Live Bait Advice: Catch More Fish With Livies

Keeping fish or bait alive in an onboard tank can be an exacting science but well worthwhile learning some of the basics. A live bait full of energy will attract a larger predator more readily than a live bait that is half dead. liv

Keeping Bait And Fish Healthy

Similarly tournament anglers need to present live fish to the weigh master, fish that don’t swim away can be disqualified. Live wells and bait tanks can vary from a bucket to oxygen infused containers with CO2 monitoring systems but there are a few basics that will help keep your fish healthy. The best way to keep captive fish alive is too allow them to swim. If the enclosure they are in is square they will bunch up in the corners and stop swimming; the ideal shape of a live well is oval or round to allow them to continue swimming round and round in circles. live 4 live 2

Changing The Water

Above aeration, the most important thing to do with a live well is to replace the water. I would rather a tank that continually pumps water in the bottom and overflows at the top than just aeration. The fresh water not only carries oxygen but is also the right water temperature preventing the tank water from getting too hot. Don’t allow the inflow to hit the fish, direct the input flow towards the side of the tank to create a slow circular motion current, encouraging the fish to continue swimming.

The Perfect Setup

The ideal setup is to have the input at the bottom of the tank and the overflow at the top separated as far as possible so you are continually replacing the entire contents of the tank. I only use aeration when I can not replace the water, for example if I put the boat back on the trailer to travel to a weigh in or moving the boat on the trailer to a different location. Aeration while on the water is overrated for several reasons; It is possible to over oxygenate your tank which can turn fish belly up, I also find in my local waterway, turning on the aerator foams the water which does nothing for the fish’s health.

Healthy Bait = Better Results

The right shaped tank, right placement of the inlet and outlet and good water flow will ensure the water in your tank is cool, aerated and you will have good lively bait or healthy fish to weigh in or release.

About Dave "Nugget" Downie

Dave ‘Nugget’ Downie was raised in the Snowy Mountains in southern New South Wales and grew up fishing for everything from local trout on fly in the Snowy lakes through to land based game on the south coast.


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