The (not so) Secret Sturgeon Bait

Kinda like using crawdad tail meat on your sardine-wrapped Kwikfish is a non-secret “secret” these days, the use of salmon roe for sturgeon is also one of those “things that nobody really talks about but everyone kinda knows about.

Still, it is worth mentioning that diamondbacks do seem to really have a taste for the orange caviar in certain situations. Capt. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sportfishing in San Francisco Bay tells you what you need to know…

“Roe fishes best for sturgeon when the water’s clean and the temps are a little warmer,” he says. “So, we use it a lot in the Bay in the fall, early winter and again in the spring.”

Uncured or lightly salted and sugared seems to be best

Lopes says that he runs anything from a golf ball-sized cluster of eggs to a glob the size of a fist, depending on the day. Traditional salmon cures like Pro Cure, Pro Glo and Pautzke’s Fire Cure don’t work well for sturgeon — apparently they don’t much care for the sodium sulfites and nitrates, etc in those types of cures. Lopes says that you should instead run your eggs el natural or brine them in a light salt and sugar mixture. And since sturgeon have extremely poor vision, it’s not necessary to dye your roe.

When rigging up, Lopes will pin the bait on the hook and then wrap it to the shank with Miracle Thread. Some folks make big spawn sacks out of netting but he says the baits fish better without…

Hook size depends on local regulations and the size of the fish...

Wrap the thread on tight to keep the eggs in place.

“I’ve fished ’em all and king roe is the best…at least in my area,” says Lopes. “Since we don’t have much of a salmon season now, we have to buy our stuff from commercial guys in Washington. The only problem with that is you never know what type of salmon eggs you’re getting. And sometimes, it’s bled and other times it’s not. Having bloody eggs isn’t as big a problem when sturgeon fishing as it is with salmon and steelie fishing but I’d still prefer fresh, clean eggs.”

All baited up and time to get the goo in the water!

Put the rod on a balance board and then the waiting begins...

Fish on!

The skipper with proof positive his methods work!


  1. dennis grossi says

    hey big fan never have been out with you but i listen in on your seminars and seps anyhow were can i buy roe thats good i know iam probaly to late but maybe next year a can stock up thanks dennis grossi

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