Storing bait in brine or some other preservative can make it last a long time and keep it useful. Some baits, like salmon eggs, have to be preserved or they won't last. You can also find some kinds of preserved baits that fish would otherwise never see, like pork rind. Preserved baits are easy to carry and will last practically forever.
Kinds of Preserved Bait
Pickled minnows and frogs can be found in many tackle stores, covered in the preserving fluid and stored in zipper bags or bottles. They stay moist and keep well, and you can take out one bait at a time and use it without damaging the others. When preserved correctly the baits retain their natural colors, or have color added to them to attract fish.
Crayfish, leeches, crabs, worms, and many other kinds of baits can also be found pickled or preserved in some kind of fluid, too. Since the pickling process adds a smell of its own, these baits can be less effective than frozen or freeze-dried baits. If preserved in brine the saltwater baits will not have an added smell and many freshwater fish, like bass, seem to like salty bait, so it may actually help.
Pork rind — the skin and fat of a hog — is a special bait that is cut into strips or chunks and pickled in brine. It's been around for many years and, except for live bait, may be one of the best big bass baits available. Pork rind is cut into thick strips with fat attached to make eel and worm shapes and into chunks with tails for jig trailers. The thin skin is cut into strips for trailers for spinners and spoons.
You can buy salmon eggs, which are preserved in borax, making them tough enough to stay on an egg holder hook. Eggs would dry out quickly if not preserved and would be so soft they wouldn't stay on the hook. Eggs can also be dyed different colors for an added attraction for fish.
Fish tend to swallow prepared baits, making hook removal difficult. If you're planning on catching and releasing, it's best to avoid baits like salmon eggs, which fish swallow so deeply you can't remove the hook without injuring them.
How to Fish Preserved Bait
The “jig and pig” of bass fishing gets its name from a jig tipped with a pork frog, which is a chunk of pork skin and fat that is pickled in brine. Pickled pork is cut into chunks with tails on them that wave like crayfish arms when fished behind a jig. Pork chunks can be dyed different colors and have been known to catch a huge number of big bass. Although plastic chunks have replaced them in many cases, pork still works best in cold water and gives something extra that plastic can't match.
A small strip of white pork rind added to a small spinner is deadly for bream and other panfish. The little strip waves enticingly as you reel the spinner through the water. Put a long strip behind a spoon and swim it through grass beds and lily pads for pike and bass.
Drifting a salmon egg in a stream is one of the best ways to catch trout. It's a very natural bait that trout naturally feed on and it's hard to beat. And unlike natural eggs, preserved ones can be dyed different colors to show up better in different colored water and to attract fish under a wide variety of conditions. In some trout streams, eggs aren't allowed, so check regulations before using them.
Other pickled and preserved baits are just like frozen baits because they work best for bottom feeders that find their food by scent. You can hook these baits to jigs or put a small spinner ahead of them for added flash to attract fish. And they often stay on the hook well since the pickling process sometimes makes them very tough.