Bait Tanks, Livewells, Baitwells, and Bait Pens
One thing anglers can’t get past if they want to use live bait is they have to be able to keep the little fish alive. That sounds pretty basic, but as I examine more baitwells, I’m continually bombarded by the fact that not all manufacturers devote much time or effort to getting this crucial component correct. Bait Tank, Livewell, and Baitwell are basically interchangeable terms. If you really want to get into semantics, a bait tank or baitwell constantly circulates new water into the tank and old water out (open system), while Livewells recirculate the same water (closed system). Obviously, baitwells make for better, livlier and healthier bait.
Baitwell and live bait tank definitions begin with shapes. Sometimes shrimp and a few species of minnows will survive for a while in a square or rectangular baitwell, but round is the preferred shape. Oval is a reasonable second shape, but the corners must be well radiused and not short angles. Flowing water doesn’t turn corners well and, in short corners, the water flow misses some water deep in the corners and doesn’t get exchanged and re-oxygenated. Any bait that stays in this water will suffer a loss of oxygen, weaken and eventually die. A constant flow of water is needed to provide oxygen, but if the flow is too strong, as it is in most bait tanks, the baitfish become exhausted and die. Furthermore, tanks that fill at the bottom and overflow at the top push loose scales and residue into the path of circling bait, clogging their gills and ultimately suffocating them. For this reason, we highly recommend Kodiak Marine’s Pro-Flow Bait Tanks, which are considered the best in the market.
Whether you choose a plastic or fiberglass tank, a round, "trash-can style;' or transom-mounted "diaper bag" bait tank, the two most critical installation factors are the location of the water pickup and the type of pump you select. Through-hull intakes are the best, and the optimum location is in the center of the boat about three feet forward of the transom. With I/Os, the best location is usually in the forward part of the engine bilge compartment, where access for the fitting and seacock is normally excellent. Transom pickups should be securely fastened, and positioned so that prop and hull turbulence doesn't create problems with air locks. In fact, take care not to position any pickup behind hull irregularities or lifting strakes that may cause turbulence.To determine the proper bait pump, consult a professional.
We have baitwells and live bait tanks available for sale from the industry's leading manufacturers including KeepAlive, AquaWorld, Kodiak, Shingle Creek, C&M Marine, Chem-Tainer Industries and Rob's Reel Bait. We only carry the highest quality baitwells that have earned their reputation through years of dependable and reliable performance that serious anglers demand.