One purpose of adding lots of salt to fish is that it draws out the moisture, thereby speeding up the drying and curing processes. Usually, small fish to be salt-dried are gutted and beheaded; larger ones are filleted, leaving the collarbone intact to help hold the fish together while hanging.
After dressing, the fish are usually washed in salted water, made by adding 1 cup of salt to each gallon of water. The fish are drained, then dredged in a box of salt. Another box is lined on the bottom with salt, and the dredged fish are put down in a layer. Salt is scattered over the layer, then another layer of fish is put down, and so on. As a rule, the total amount of salt used in this process is 1 pound per 4 pounds of fish. Using too much salt will “burn,” or discolor, the fish.