Updated: Nov 14, 2020
A Snack Salmon Can’t Resist: Tuna/Egg Bites
By Duane Inglin
Whether in Alaska, The Pacific Northwest, California or the Great Lakes we all have our favorite salmon fisheries. Some of them tend to be productive each fall, while others require more effort. Still, not all Chinook systems are equal.
On some of my favorite rivers a dark red Pautzke Fire Cured egg gets it done every time. The combination of sulfites and krill certainly make the difference season after season. Meanwhile, other rivers I fish force me to turn to other methods to entice these finicky critters.
For anglers, like myself, who enjoy fishing bait under a float for fall kings I’d like to share a method I use to relieve lockjaw. The next time you’re pursuing a fall bounty you may want to dress those eggs up a bit. Rather than casting just eggs, perhaps feed a salmon snack to those non-biting kings.
Most fishermen are familiar with the ‘cocktail’. It’s simply a glob of eggs, under a float, topped with a sand-shrimp. The way I see it, if we can fish cocktails we can certainly fish other salmon snacks, namely a egg/tuna bites. On the other hand, there’s extra work involved in creating these enticing morsels. But, if it’s the difference between success and a skunk, then extra work is worth it.
Making salmon snacks requires a few ingredients, all of which are imperative. I like the combination of Pautzke Fire Cure eggs and tuna. Not just any tuna, but tuna belly chunks. If you don’t have access to fresh/raw tuna belly that’s ok. You can use Albacore tuna in a can, packed in oil. Make sure it’s in oil. Trust me, it makes a difference.
There is a tremendous amount of fat and oils in tuna belly. I use them often by cutting them into strips and wrapping them on plugs. It can be difficult, however, as tuna belly fat is not like meat so it doesn’t hold together well. The ability to hold two types of bait together is doable though. It’s simply making oversize spawn sacs, which we’ll cover here.
I start off with decent size egg clusters.
The first thing you notice is that these baits are not your normal size Steelhead spawn sacs. The standard Atlas Mike’s 3 X 3 pre-cut mesh won’t get it done. You’ll need to cut larger size mesh from a roll.
Pictured here is a standard 3 X 3 piece of Atlas Mike’s mesh and an oversized piece I cut from a mesh roll.
Something I like to do to prep my tuna chucks prior to adding them to the spawn sac is simply sprinkle on some natural Pautzke Fire Cure. This adds more sulfite to your bait and draws out some of the oils, which
keeps them moist.
Next I’ll take cured chunks of tuna and place them on each egg cluster.
Within just a few hours you can have several spawn sacs tied.
Something to consider; never create just one type of bait. Pictured here is the tuna/egg salmon bites and also some oversized spawn sacs with just eggs. Well, perhaps egg and a little shrimp oil and Puff Ball floaters.
The goal is to create different bait options. Store them separate so you have completely different offerings. Putting all the tuna/egg bites in one box would result in spawn sacs that smell like egg, tuna, shrimp, anise, & krill. I’m not saying it wouldn’t work, but I have more confidence in the ability to offer different baits on any given outing. Do it right and you’ll be happy with the results.