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Thread: Keeping Bait?

  1. #1
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    Keeping Bait?

    For those of you who fish with live bate. If you do not have a bait tank, do keep the bait in the livewell of your boat or use some other means? I am mostly talking about shiners, but if anyone has a trick for keeping shad......

  2. #2
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    Re: Keeping Bait?

    Good old fashioned minnow bucket... tie it to a cleet and hang it in the water... but i might use live bait once a year to catch crappie when teh bass fishin goes to hell...

  3. #3
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    Re: Keeping Bait?

    If you are talking about small minnows as for crappie then the minnow bucket is great and for a few larger minnows it should be ok, however I have never tried that. For larger baits I have used the live well successfully.

  4. #4
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    Re: Keeping Bait?

    A bait bucket is fine for shiners, but I wouldn't plan to keep shad in them for long. A livewell will work for shad when it's colder and as long as you trade out the water often. Adding some shad saver, water softener or pickling salt will help keep them hardened and from stressing as much. If they are swimming into the corners, they probably won't last long. I've done it before but each time is a bit of a gamble.

    Also, I have seen several boats that have totally filled with water because they put shad in their livewell, left the aerator on auto and the shad swam into and clogged the drain. You can get around that by having a screen installed over the upper drain.

    One time, it was a brand new Ranger bass boat. Found out it was the first time in the water. Stuff is floating all over the place and water is filled all the way to the top. It's not a pretty sight at all.

  5. #5
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    Re: Keeping Bait?

    Quote Originally Posted by Duayne View Post
    Also, I have seen several boats that have totally filled with water because they put shad in their livewell, left the aerator on auto and the shad swam into and clogged the drain. You can get around that by having a screen installed over the upper drain.
    I messed with shad for the first time this year - put them in the livewell and they didn't last any at all. Worst part was that their scales come off VERY easily. There were so many scales in the bottom of my livewell that the drain/recirculating intake screens were completely covered and it wouldn't drain. I had to keep stirring the scales up off the screen until it finally drained out. Then took a wet vac to **** them up out of the livewell. It was a dang mess and the last time I'll put them in a livewell.

    A bucket with a portable aerator will probably be the next thing I try.

    As for minnows and other small stuff, I just use the floating minnow bucket and keep it in the lake water, or a styrofoam one with plenty of ice.

  6. #6
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    Re: Keeping Bait?

    For shiners I just use a minnow bucket, with a bubbler and a styrofoam liner to keep them dark, cool, and happy. They do okay, but I'm not keeping a lot at a time. Never used shad, but one thing I've read about using them is it's important to keep them in a round container, so they can keep moving. If the container has corners they'll get "stuck" and die. Sounds weird but it kinda makes sense.

  7. #7
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    Re: Keeping Bait?

    I'm guessing the round container with a bubbler would work for shad if you kept them cool and could find a way to filter/change the water.

  8. #8
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    Re: Keeping Bait?

    In warmer weather best way to keep shiners/minnows alive is to use a aerator and fill a couple 16 oz. Plastic coke bottles with water and freeze. Never add ice directly to the water in the bucket. Put the frozen bottles with the cap on tight into the bucket and they will last a lot longer. Put one bottle in bucket at a time. Once one bottle turns to mostly water take it out and add other bottle which i keep in my drink cooler with my other drinks. This has worked really well for me on those warm/hot days when i want to fish with minnows/shad.

  9. #9
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    Re: Keeping Bait?

    This might be a dumb question, but where do you get the original water for the bait bucket? Does it come from the water you purchased with the shiners?

  10. #10
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    Re: Keeping Bait?

    I have a 5 gallon bucket with an aeration system I use to keep them alive until i get to the lake and then i usually put them in my livewell....may have one or two die here and there but have had good success for the most part

  11. #11
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    Re: Keeping Bait?

    Using a shad saver or non iodized salt will help harden the scales but that's good to know as well!!

    You can make a smaller, portable shad keeper pretty easily and cheap. But no matter what you use, plan on 2 alewives/threadfins per gallon or one gizzard per gallon. There is no getting around that no matter how good the tank is.. Any more and they won't be worth putting on a hook unless you are doing well with cut bait.

  12. #12
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    Re: Keeping Bait?

    Quote Originally Posted by smee View Post
    For those of you who fish with live bate. If you do not have a bait tank, do keep the bait in the livewell of your boat or use some other means? I am mostly talking about shiners, but if anyone has a trick for keeping shad......
    You do need a round tank, bait will swim against flow and not kill themselves running into the corners. A constant re circulating flow is the best around 500 GPH for 20 gal., the scales will stay in a pile right in the center ( try not to get them floating through the tank, will get in bait gills and choke them ) Do have some sort of large drain cover, a cylinder type of screen, or a small plastic water bottle drilled with a lot of holes, so dead bait can not clog and overflow tank... you should have an automatic float type bilge, because we have flooded our boat !
    Keep the tank covered, out of the sunlight, and gently remove dead bait, they will kill the live ones over time.
    With all that said, if you can keep Shad (alewives) alive, you will put a lot of fish in the boat.... Good Luck

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