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October 26, 2001

Frozen Ballyhoo: It's in the Bag!

The pros at Baitmasters of South Florida and Bluewater Trolling Baits offer sound advice to follow when shopping for frozen ballyhoo.

Check out the packaging. "Barrier bags" made of nylon/polyethylene compounds (standard in the food-service industry) provide oxygen-impermeable protection for baits in the freezer or cooler. You can identify these bags by the 1/4-inch laminated seal around all borders.

Sorry, no ice. Air or ice inside an unopened bag of ballyhoo means the bait's been shuffled around and is more likely to have broken fins and missing scales.

Yellowbellies need not apply. Well-cared-for baits retain a clean appearance even after freezing. Look for clear eyes, blue-green backs, orange bill tips and white
bellies. Bronze coloration appears on flanks or bellies of ballyhoo that were not promptly frozen.

A dip in brine saves time. After rigging baits, dip them in salt water to let brine soak into the hook holes. This procedure also washes off any blood and guts that may have squeezed out of the baits, keeping such slop from dripping in your cooler or on covering boards.