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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Me: Are they fresh?

Employee: Yep...we just got them in...

Me: How about the Sardines?

Employee: Yep...they're fresh too...

(owner comes out from behind the desk)

Owner: Well the Sardines are from last year, but the butters are fresh...

I looked at these butters at the bait store and they looked OK...

...but man were they snotty. They were mushy and stunk to high heaven after they were defrosted...
 

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You must have gotten the same junk bait we got last weekend. I never had butters that stunk that bad. From what I heards lots of people got crap bait from several shops in the area. Must be from the same wholesaler.

Luckily we had jigs and caught squid. Nothing would touch that crap bait.
 

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I have looked at and tossed alot of flats this year.... the best ones right now have been the gulf butterfish but they are a little hard to find and anywhere from $5-10 more a flat... the argentinian butters are hit and miss quality wise... and most of the local stuff is really small and there are LOTS of leftover flats from last year... remember all those "no go" days last season... you think the wholesalers and shops freezers weren't stocked in case they were "go" weekends?

You really need to start looking at your butters like you look at your ballys... if they are not evenly colored with clear eyes they will defrost smelling like cat food and not hide a hook well as a bait... there have been some really nasty sardines out there too....
 

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I got 3 flats from one of the well known shops in Cape May, they were awful.

I got 3 flats from Avalon Hodge Podge, fresh and bright.

Go figure.
 

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yup, saw lots of bad butters this weekend. Saved a dock neighbor from dissapointment after seeing the butters he came back with from a reputable b&t shop in CM that he just dropped over $500 on a new setup at. I went with him to 4 different B&T's before we found him a flat worthy of hook baits. The B&T's pawning off this cr^p should be ashamed of themselves, they bought the bad bait...or it's been sitting in their freezers since last year...they should eat the costs instead of selling it off to the good customers that support them just to get rid of it, that's bad business. They should atleast admit they're aren't the greatest and offer them at a discount instead of telling you these are the good ones! Check them good, It's hard to tell before they defrost sometimes, but if they aren't bright coloroed and the fins are brown they aren't fresh!
 

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Maybe try some of the small places.. less inventory and new stuff in all the time. Got mine in a small joint up here and they were nice.
 

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AJ, did that particular joint have a pretty good stock or should I call ahead first? Right now I think I am going to stop on Friday on my way home from work.
 

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Call him... he usually only stocks 6 flats.. small joint away from the ocean .. but fresh
 

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Younger said:
I got 3 flats from one of the well known shops in Cape May, they were awful.

I got 3 flats from Avalon Hodge Podge, fresh and bright.

Go figure.
Glad to hear hodge podge is selling fresh stuff again. I bought macks that were from last year that were a mess. I should have known when he told me that they would come in a bucket! Big mistake.... but I figured I was ok since I'd just spent $100 on bait, chum, and hooks.
It is a tough lesson to learn after you spend all that money on a fishing trip and have crappy bait.
 

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Don't Blame the Retailers ...

The wholesale bait houses (there are only a few left that handle butterfish) purchased pallets and pallets of bait from wherever they can acquire the product.

The retailers can only sell what's avaliable to them from their vendors.

Rising fuel prices, a devasting hurricane season in the Gulf, and diminishing profits in the bait business has not helped the Gulf Butterfish industry.

Again, please remember the two catastrophic hurricanes and the sight of draggers high aground in marshes miles from the nearest open water.

Then ask why you have Ecuadorian sardines, Argentine butters, and last year's bait in your local shop's freezer.

You now have the answer. Welcome to globalization's impact on the bait business.

Or you could whine about the bad bait, which solves a lot.
 

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Almost All The Time It's Not The Shop Or Whoilesaler But It Happens Before They Get Them Either At The Boat Or The Dock.most Are Frozen On The Boat's Or Transported Too Long To The Docks. Most Tackle Shut For A Few Mobthe And Clean There Freezers Out Cause Of The High Cost Of Them.if They Had Them They Would Have Been Gone By Now Cause They Are Turned Over Fast. We Had This Type Of Thread About A Month Ago. If A Box Is Beat Don't Buy It Even If It's The Last One.buy Mack's Or Squid Or Anything(sometimes Frz. Snapper Blues)always Open At Least 1 Box If You Buy And There Are A Couple Different Packers Open Them All. I'll Use Sterling Harbour Cause I Have Seen What George Does. In The Fall He Cleans Out His Freezers Including His Big Boxes And They Get Shut Off.he Get's A Couple Delivers A Week When In Season
 

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We are mostly trollers but since we will have better range this year with the new boat we will probably do more chunking this year. My question to the butterfish experts is: Don't the fish that are in the flats come wrapped in cloudy white plastic? How can you get a good look at the quality of the butters if they are wrapped in this stuff? I am sure the shops will not allow you to cut open the plastic to examine the fish, or will they?

And just to recap we are looking for clear eyes right? Not even the slightest bit of red in any of the fish right? Also, is it consistent color or bright color? I have seen some pretty looking butterfish a few times that had real nice shiney color to them. This is what we are looking for right?

Thanks!
 

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MAKO19 said:
We are mostly trollers but since we will have better range this year with the new boat we will probably do more chunking this year. My question to the butterfish experts is: Don't the fish that are in the flats come wrapped in cloudy white plastic? How can you get a good look at the quality of the butters if they are wrapped in this stuff? I am sure the shops will not allow you to cut open the plastic to examine the fish, or will they?

And just to recap we are looking for clear eyes right? Not even the slightest bit of red in any of the fish right? Also, is it consistent color or bright color? I have seen some pretty looking butterfish a few times that had real nice shiney color to them. This is what we are looking for right?

Thanks!
If they won't let you take a peek, go somewhere else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Our baits looked fine...

I open every box right there at the shop...kept them packed in ice in an SSI cooler and defrosted them on the ride out...

They were bad butters.

I will not make that mistake come overnight canyon season...which is just a few days away, I might add! :D:D:D
 

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We had the same problem bought in Cape May, they said they just got them in and they also looked fine, it wasn't until they thawed out that they stunk the whole boat up. We did have some fresh sardines that we used and wer able to catch live squid for our hook baits.
 

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Where Were They From? Probably A Big Shipment To A Wholesaler Like Forked River Or Lunds Or Someone Else That Had Defrosted And Refrose Or Late In The Initial Freeze.
 

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PortlyRedhead said:
The wholesale bait houses (there are only a few left that handle butterfish) purchased pallets and pallets of bait from wherever they can acquire the product.

Again, please remember the two catastrophic hurricanes and the sight of draggers high aground in marshes miles from the nearest open water.


I heard fishing has never been better Right where thos hurricans hit. There my be fewer boats but the bait is plentyfull. Thats what my cousins tell me who live there.
 

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Younger said:
If they won't let you take a peek, go somewhere else.
you got that right, there ain't a legit bait shop around that won't let you look in the box and check out the first level of baits - they don't want to lose a customer that is paying $20-$30 a box and getting 15-20 flats of them at al time

Along with their eyes, check out their tails and fins too, they shouldn't be yellow or freezer burnt. If you grab a frozen tail and twist it a little bit it shouldn't fall apart like saw dust in your hands. Just another way to make sure. Shitty packs of bally tails do the same things if they were freezer burnt or not taken care of properly.
 
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