How to Preserve Bait

Capt. Brian’s tips on how to preserve bait


  • Keep frozen until rigging for fishing
  • Thaw in sealed bag
  • Do not place in water unsealed, water will soften and cause ballyhoo to lose its firmness
  • When thawed, take fish out of bag and place on drainboard, moist towel, moist cardboard or moist newspaper (this will sit on top of ice)
  • Keep bait from getting wet
  • Coat with kosher salt (i prefer turning ballyhoo on back, coating stomach – all prior to rigging)
  • This preparation will help longevity when trolling



  • Break bag or box in half – keep one frozen
  • Plan ahead – predict how many you might use
  • Thaw the other half
  • Do not let silversides rest in water
  • Thaw in bag
  • Lay out on moist towel and spread kosher salt over thawed bait
  • This will keep silversides firm and will stay on hook longer


  • Split bag/box in three
  • If you have a food vacuum packer, then place in three vacuum packs
  • Thaw one pack in water
  • Lay fish on moist towel and spread kosher salt to firm bait as much as possible

Glass minnows (mojare)

  • Break box in four while frozen
  • Vacuum pack, or if you do not have one, the alternate is to place in freezer plastic bags
  • When ready to use, thaw one bag
  • Lay fish on moist towel & spread with kosher salt
  • You can chum with them much better and you can even place them on small hooks because they will be firmer

Frozen shrimp

  • Split a one pound bag in half
  • Keep frozen until ready to use
  • Open one thawed bag of shrimp and keep on ice
  • Make sure to use when ice cold

Block of chum

  • Cut block in three equal parts
  • Keep frozen
  • Take one third out and keep remaining two thirds in ice to stay frozen
  • Place one third in chumbag (this makes it easier to pick up when moving boat to different spots and will make your chum last longer)


  • Split bag into two bags
  • Keep frozen on ice
  • Use one bag, one squid at a time
  • Keep the rest on ice

Captain brian leibowitz, uscg licensed

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