How my times have you taken a bag of cockles out for a session to then re-freeze most? Get them out for another trip and then repeat the process, only to find they have become the consistency of snot and fall of the hook?
Sure you could use them for burley or even chuck 'em in the bin. However with a bit of time and a bag of salt you can salt your own to further use as bait.
Why would you? They are much tougher holding on the hook more effectively, don't slime your fingers up and will last several re-freezes well. Plus you save a bit of money (cockles aren't cheap these days) and less wastage. They 'rehydrate' pretty quickly, so the fish don't seem to mind either.
1. Empty the cockles on to bunch of newspaper and leave to drain for a couple of hours (I do it on the laundry floor, depends on the temperature, flys, dogs, missus ect)
2. Pull the 'meat' out of the shells and spread them out on fresh newspaper. Leave for a couple of hrs again.
3. Pour granulated salt on fresh newspaper and roll the cockles until they are roughly coated and spread them out evenly and leave for several hours or overnight. This may take 1/2 to 1 cup or more salt. (im also trialing salted bloodworm in this pic, from last year's 'metho-ed' supply)
I use a granulated salt as opposed to a fine cooking salt or cheap pool salt.
4. Repeat 3 a couple of more times, with a couple of tablespoons of salt and leave for an hour or so.
5. By now they should be moist but firm, like a supple piece of leather. Either bag them up and freeze or dry them out further by spreading out on a tray and leaving uncovered in a frost-free freezer for a week or so and then bag up. Good luck with the latter, if the only frost-free one is in the kitchen (like mine)!
By The Fishing Guru
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