How To Use Salt Effectively As Part of Your Fishing Bait?

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If you are an angler searching for new ideas or unique ways of getting the edge when fishing, you have probably heard about how adding salt to your fishing bait can increase your catch rates. Many anglers are not aware that salt can help when fishing.

Join me as we run through the correct method of using salt as a part of your fishing bait, the benefits, and why it is so effective so you can use salt to catch more and bigger fish than ever. 

Why Do Fish Like Salt? 

Fish generally live in lakes with low salt content, but species like carp need the correct type of salt to be healthy. Let’s explain this in further detail. 

Carp need salt for their muscles and organs to function properly, and they can’t absorb salt from the water they live in and, therefore, look for opportunities to take on salt when needed. 

Their need for it is also increased, as a carp’s salt content is usually higher than the water; therefore, the water tries to permeate and “wash the fish out.” The carp, in turn, use osmoregulation to remove the excess water and use salt naturally to do this. 

If they don’t get the salt they need, the carp will get sick and eventually die. Therefore, it becomes a very important part of their diet. 

You might have even seen carp rubbing themselves on the bottom occasionally. Most people think this is preparation for spawning, but it is a carp rubbing itself on minerals missing from its diet, which it needs to be healthy. 

In short, carp need salt, like it, and will be attracted to it when used in fishing bait. But you can’t just use any salt; you must use the right type of salt. 

What Type Of Salt Do Carp Like? 

Now, carp don’t like just any salt as they are looking for the minerals missing from their diet, which are not present in most forms of salt. 

Anyone buying sea salt or processed salt like table salt in their baits is missing a trick, as these salts contain chemicals and caking agents and are not the good salt content the carp are looking for. 

When adding salt to your bait, you must use either rock salt or Himalayan salt, which are 100% natural, unprocessed, and full of the minerals the carp want. 

How Much Salt Should You Add To Your Bait?

While adding salt to your bait is an effective way of attracting and catching more carp, if you don’t do it correctly, it can have the opposite effect, which no angler wants. 

Five grams of salt for every 1kg of particles is the best place to start. This, in effect, is about the same as what you would find in the equivalent amount from a tin of sweetcorn and also in a loaf of bread. Today’s bait bought in tackle shops for carp fishing (and other species) already contains salt.

Therefore, adding salt to baits makes them slightly more salty, giving you the edge over the standard baits you use. 

What Is The Best Time To Use Salt For Fishing? 

Carp need salt more when the water is cold; therefore, search for it more when the water temperatures are low. They also need salt before and after spawning to ensure a healthy spawn and recovery afterward. 

Therefore, the best time to use rock salt or Himalayan salt in your bait for carp is during winter and spring, plus during and after the spawning season. But, you can use it all year round as carp will always take the opportunity to increase their salt and mineral levels.

When To Use Salt In Fishing Bait?   

Before we discuss how to add salt to your baits, let’s first look at how to use salt alone as bait without mixing it into anything else. 

The first thing you need to do is take your rock salt or Himalayan salt and divide it up into different sizes. You will want some big rocks of salt about half the size of a tennis ball, some smaller crystals, and a little ground salt, too. 

You can then throw out your hooked bait and throw the large rocks of salt around the bait. Using the larger rocks slowly releases the salt into the water and becomes a consistent long-term attractor. 

You can then throw in the smaller crystals to boost the attraction more as they will dissolve faster, and finally, throw the fine salt to get a bite quickly, like in match situations or during a short session. 

You also have the option of bagging up salt into PVA bags. Once the PVA bag has dissolved in the water, the larger salt rocks will surround your bait, attracting the carp. The finer grains dispersing in the water column will add to the attractiveness. Alternatively, you can add the salt rocks into your spod when prebaiting your desired spot.

How To Make Salted Bait? 

Before starting this process, you want your Himalayan rock salt in 3 sizes: large pieces, crystals, and finely ground. 

Salt Dry Your Baits 

The first step is ensuring your baits absorb the salt properly to slowly release it when in the water, creating an attractive scent for the carp to follow. 

Before you start, dry the baits out using an air-drying method. Then, get a load of finely ground rock and create a bed to which you add your dried baits. By using the finely ground salt, it sticks to the bait more. 

Ensure the baits are not touching one another, and then add another layer of finely ground Himalayan rock salt over the top. Turn over the salt every 10 hours, and leave it to rest for a few days. This creates salt-dried baits that have sucked the salt inside them. 

Soak Them In Brine 

Secondly, make a brine solution by adding your rock salt to warm water until you get a thick syrup consistency. Once the brine is ready, add some salt-dried baits to a zip-lock bag and seal it. 

Roll the baits around the brine and leave them until they suck up all the salty brine to create a rehydrated boilie packed with salt. 

In addition to the brine, once they have dried out, you can add anise oil to them to give a salty taste and an attractive oily flavour.

You can stop here or go one step further to make the baits more attractive. 

Add Some Larger Crystals 

After your boilies have been rehydrating in the brine for a few hours, add some larger rock salt crystals to the bag and mix them around all the boilies. 

Seal the bag and leave it overnight, and you should find they have made salty gunk around the boilies by the morning. This adds a ton more salt and carp-attracting power to your baits. 

You can fish with your salted boilies as you normally would and even throw out rock salt as a part of your feed. 

Do Lakes Get Damaged By Adding Salt? 

Adding a bit of salt to a large lake will not have much effect on its salinity, but if there were hundreds of anglers throwing salt in all the time, things could be a little different. 

The carp won’t be harmed as they can live in a brackish environment, but the general ecosystem and microorganisms possibly will. Therefore, everyone must use salt responsibly as bait as it could create irreversible damage to your fishery. 

However, the risk is really small. To put some perspective on this, let’s take some simple calculations:

Seawater has a salinity of approximately 3.5%. This means that there are 35 grams of salt in every single litre! Therefore, using 5 grams of salt for every 1kg of bait is very low compared to seawater salinity.

Do Fish Benefit From Adding Salt In Lakes?

Koi carp owners and farmers have added salt to their koi ponds for years. Using salt at a rate of 3 grams per litre (half an ounce per gallon) is a common activity and has many positive effects. These include:

  • A significant reduction in parasites
  • The fish can withstand lower water quality
  • The healing of any physical damage,
  • Ulcer reduction and faster healing
  • It reduces the osmotic stress of poorer condition or damaged fish

Likewise, fish stockists who supply fish to commercial fisheries are using salt as part of the process to rear them from young. Many fisheries add salt to fish-holding tanks at 3 grams per litre when they have newly harvested carp from the stocking ponds.

Salting Out 

Thanks very much for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed it and now understand how to use salt in your bait to catch more fish than ever. It truly does work; just be sure to use the right salt and to use it responsibly. Please share the article with your carp fishing buddies and look at some of our other spice-related bait articles.

We also cover everything in depth, including utilising garlic or chilli powder as an effective part of your bait for successful fishing. 

Steve Fitzjohn