How to Sardine-Wrap a Kwikfish

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.

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  1. says

    Interesting question…not so sure that Gulp! can match the oily, salty goodness of a fresh sardine fillet. They say the stuff out-fished live bait, but I’m not so sure. I will say that Gulp Sand Worms are deadly on surf perch though!

  2. Gary Alarie says

    Why does’nt Berley make Gulp Alive baitwraps for kwikfish and flatfish? If it works as good as they say it does i would give it a try. It would save time filleting and cutting sardines, and herring and so on.

  3. adam says

    My friend who cures my eggs passed away. I still have a few pounds of eggs left. I was wondering if there is a lab I could send them to to find out what he used to cure them. They are like no other cure I have tried. Any adviced would be helpful thanks. Adam

  4. Danny says


    I was wondering why you don’t just pull the thread against the belly eye of the hook and let it dig into the meat to finish the wrap? no half hitches required. (possibly that doesn’t work with stretchythread? I use light nylon thread) maybe saves only a few seconds every time but adds that up over a lifetime…


  5. says

    Hey Oscar!

    Yes, chew can really put a bad odor on your hands, which can get onto your bait and repel salmon. After dipping, you should wear gloves when handling your plugs. I’d also take some scent — like Pro Cure sardine oil or Mike’s shrimp juice — and smear it on my gloves before touching the baits & lures.

    If your buddy still keeps catching fish, spray some insect repellent on his lures when he’s not looking!!

    Good luck!


  6. says

    we are fishing springers below john day dam with kwikfish and sardine wraps my fishing partner is catching fish and im not we are using exactly the same set up my question is i chew copenhagen should i be using rubber gloves when i handle my baits and lures he doesnt chew thanks

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