It seems like there’s a bit of mystery surrounding sardine wraps and a lot of people tell me they’ve never tried them because they don’t know how to rig them. Don’t fear the wrap, people! Wrapping a Kwikfish (or Flatfish) is a very simple task, and with a little bit of practice you’ll be doing it like an old pro. Of course, you’ll increase the lure’s effectiveness by about 400 percent by adding a sardine fillet to the belly, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to learn.
First things first – try to obtain the freshest sardines you can. Fresh sardines have all their scales and the flesh will be a dark reddish brown color, while the older stuff will be missing scales and have yellow meat inside. The good baits have a lot more oil and blood in them – flavors that salmon love.
Besides good bait, you’ll also need a small fillet knife, a pair of scissors and some Miracle Thread or Magic Thread. Start by filleting both sides of the sardine from the gill plate to the base of the tail. Scrape any guts away from the fillets and then shape them into rectangles with the scissors.
Depending on the size of your plug and the sardine you’re working with, you should be able to get 2 to 3 wraps per fillet. As a general rule, I trim my wraps so they’re about three-eighths the length of my plug and about two-thirds the width of it. If your sardine chunk is too long or wide it will compromise the lure’s action.
After you’ve got the size right, use your scissors to make a cut lengthwise down the center of the fillet. The cut should extend through about 90 percent of the fillet’s length and it will now almost look like a mini pair of pants. Okay, now you’re ready for the wrapping part!
Lay the fillet skin-side down on the plug’s underside. Side the “crotch” of the pants against the forward side of the belly hook’s attachment eye and center everything up as best you can. Starting with the forward end of the sardine fillet, use the thread to wrap it tight to the lure. Continue wrapping the thread all the way to the end of the fillet and make sure the meat cannot move around. Finish the deal with a couple half hitches and you’re in business.
A fresh sardine wrap will give off a scent trail for 10 to 20 minutes and that’s your best window of opportunity for getting bit. After that, the scent washes out and it’s time for new bait. Time consuming, yes, but well worth the effort. If you’re feeling a little lazy and don’t feel like changing your wraps quite so often, you can cheat a little by smearing some sort or scent on the sardine. Stuff like Pautzke’s Krill paste, sardine Smelly Jelly or Pro Cure’s new sticky sauces in the sardine or predator flavors all work well at times.
So there you have it, sardine wraps really aren’t all that mysterious after all. This fall, give them a try on your salmon plugs – your catch rate will noticeably go up.