Preserving shrimp bait in salt is a time-honoured practice that is still used by modern fishermen. The main benefit back in the day was that it kept your bait from spoiling, especially in tropical environments. In modern times it helps fishermen save costs and allows them to buy their bait in bulk at much lower prices. Considering all the advantages of salt-preserving your shrimp bait, you may find yourself wondering how exactly you can do it at home. Fortunately, it's not a very difficult process.
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Things you need
- Bulk raw shrimp
- Bulk non-iodised salt
- Plastic or glass storage container
Start by separating the heads and shells from the raw shrimp. These can be disposed of as they have no use in this process.
In a wide plastic or glass storage container, add a layer of non-iodised salt to a depth half the thickness of the bait you are preserving. For instance if your bait is 1/2-inch thick, then use a 1/4-inch layer of salt.
Add another layer of salt on top of the layer of raw shrimp. Repeat with layers of salt and shrimp until all your shrimp is covered in salt. This should resemble the process of making lasagne or eggplant Parmesan, only with salt and shrimp bait. The container should be left out to sit and dry for a day or more, or until the shrimp bait is completely cured and no longer raw. You can cover the drying shrimp with a thin cloth or breathable covering if you choose.
Once it has completely dried, remove your salt-preserved shrimp bait from the container and dump the excess used salt.
Store your preserved shrimp bait in airtight plastic baggies until you choose to use them. Keep in mind that once you use the bait and it enters the water, it will quickly rehydrate.
Tips and warnings
- Buy your shrimp in bulk through fish suppliers as opposed to grocery stores. It's always cheaper purchased straight from a supplier.
- If you choose to cover your drying shrimp bait, don't seal out air completely. The exposure to air is necessary to the drying process.
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