of the tail.

Injecting Baits

INJECTING BAITS
Top guides know the more good scent the better, and many inject their rigged baits with top quality Herring oil, or blends of Herring Oil, Herring Bait Sauce, with small amounts of Anise or Garlic oil added.

To inject rigged baits carefully hold bait and insert the needle to full depth on each side of the body cavity. Inject the needle into the meat parallel to the spine, and squeeze only when retracting the needle. Basically you're filling the hole the needle makes with fish oil that will slowly lead out as the bait is trolled.