Prawn Curing 101

Fishing with Prawns has been popular for decades.  Prawns are used in a multitude of situations.  This Spring Chinook bait of choice is used backtrolling, as a prawn spinner, plunking behind a spin n glow or even underneath a bobber setup.  The most common colors of prawns used are generally shades of red ranging from Pink to Orange.  Although Prawns have been highly used for a long time, it has not been until recently that many fishermen have turned towards curing their own flavors that fit their specific needs.

This blog post will be the basic, simple way of curing up your own Prawns.  There are several ways to create your own cures, add attractants and such, but this post will stick to the basics.

To begin curing up your very own cured Prawns, you must first start by purchasing uncooked, raw fresh or freshly frozen prawns.  I personally prefer the frozen prawns as I cure them up while still frozen.  The prawns usually come in a box about eleven pounds in weight.  For most anglers, splitting a box with 2 or 3 of your fishing buddies will be enough prawns for a season.  However, if you would like several different colors and scents, an entire box might be appropriate.  The prawns will last if placed in a freezer container and properly cared for.

This first picture shows an opened box of frozen, raw prawns ready to be cured:

Now because these prawns have been simply thrown into a bag, boxed up and frozen, not all will make the cut to becoming a quality Spring Chinook bait.  As you are selecting your prawns to cure, you must perform due diligence in ensuring the bait is in good condition prior to curing.  The two deficiencies you should look for are missing eyes or, more importantly, a dark and discolored hood (see the picture below).  The dark discolored hood of the prawn implies that it is soft and rotting on the inside.  We always need to have a fresh and firm hood for two reasons:  1) A fresher scent for the fish will entice them to bite more regularly.  2)  A rotting hood will be soft and unable to keep your hook in place.



The picture to the right shows a discolored hood section of a prawn that should not be cured.

As has been mentioned before on the show and at my seminars, I prefer to use Nate’s Bait Prawn Cure simply because of its ease of use.

 Carefully select 10 good quality prawns per two tablespoons of cure.  I like to take a gallon Ziploc bag, fill it with 50 good prawns and then add 10 tablespoons of Nate’s cure.

Once you have added the cure to the bag of prawns, simply roll around the prawns and cure in the sealed bag until all of the prawns are completely covered.

At this point in time, you can add many additives that you may prefer.  Common additives are pure Anise oil from ProCure scents or bait supplements from Xtreme Northwest Bait Company.  All additives are a personal preference and I strongly encourage you to experiment.  I do urge you to be careful with your additives as some will degrade your bait over time and prevent them from lasting as long.

Feel free to experiment with using a little more/less cure with your prawns to get the proper firmness that you desire.  Some like their baits harder than others; the more cure you use, the firmer your bait will be.  Sometimes, simply using a little rock salt will have the same effect in firming up your bait without using excess cure.
Now place your Cured prawns into the refrigerator.  Roll the baits around in its own juices every hour or so as they thaw and cure to cover all surfaces of the bait.  The Prawns will be ready to fish by the next day and will only continue to cure over time.  These baits can remain in the refrigerator all season long and will remain fresh.  Once the season is over, place them into a freezer safe container or vacuum pack them.  Now its time to go fishing!  Good Luck!

Cody Herman
Outdoor GPS Host