By Lee Kelly
A few days ago, I accompanied a coworker on a quick business trip to Washington, D.C. We didn't cherish being on the road over six hours for a two-hour meeting; however, the trip would provide the opportunity to visit one of my favorite places the fish market! Those wonderful floating barges on Maine Avenue SE beneath the RT-395 overpass would provide me with enough fresh squid to last the year.
For about fifteen dollars, you can enjoy fresh bait that will last throughout the spring and summer, and it will out fish any frozen bait you can find. Squid is prime bait for many different fish species from flounder to big croaker and sea bass. A nice long strip attached to a bucktail will even entice a passing cobia. The weather looks like it is beginning to cooperate and I'm ready. Set yourself up with an ample supply of bait too.
4. For the last step, cut two to three strips out of each side of the squid. (See the picture below). This will give you four to six baits per squid of varying lengths, perfect for flounder at different times of the year.
Now you might be wondering how you can keep all this bait fresh for
such a long time. This is where the salt comes in. Take a large plastic
storage container and cover the bottom with a layer of the coarse kosher
salt. Lay out the strips so they cover the container bottom as illustrated,
then cover them with an even layer of salt. Continue this process until
all of your squid is covered in salt. Use a small container for the
small pieces you'll use for croaker and another for the heads and you're
set. Salting the squid draws the water out of it and toughens it up.
The best part is you do not have to freeze it. The salt helps preserve
the bait and it will keep just fine in your refrigerator.
When you notice that a layer of water has formed in the top of the container, drain it and add a small amount of additional salt. Your bait will last as long as you have it. When you return from a day of fishing, simply put the squid container back in the refrigerator until your next trip. Good luck and don't catch em' all!
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