For anglers, roe or salmon eggs have been a staple bait for many years. Like many things over time, advances occur by trial and error. But one thing stays the same, Salmon and Steelhead love eggs! Which brings us to some tips and hints on preparation and curing eggs.
- Bleed your fish! If or when you land a female, hen or doe, whatever you choose to call it, be sure you cut a gill to get as much of the blood out as you can this will help get the blood out of your eggs as well as help preserve the quality and taste of your catch.
- Keep the membrane intact; when you clean your catch, try not to cut too deep into the fish where you will damage the membrane of the eggs. Then gently remove them without tearing the membrane.
- Keep away from fresh water; once you remove the eggs try not to rinse them off in any water just wipe them down gently with a paper towel.
- Preparation; whenever possible try to get cure on your roe the same day as you catch your fish. The longer they sit uncured is a greater chance the eggs begin to break down and will start to stink. This can ruin your bait. Then remove as much of the blood as you can. A little bit will not hurt anything but less is more. Upon completion you will want to butterfly your skein, this will open them up and allow for your bait to take the cure much better and the roe will dry more evenly. When you butterfly the eggs, you will want to cut into the exposed end of the eggs about half way through the skein, again try not to damage the membrane. Then on larger skeins I will cut in half or 1/3 depending on size. At this point you are ready to apply cure.
Selecting cure can be tricky! You never know from day to day which cure is going to be the ticket. So that is why it is best to have a variety of cures. Be sure you label each jar, so you remember and mark any changes to the base cure you are using. Pro-Cure offers a wide variety of cures (“commercial cures”).
-Pro-Cure Egg Cure; The original and still bestselling. The Redd Hot Double Stuff was introduced in 1984 as the first commercial egg cure on the market and is still to this day one of Pro-Cure’s most versatile cures. It works well on coastal rivers as well as inland and remember a little bit goes a long way. A single jar will cure 20 pounds of roe. The Pro-Cure Egg Cure comes in 5 different colors. Red, Steelie Pink, Tillamook Blend, Natural and Flame Orange. Within this same line of cures, Pro-Cure also offers the same 5 colors with Tuna Flavor as well as a Red and Natural with UV.
-Wizard Egg Cure; Traditionally labeled as Pro-Cure’s hottest cure. The Wizard cure is loaded up with metabisulfites as well as some other goodies that Salmon seem to crave as they venture further away from salt. But don’t let that fool you- it has it’s days closer to salt. Available in Natural Glo, Double Neon Red and Hot Lava Orange; there are days this can be a fantastic option.
-Last Supper Egg Cure; was developed with the help of pro guide Terry Seamster, a long-time guide and top angler in Oregon. Available in a Coastal and Inland/Upriver formula, Last Supper will create a very heavy milking egg. Great for bobber fishing, hover fishing and back bouncing. It is a little timelier process to cure with Last Supper, but it is worth the wait. Be sure you follow steps on the bottle. Last Supper is available in 3 different colors. Natural, Glow Red and Double Red Fluorescent.
Pro-Cure Liquid Egg Cure; Is the easiest and produces the most brilliant and full eggs of any Pro-Cure Egg Cures. Just shake up and pour over your eggs until they are covered let sit for 7-10 hours then remove from cure and lay out eggs to air dry until desired consistency. One tip to produce a better Salmon Cure is add 2 oz. of Sodium Sulfite to a bottle of Liquid Egg Cure. This helps tremendously!
-Fuze Salmon and Fuze Steelhead Blend; Last but certainly not least the staff at Pro-Cure set out to develop a more species-specific series of cure. The Fuze cures are fantastic for a wide variety of fisheries. The Fuze is non staining and is a cure like no other. It is a lighter peachy pink color but can be boosted with Pro-Cure’s Bad Azz Bait Dye. The Fuze Salmon Blend is boosted with just the perfect portion of sulfites and the Steelhead Blend is a very low sulfite cure with a Krill kicker. Give them a shake they do produce.
-CUSTOMIZE YOUR OWN EGG CURE; As shown above there are a wide variety of commercial egg cures produced by Pro-Cure. As you cure with each of them, you’ll notice each has it’s own set of characteristics. For the anglers who like to produce their own cures, a wide variety of additives can be used but there are certain key ingredients that are highly recommended as shown below.
1) White granulated sugar
2) Non iodized Salt
3) Pro-Cure Borax (White or Colored) depending on preference
Other recommended additives
- Sodium Sulfite (tremendous preservative that salmon react well too)
- Sodium Metabisulfite (Use very sparingly)
- Sodium Nitrite (Great anti mold ingredient)
- Monster Bite (Pure Amino Based bite stimulants- again use sparingly)
- Bad Azz Bait Dye
Basic Sulfite Cure
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup non iodized salt
1 cup Pro-Cure Sodium Sulfite
1 teaspoon of Bad Azz Bait Dye Powder
Mix well until all ingredients are blended
Optional 1 teaspoon of Sodium Metabisulfite
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup Non iodized Salt
1 cup of white or colored Pro-Cure Borax
½ teaspoon of Monster Bite
1 teaspoon Bad Azz Bait Dye powder
Curing Process; Once your cure has been selected, use the recommended amount stated on the bottle and lightly sprinkle on both sides of the skein until all your roe has been covered and place into a plastic container. Then gently roll around until all the powder has absorbed into the eggs. At that point let them sit for the recommended amount of time generally 24 hours is a good rule of thumb, be sure every couple hours, gently roll the eggs around so they cure evenly. Once they have cured, drain any excess juice off your eggs and lay out to dry until your roe has reached your desired consistency. I prefer firm yet tacky.
Storage; Once your eggs have reached the desired consistency, Everyone has a recommended method of storage from putting in a Zip Lock to Vacuum packing or Jarring up. I recommend using a quart or pint jar. Pro-Cure sells them in plastic to avoid breaking and they clean up nice for reuse. Glass is a great option as well. Just try to get as much air out as you can. If you do decide you would like to vacuum pack them be sure you freeze the eggs first to avoid the roe collapsing.
For more info on curing eggs visit www.pro-cure.com or call 1-800-PRO-CURE and request a tech sheet on curing eggs.