Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Mac Byrum's Catfish University' started by Mac-b, Jan 2, 2018.
Hey Mac, good idea since this is a good video to post this time of year. Between now and early June is when most gather their supply of skippies for the year.
I learned a lot from Steve Douglas about how to both catch and prepare the skips for the freezer. Here are two things I would add to the information that I think works better for me.
One is that using vacuum bags for food/bait storage gets expensive. And is very time consuming. I tried that but after giving it a try decided to prepare my skip a little differently. Freezer bags work but will have some air in them and the group of skip are stuck together. I rinse the skip off with cold water then lay them on a single sheet of plastic wrap. I fold the plastic wrap around a single skip as tightly as possible to get rid of air pockets. By laying out 8 or 10 sheets at a time, it goes fairly quickly. To me this is much less expensive, much easier to do and preforms the same objective of keeping air away from the skip. I lay each batch like cord wood in my chest freezer. Because of the individual wrapping, I can take out the exact number I think I will need for each trip.
A second thought is that it is best to use an actual freezer rather than just using the freezer section of a refrigerator. Refrigerator freezers generally cool the temperature to mid to upper 20s. A regular freezer takes the temperature to close to 0 degrees which is much better. Just stacking a large pile of fish all in one pile will make it take a long time to get the stack to freeze. It is better to make a single layer at first, than cut a piece of cardboard to lay on top before adding the second layer of skip. Leave some room on each side of the stack to let the cold air settle completely around the individually wrapped skip. Once the skip have frozen, you can remove the cardboard if you want to.
When I am ready to head to the river, I grab the exact number of skip I think I will use and toss them in my bait cooler. I bring the skip out of the cooler one at a time and they unwrap easily. I cut them and get the bait on a hook and in the water. They thaw quickly. I use the plastic wrap to help from getting my hands all slimed. I rinse the left over plastic wrap off in the river water and put it back in the cooler. Trashing any place with plastic is never a good idea.
Finally, at the end of the trip, any left over skip that have thawed, I give to anyone I find that wants it. I never try to re-freeze it. It is usually easy to give it away. If I don't see anyone, I just drop the extra skip in the water to help a catfish or two get to trophy size. It was their food source in the beginning anyway.
I was going to add my 2 cents but it looks more like 20 cent worth.
In my personal opinion it's best to vacuum pack the skips if you are catching them early in the year and planning on using them months later. I buy my vacuum bags by the 50 foot roll on eBay for $8.50 (no tax, free shipping). This is cheap insurance if you ask me.
All the skips that I buy are chamber sealed... this is even better than vacuum packing them but the machines are way out of my price range.
Always puncture the bag before thawing or the blood will be pulled out of the fish.
Last year was the first year I caught and stored Skips, 99% of the how to information I got was from twaskom both on catching and storing them. For me the cling wrap worked really well, it went fast as there were two of us, one tearing off pieces of wrap the other wrapping. I did vary a little from Tom and while I found it was not necessary afterwards I wrapped the cling wrapped Skips in aluminum foil so they were double wrapped. I was afraid they would become frozen together with just the shrink but the few I didn't foil wrap did not, I will use the foil again this year, the wife thinks it looks nicer in the freezer. I don't know how it took me so long to start using Skips, they are a ton of fun to catch and seem to be a very good bait for Ohio River Blues.
Jbuck, I prefer just the plastic wrap so I can tell the wife when she opens the freezer, that they are all watching her.
25 inch industrial saran wrap 1200 ft.......I used to vaccum seal then started using industrial food wrap........I am not stingy while wrapping them either i go around a few times.......I quit vaccum sealing those 21-25 inch jacks....they eat up a roll quickly and mine are used within 6-9 months with fresh ones coming in between ...... I havent had any go bad in years....
That is the same thing I found when I started using the vacuum bags Sam. The skips I had the first year were 16 to 18 inches long and I could only get two in a 20 inch or more length of bag. To me, just not worth it. If you have ever applied window tinting to glass you will find that it is almost drawn against the glass with few if any bubbles left. That is what the plastic wrap does when it touches the skip. he only difference in the end result that I can see is the vacuum may pull the air out of the bladder internal in the fish which can not be a big advantage.
I see absolutely nothing wrong with using just the plastic wrap. But then again, I see nothing wrong with vacuum sealing behind some extra expense and time it takes. Some folks just toss a number of skip into a freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as they can. That may work also but I have not tried it.
As far as what the expect when you slide the raw skip out on the cutting board, the ones I have had frozen now for 11 months look just as fresh, firm and with as much color as they did when they went in the freezer. Best evidence would be the 51 and 59 pound Blue caught with the frozen skip in October of this year with 9 month frozen skip.
There are a lot of good ideas posted here and hopefully it will help others prepare their bait so it will not be wasted. Steve Douglas does a great job in his videos of showing how he used salt brine and gets the skip as cold as possible as quickly as he can to preserve a good bait.
Bottom line is to get the skip cold fast and keep it cold until it gets frozen, and to keep air away from the bait as much as is feasible.