Many anglers across the Northwest wait all year long for the Summer months. T Shirt weather, early mornings on your favorite river and an acrobatic Summer Steelhead on the end of your line! There is one thing for certain. Summer Steelhead love Coon Shrimp! Coonstripe shrimp are a bait that have been a staple for steelhead anglers for many years, with consistent success. One thing is for sure though they can be a very fragile and messy bait! (Unless you want pink hands wear rubber gloves) To get a good bait there a few key factors you need to consider. First thing is do your best to find some good Coon Shrimp. Try and avoid shrimp that are dried out or freezer burnt also try and avoid shrimp that are discolored. When possible. Once you have chosen your bait it is time to choose your cure. This is where it starts to get a little more complicated. As in many baits you have options. You can just buy a good commercial cure. Or you can create your own. Pro-Cure offers a great option. Pro-Cure Shrimp and Prawn Cure. It is available in Fireball Red, Pink/ Magenta Red and Orange Glow. Or if you so choose to make your own there are a few ingredients that are a great idea to have. Some are a must, and some are optional.
Ingredients Optional Ingredients
- Purified Water (Avoid Chlorine) 1) Sodium Sulfite
- Fine Sea Salt 2) Monster Bite
- White Sugar 3) Krill Powder
- Bad Azz Bait Dye 4) Pure Anise
- Sodium Nitrite (Mold Inhibitor) 5) Sodium Metabisulfite
- Pint or Quart Container
Once you have your ingredients in order it is time to put everything together to get the finished product! These measurements of cure are for curing one pound of Coon Shrimp. It is always a must to premix all your ingredients in a separate container prior to adding to your coon shrimp, reason being you do not want to shake the jar with the coon shrimp in with the ingredients this will damage your baits. If it is pre-mixed, you can fill your desired storage container with the shrimp and then just simply pour your brine in the container until all the baits are submerged for the brining process. Be sure to allow 2-3 days to cure properly.
2 QTS of Purified Water
3 Cups of fine sea salt
1/8 Cup of Sodium Nitrite
1/4 Cup of White Sugar
1/2-3/4 TBS of Bad Azz Bait Dye depending on how deep of a color you would like.
1/4 Cup of Sodium Sulfite (Curing for Chinook Salmon or Steelhead)
1 table spoon of Sodium Metabisulfite (Curing for Chinook Salmon)
1/2 teaspoon of Monster Bite
1/2 teaspoon Krill Powder
2 QTS Purified Water
14 oz of Pro-Cure Shrimp & Prawn Cure (1 Jar)
Once the brining process is complete it is a must to scent your baits. When I do this, I will generally not dedicate an entire 1-pound batch with any one scent. The morning that I am going I will take a few shrimps per container with a few different scent combinations until I find what the magic combination is that day. Listed below are the scents I usually always have with me for Summer Steelhead. As well as some great combinations that have produced quite well. It is always a great idea to run the bait oil. It will soak into your baits far better and your shrimp will slowly disperse scent until your baits are ready to be replaced.
- Shrimp Prawn Bait Oil
- Garlic Plus Bait Oil (Don’t leave home without for Summer Steelhead)
- Pure Anise Oil
- Addicted Steelhead Blend
- Shrimp/Krill Bait Oil
- Krill Oil
- Squid Oil
- Anise Krill Bait Oil
Scent combinations that have proved to work extremely well together.
- Shrimp Prawn Oil and Garlic Plus Oil
- Pure Anise (doesn’t take much 2 drops) and Shrimp Krill Bait Oil
- Garlic Plus Bait Oil and Squid Bait Oil
I hope this helps you all have a productive season this summer. Good luck and Tight Lines.