For some reason, there seems to be a lot of mystery out there regarding sardine-wrapped plugs for salmon. It may be a bit intimidating to the uninitiated, but there’s really nothing to it. Here’s a quick crash course on how to do it.
You have to start with fresh bait. The bagged, mushy kind just won’t cut it. I catch my own, brine them on the boat and then vacuum seal and freeze ’em. You want a firm, bright bait with all its scales intact.
Take a sharp knife behind the sardine’s head and make a cut down to the backbone. When you hit the spine, turn the blade flat an cut a fillet from the side of the fish.
Cut the fillet into sections. How large a piece you use depends on the size of the plug. In this case, I was wrapping smaller K14 and M2 sized plugs, so the pieces need to be smaller so as to not overwhelm the lure’s action. Using a pair of scissors, make a cut down the center line down each piece so that they look like little pairs of “pants.”
At this point, you are ready to roll…simply place the baits on the belly of a plug and wrap it on with stretchy thread. However, you can also do some “aftermarket” upgrading too…Lately, I have been making my wraps the night before fishing and then sprinkling some Pautzke’s Fire Cure egg cure on them and letting them sit in a plastic tub overnight in the fridge. The cure toughens the baits, gives them extra color and, of course, you get that great sodium sulfate scent (+ krill and others) that kings love.
Now, wrapped up and cured, these plugs are ready to go!