I have had that conversation with myself plenty of times over the years until I recently wised up. My philosophy now is why devote the time, effort and money to go out fishing and not be 100 percent prepared? Suck it up and dole out the three bucks for some minnows already! If the minnow bite is on, you will be kicking yourself for not having some.
Carrying minnows is still a pain though. This is especially true in the early soft water season. During ice fishing season, it is not a big deal to pick up minnows. The ole HHR doesn't take much maneuvering to squeeze into a bait-shop parking spot! Getting minnows pulling a boat is a pain though. This is especially true if you have to get up early to get to a busy launch. I hate standing in line at the minnow counter watching boat after boat get in line before me.
This year I decided to try a trick a co-worker told me about to allow me to have minnows and also beat the morning crowd to the launch. I tried freezing my left over minnows for use as cut-bait the next time out. Sounds like a no brainer right? I always have minnows left over at the end of a trip. I only tip my jig with a minnow head when going for walleye so the minnow doesn't even have to be alive. Why doesn't everybody freeze minnows I thought to myself.
Unfortunately, I found out why after freezing some. The minnows I froze were a nasty mess. If you think handling alive "fresh" minnows is one of the nastier parts of fishing, you will be extremely disgusted by handling frozen minnows. I am not a wimp when handling nasty stuff and I was a little put off by the touch and smell.
The other issue I had with the frozen minnows is that they would not stay on the hook. The minnows would last for about five minutes which is extremely frustrating when vertical jigging. I hate not knowing if my minnow is on or not. Obliviously drifting along without the proper bait is not going to get you any walleye.
How to freeze minnows?
After that ringing endorsement, if you are interested in freezing minnows, the process is very simple. You simply take your left-over minnows from a trip and soak them in salt then freeze them. Keep them in the freezer until the day of the trip and you will have frozen slime to try to hook to your jig. I will definitely not be trying this trick again but please feel free to comment if you try it or have tried it in the past