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Discussion Starter #1
I was hoping to catch Rockfish when I tried an experimental bait twice in July 02', on my friend's boat around the Key Bridge. The idea seemed silly to all three of us when I suggested it, but on each occasion I caught a few more white perch and catfish than either of them did. They were using bloodworms. I was using over-nuked mussels.

I got the standard bag of mussels (I think it was$4 for 4lbs) at the Giant grocery store and nuked them for about 12-15 minutes. When you over-nuke mussels they get rubbery. It also stinks up your kitchen a bit. What I was shooting for was to get the mussels to a "rubbery hard" consistency so they would stay on the hook. You may have to nuke them a little more or less depending on the power of you micro wave. Mine is old and probably not that powerful.

I tried hooking them in the kitchen first to make sure I got the mussels as rubbery as possible without getting them rock hard or burning them. To get them on the hook you first throw the shell away. It seemed like the best way was to insert the hook through the bottom of the mussel, keeping it in the black flesh. Then run the hook on up into the top part of the mussel. This “top part” is the actual "mussel's muscle" that holds the shell closed.

They don't stay on the hook great, but generally could handle 2 or 3 good pulls from a perch or catfish. I think they lasted for 5 days, but I only used each batch on the day that I made them.

I didn't catch any Rock on them, but neither did my two friends who were using bloodworms. I have no idea if Rockfish will eat mussels but the mussels sure put out a strong sea food odor. For $4 or $5 you get a lot of "bait" compared to $7 for 12 bloodworms. Maybe over-nuking clams or oysters would be worth a try, but I think they are more expensive. If I get industrious I may try this experiment again in the next couple of weeks, but I’ll be using elwy as the primary bait.

What do you think?
 

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instead of nuking them, tie them on with elastic thread? works great with peelers and clam. holds them very well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your suggestion Billr. I've nerver heard of elastic thread. What kind of store can you buy it in?

When you said the elastic thread works great with clams, do you mean raw clams or clam snouts?

Aside from nuking the mussels to get them rubbery, it opens up all the shells without having to do it by hand. Also a raw mussel in an opened shell has very little substance or body to it, as compared to a raw clam. From looking at the mussel in its shell, it just seemed like it would never support a hook. Nuking or steaming it tends to condense the meat, thereby making it easier to put a hook into it.

Anyway this is starting to look like I'm doing a doctoral thesis on mussel bait! I'm sure most people will find this boring and "much a'do about nothing." Other folks on this sight have expressed to new fisherman the importance of experimenting. So I thought I'd relate my little 2 cent experiment.

Also Billr I really appreciate your IRI and DE reports. It has really made me think seriously of coming up there in the spring. Being from MD, do you need an out of state liscense for the DE Bay?

Thanks,
Blue Heron
 

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b.h. first, we do not have a salterwater license in de. elastic thread can be bought in yard goods stores. walmart has it. just ask the clerk. to use it you just wrap it around the bait to keep it on and at end, a few wraps, juist wrap around shank of hook a couple turns, stretch and break. it will hold. seems like when it's wet it doesn't unravel.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks again Billr. I'm definately going to get some of that elastic
thread. And it certainly helps that DE has no saltwater liscense.
 

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It's always good to try out new things like this. After all, if people hadn't been willing to experiment we'd have never found out the chicken breast catches trout.

Instead of nuking them next time, try packing them in kosher salt overnight. I find that toughens most baits really well.
 

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B.H. if you know anyone who works in a sock factory they can get a lifetim or two for practically nothing. it's the thread that holds up the top of your socks.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the encouragement sand flea. I'm going Thanksgiving shopping today. If they have kosher salt I'll definitely get some.

That was funny Billr! You just answered another lifelong question I've had - - What holds your socks up?
Maybe I'll try for a P/T job in a sock factory and I can supply the entire P&S website with elastic thread for a lifetime or two.
 

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B.H. a friend gave me a spool. it's cone shaped and has about 2-3 thousand yards on it.. i went to walmart last night and they have it in the yard goods. its 81 cents for a small roll. it'll last for awhile.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Billr, I just told another fisherman about elastic thread today and he wants some. Next week I'll get some for both of us.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Blue Heron
 

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Wow, this reads like one of my catfishing tricks. I marinate chicken liver in garlic salt. Really makes it tough and the cats love the garlic. Panty hose also work well in keeping soft baits on the hook. I cut 2" squares, put my bait in it., tie the corners together with 4# test mono, and bait my hook with the neat little package. The nylon net holds it on the hook and you won't loose any bait.

Catman.
 

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i dont think this is boring; i think its cool. dont do much catfishing down here, coz i fish salt, and thats just nasty!:) however, i give you all kudos for literally cookin up new ideas. never even occured to me the elastic thing, and i gotta hand it to ya catman, the hose thing is novel. chicken breast for trout? wonder if our trout would like some chicken.... lol. keep the ideas comin. we use the kosher salt here for the "new" dead shrimp; but y'all have got me thinkin on the other stuff........
suz
 

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Been using the hearts of soft shell clams for years, you have to start holding your pole in your hands and not relying on circle hooks to catch fish for you!!! guess I'am getting to old for this new kind of fishing.:rolleyes: :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
sand flea, I already bought the kosher salt and will try packing the mussels in it.

Catman, the marinating chicken liver idea sounds easy. As for the panty hose, I'll have to write my ex-wife in FL and ask her to send me some old ones... Nah... she'll just use it as an excuse to send her another check.

oldsalt, you're definitely right about holding onto the pole! But when I have 3 poles in the water, I can't hold onto all 3. Sometimes I get lazy and don't hold any of them. I gotta admit that's pretty dern lazy! Best might be to hold my favorite pole and try circle hooks on the other 2, hoping the fish will hook themselves in case I'm too slow.
Regarding your "getting too old", I've read a lot of your postings and their always full good comments and good advice. Thanks for getting me back to basics with this advice.

Redsgurl, thanks for not thinking this is boring. It has become clear to me that salting really works cause a lot of you guys are doing it.
 

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Haha oldsalt, that was funny!

Yes, I guess I am a commercial fisherman. When I use 3 poles as compared to 1, I get to lose 3 times as many hooks, lines and sinkers when I get snagged. And of course losing 3 times as much bait is also an important part of being a successful commercial fisherman.

When I use 3 poles, I support the local fishing commerce in terms of me buying, and the retail bait shops selling, 3 times as much of their wares. Since the definition of commercial is: "buying/selling, retailing" - I guess that makes me a commercial fisherman.

Maybe I should get a commercial fishing license next year? Or maybe I need a course in logic or fishing or both? lol

Blue Heron
 

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It's obvious that with only 3 poles he didn't learn from FLF.:D On a bad day the Warrior starts out with 6.:D

Catman.:)
 

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when it comes to salt, i use kosher, or rock salt. the rock is a lot cheaper. when we get the mullet run in sept i net it , and as soon as i can put the mullet in a brine solution of rock salt, water, and ice. after soaking a few hours the mullet is pretty well marinated, and stiff. i pat it dry, put into bags, and vacuum seal it.i then have my bait for next year. it will look fresh when i thaw it out and use it for the spting blues.
 

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Bill, you got this bait thing down. I learned a lot from your post. Keep all your procedures on paper and hold classes. Maybe, you can do a bait show for a fishing network.;)
 
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