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Preserving Baits

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What is everyone's go to for preserving bait fish?


I bought some smelts from a retailer last year that were so well done that they were usable after sitting in the boat for 3 months. 

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20 Mule Team Borax.

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I'm not an expert on this by any means but when we catch some large smelt thru the ice I save a few for cutbait rigs.  I've tried quite a few different ways and most seemed to work.  I use 20 mule team borax and salt.  I've cut the smelt how I want them and then covered them with borax, waited 15 minutes then flipped the bait over and covered the other side.  I would then repeat the same procedure for salt then I take the smelt and shake off the excess and bag them and freeze them.  I've also done a mix of borax and salt in a ziplock and thrown in the prepared smelt and let them sit in there from anywhere from an hour to a couple days.  The ones that got left for a couple days turned pretty hard but still usable.  You can check them periodically to get the texture you want.  I also tried some of Pautzke fire brine and liked it.  Really simple, submerged the smelt in the brine in a ziplock and left them overnight.  Gave them good color and firmed them up.  Hopefully some of this is of some help to you.

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