How to Tie Roe Bags
Roe bags (or sacks) are a great bait to use for Salmon, Steelhead and any Trout. One of my favorite reasons for using roe bags is how they’re clean and easy to keep on your hook! If you’ve ever used procured roe you’ll know it’s a mess and difficult to keep on your hook (usually having to replace every 5-10 casts). Here are some quick instructions on how to tie your own.
What you need
Roe (individual eggs)
In the top left portion of the photo above you can see the individual roe eggs in a round glass container. The most common salmon single eggs available/used are from Chinook (King), Chum, Coho (Silver) or Steelhead. This is due to their size, so Sockeye and Pink eggs are not often used because they’re too small. The eggs in this example are Coho Salmon which are a smaller profile. Chinook (King) or Chum Salmon eggs are much larger. Knowing the difference is important as it will impact the number of eggs included in a bag/sack.
You can typically find these single cured eggs at your local fishing store for approximately $10-$15 (CAD) for a large container. These large containers will make dozens and dozens of roe bags for you! And if you keep the eggs in the refrigerator they’ll last for a approx 3 months, so you can fish them for a long time. Ensure you keep them in the fridge NOT the freezer. The 3 months is an average that I’ve seen, as some have lasted longer or shorter. I would keep an eye on the eggs, if they start to look cloudy or white, they’re no good anymore.
The little black cylinder to the right of the roe and above the spoon is the spider thread. This is the thread that you’ll use to tie/seal the bag together. Spider Thread creates a wrap around the bag, and will hold strong WITHOUT A KNOT. You simply wrap it around 8-12 times then pull the line until it breaks off.
Spider Thread is a very handy tool in your fishing tackle box. It can be used for tying jigs, holding shrimp (or other baits) to a bait hook and many other things.
Mesh (bags/sacks material)
The square mesh is directly below the eggs in photo above. The mesh bags hold the eggs and come in variety of colors: Pink, white, orange, you name it. I use pink most often, but for very clearer water conditions I recommend more natural colors like white or light orange.
These mesh bags typically come in 2 sizes in a rectangle form. The packs are often come in 25 or 50 for a few bucks. They’re cheap and worth getting a few colors and sizes.
Spoon & Scissors
Lastly, a few household items will make the process much easier. A small spoon to scoop the eggs out and place on the mesh pad. And scissors to cut the tag end of the mesh bag once it’s tied with the spider thread.
Roe Bag Instructions
Step 1 – Place a single mesh sheet onto a clean table (or cutting board).
Step 2 – With the spoon (try to avoid using your hands when handling the eggs), scoop out the desired number of eggs and place on the middle of mesh sheet.
Important Recommendation: The number of eggs used in a bag should be aligned with water conditions. For example, if you’re fishing clearer water, use fewer eggs (smaller presentation). If you’re fishing medium to dirtier water, use more eggs (larger presentation).
Step 3 – Grab the four corners of the mesh bag and bring them together over the eggs. Ensure the eggs are distributed in a nice round layout.
Step 4 – Take Spider Thread and wrap around the top of the bag, just above the eggs. In the photo above the threading should be just below my thumb. The number of wraps doesn’t really matter, but don’t do less than 6 wraps. After the wraps, pull the spider thread until it snaps off (no need for a knot).
Step 5 – Take scissors and cut off the tag end of the mesh. I would recommend leaving a little mesh above the cinched knot as this mesh can be used to attach to the bait hook. Additionally, the excess mesh and look like a portion of the natural egg sack.
There it is deadly bait in the roe bag! There are many ways to fish this, under a float, weighted on the bottom, bar fishing, and many more. I most often fish these bags under a float on the rivers.
How many roe bags do you need?
I usually bring about a dozen bags to the river with me for a full day. However, I’m often changing my bait throughout the day, so am not fishing bags all day. If you’re planning to fish roe bags for a full day, I’d recommend bringing 2 dozen.
Marinating bags in scent
Another tip is to marinate your roe bags in a fishing scent overnight in the fridge before your trip. There is no magical scent, but have found that krill, anise or salmon egg scents work best. Lastly, would recommend you only marinate some of your roe bags, so you have a variety of options.
Adding Prawn or Squid chunks to the bags
To add some variation you can also experiment by adding a small chunk of prawn or squid to the bad. It shouldn’t be massive but think of it replacing a few eggs in the sack. It offers another scent to your bait.