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Cutting Cutbait

1181 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  SharkHunter
Hope this isn't a stupid question......

How do you cut a fish (bunker/herring/etc.) for cutbait fishing?

I am curious since I have heard several different ways - I am wondering if it makes a difference.

I typically scale the fish and filet off a side. I then cut the meat into triangle pieces without boning. A fishing buddy of mine removes the rib bones. Another person I know simply cuts the bait like you would steak a salmon..leaving all the bones intact.

Anyone have any comments?
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Two ways depending on what you want to fish for.

Fillet method - I use this when I need strips of cut bait for trout or flounder.

Steak method - I usually scale the bait and cut it into steaks using a large steak knife. Take the piece of cut steak fish and remove the stomach "flaps" along the sides as they are not needed and cut down on your casting distance. Put the hook though the cut steak making sure the hook point is exposed.

Make sure you have two knives for fishing - a sharp filet knife and a serrated steak knife that can cut through skin and bones with ease. Dull knives can ruin your bait.

While at the beach, and especially during the hot months of the Summer, make sure to keep your bait in ziplock bags and place them directly on ice in your bait cooler. The bait cooler is used only for bait - no food unless you want to get bacteria :eek: on the food you will eat later on.

Keeping fish on ice will keep your fish firm during the warm months and prevent it from getting mushy.
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I only use the filet method. I don't scale them just take the filets off and cut into triangular strips 2-3" long with the long point of the triangle dangling off the hook.

BTW, no question is a stupid question. We all asked the question at one time or another :)
Thanks for the information.

Sandcrab - one more question - do you hook the steak piece above or below the backbone? If you hook above, it may not hold as well during a cast, if you hook below, the bone may interfere with the hookset (especially with circles?).
I hook it below the backbone. You have to have the hook exposed or else you do not get a good hookset. With circles, set the drag and let them run with it and they'll end up hooking themselves.

What do you mean set the drag?


When fishing in the surf with circle hooks, you cast out, make sure your drag has been set (I set mine on the light side as I don't want to lose a rod to a fish in the surf), and wait for the fish to take the bait. You do not have to set the hook after you pick up the rod as circle hooks set themselves in the fish's mouth. :)
Thanks Sandcrab...

I got this off some site... pretty cool
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when you cast with a spinner (using heavy sinkers), usually you tighten your drag all the way. So, after casting, you have to adjust or set your drag the way you want it (not too tight or you're line will snap when billy bob the rock starts running with it).
...billy bob the rock?
yep. I'm gonna be rich one day when I get my children's books published. It a series of children's books specific to the MD area. Billy Bob the Rock, Weeping Willy the Weakfish, Betty Bop Blue the crab, etc.
Husky, I noticed you said that you always tighten the drag before you cast on a spinner rod. I have always set the drag before I cast. Do you get better casts if you tighten the drag before casting?
Flounder...I set the drag tight before I cast with spinners and then loosen it up as I set the rod in the spike. I had it set loose sometimes and you either loose distance or get a nasty cut in your finger from line burn....or if you're really unlucky, (like me), you get both!

Sorry to steal your thunder Husky.
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