Recharging Old Roe

Written By: Cal Kellogg, August 24, 2012
Species: River Salmon Steelhead Sturgeon

One rainy evening I was hanging out in my garage and getting my fishing gear ready for the next morning's trip. I had four containers of eggs left over from fishing earlier in the day and I decided to use them for tomorrow. The eggs were pre-cut and cured in Pautzke's natural colored Borx O' Fire.

I thought I was ready to go ... that is until the rain turned into a downpour. I knew that this kind of rain would cause the water to gain some serious color. At that point I came to the realization that my natural-colored eggs would no longer make the cut. Sure, I could have taken some brighter-colored eggs out of my bait freezer, but I didn't want to waste the ones I had already thawed.

Then an idea came to me: What if there was some way to "revamp" your already cured eggs? Some way to recolor and recharge them?

I was after something brighter; something to give the steelhead some visual candy. That night resulted in my discovery of a hot new technique for recharging eggs.


Enter Fire Brine

The nice thing about being a Team Pautzke pro-staffer (and having a bait freezer that's stuffed to overflowing with eggs) is that I have a nice supply of product and eggs that I can experiment with. I decided to take a gamble and see what kind of results I could get with Pautzke's Fire Brine.

Fire Brine an extremely versatile product. It makes a great colorant with its numerous color options, and it also works as an excellent cure. When I first started using Fire Brine, I pretty much limited myself to the Orange and Red colors. These two fundamental colors work great, however when I incorporated Borx O' Fire, it opened up an endless possibility of colors. At that moment I knew I had stumbled upon something great. Using Fire Brine and Borx O’ Fire you can create colors like flame, fluorescent red, fluorescent red chartreuse, natural orange and fluorescent orange.

As a fisherman, it's always important to prepare for the river conditions. Dealing with off-color conditions, for example?? Try a Fluorescent Red Chartreuse mixture. The Chartreuse Fire Brine has large quantities of UV, which adds that extra flare during off-color conditions. With Pautzke Fire Brine and Borx O' Fire, I can create just about any color I need. People often ask me if I ever color my eggs purple or blue. I usually chuckle and say "nope!", however these colors do work well for herring.

Not all of my curing experiments work out the way I plan, but I got really lucky with this one. Not only is it simple to do, but also it's economical if you don't have a lot of eggs, but you need to change color. Most importantly, it catches fish.


Let’s Recharge

To recharge that old roe, you’ll need some Borx O’ Fire, Fire Brine, old eggs, Ziploc bag or bucket and something to stir with and a colander.


Step 1: Choose Your Eggs

Keep in mind the natural laws of color: You cannot turn a darker shade light by adding more shade. In egg color terms, you cannot turn a red egg orange, or an orange egg natural. This recharge is only effective for creating a more vibrant, darker color from a lighter-colored egg. It does not matter whether your eggs are thawed or frozen, the recharge will still work regardless.


Step 2: Mix It Up

I prefer to use buckets or plastic storage bins because they have enough volume to fully saturate your eggs and allow them to absorb the nutrients of the coloring/cure agent. Understand that it is okay to use Ziploc bags if need be, especially if the amounts of eggs you have are too small for buckets.

A basic brine consists of 1 bottle of Fire Brine for every 1 cup of Borx O' Fire. Once you have created the mixture, make sure to stir it for around 3 minutes. You want to try and dissolve the Borx O' Fire as much as possible.


Step 3: In Come The Eggs

The next step is self-explanatory: Place your eggs in the mixture. Make sure the eggs are completely saturated, otherwise you will need to add more brine.

Optimal time for the egg recharge mixture to process is around 2 to 4 hours, however if you forget about the eggs, they can last in the brine for days and still be successful. I speak of this from personal experience because I have left the eggs unattended in brine for 5 days and still caught fish on them. For eggs with a lot of borax on them, you must let them soak longer to penetrate through the borax. The eggs shown below are not completely submerged as recommended. The purpose of this is to show the color variation between the cured eggs and the brine mixture.


Step 4: Drain The Fluid

Once you're satisfied with the length of time your eggs have spent in the brine, it's time to drain them. Simply place your eggs in a colander and let the juices drain out. The draining process typically takes anywhere from two to four hours, however they can be left overnight (and keep in mind, eggs recharged in Fire Brine will take longer to dry than other eggs).

This article was written by Nikc Petosa and posted by Cal Kellogg. Petosa is a full-time guide and owner of Petosa's Fishing. Catch him at He's also the co-host of the Pautzke-sponsored Northwest Wild Country on 102.9 FM, 950 AM Sportsradio in Seattle and Comcast Sportsnet Northwest in Portland. Check out for info.

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