The Ballyhoo fishery is one of the most unique and volatile fisheries on the planet. All of the domestic ballyhoo are harvested in the Florida Keys by way of Lampara net, which is essentially a modified purse seine. This method, restricted heavily by both permits and harvestable areas, is the only way to produce a quality-oriented product in enough volume to come anywhere near to meeting market demand.
The ballyhoo are caught by setting the net in front of the school of fish, and utilizing various proprietary techniques to force them into the purse seine pocket, at which point they are delicately dipped out of the pocket into a saltwater and ice slush inside custom made insulated fish boxes containing Sinister Ballyhoo brine. The brine contains a mix of several different powders ensuring that the fish is chilled immediately along with toughening the bait to the precise degree for packing the following day.
Once the Boxes of ballyhoo are placed on the dock by carefully winching them off the boat to minimize movement and brine spillage, the fish are loaded onto a state of the art air ride suspension reefer truck, and transported to Sinister Ballyhoo HQ in Melbourne, FL. It is here in our 29,000 aggregate square foot processing facilities that the upmost care is taken to maintain product quality throughout the sorting and packing process. Utilizing state of the art freezing practices adopted from the long lineage in the shellfish processing industry, the ballyhoo are delicately sorted, vacuum packed, and frozen at 300 degrees below 0 utilizing a combination of nitrogen tunnels and hot gas mechanical refrigeration, processing methods that are entirely unique in the industry.
Sinister Ballyhoo’s packaging ensures that frozen ballyhoo maintain a vacuum seal by offering an industry unique 6-mil heavy nylon composition vacuum pouch with a tear strip incorporated into the bag for ease of access and unrivaled shelf life.
At Sinister Ballyhoo, we pride ourselves in stating that absolutely no corners are cut when it comes to producing bait, and you will see the difference behind the boat.