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hey guys. how do you tell how fresh you bait is? when using bunker it seems sometimes i get some real mushy stuff mixed in. is this a sign of old bait? what should i look for when picking bunker? thanks

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Look at the eyes, if they are red its old. Then look at the gills. These aren't fool proof but usually a good sign.

Make sure you keep your bait OUT of the water in your cooler. Nothing will make bunker softer than sitting it in water. I keep the drain open on my bait cooler so all the melted ice water runs out. Some people put a raised grate in the bottom of the cooler.

If you are going to have an extended stay on the beach some dry ice will help keep everything cool in the coolers longer. Just be careful handling it. The good thing about dry ice is that when it "melts" it turns to a gas and not water.

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Bunker should be firm when fresh; however, when the boats come in with fresh bunker and its very warm, they tend to be soft. Not sure if the people netting the bunker just throw them in the boat and do not ice them down...I have had soft bunker that was very bloody and red...just soft. Another good indicator are the eyes...fresh clear eyes usually means fresh fish. If bunker is properly iced and salted, it should be useable for 5-7 days...but same day is always best but with each passing day, gets a tad softer.

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Clear eyes and i usually slightly push on the the bunker to see if its firm. Also you can put bait in a salt water brine to keep it very cold plus it kinda freezes it but when it thaws its not mushy. just what i think

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I look for firm (not frozen) bunker with slime. If I can't pick it up easily, it's good stuff!

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salt cures a lot of problems

Ice, Salt, Bait...repeat stacked in your cooler. You can make soft bunker fishable again...keep in mind its still not fresh though. Caught drum on 6 day old bunker when properly salted.

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