How to Keep Live Bait
The following brief instructions describe the basic methods of storage for live bait. These instructions apply only to storage and are not prescribed for the "raising" of these baits.
Minnows and other baitfish probably require the most attention for proper storage with minimal loss. The three main factors which contribute to baitfish loss are lack of oxygen, improper water temperature, and lack of cleanliness. Let's address each of these separately: (1) In most cases, standing water will not provide enough oxygen for more than just a few fish. Additional oxygen must be introduced into the water by using a good-quality, extra capacity air pump such as our WHITEWATER AERATION SYSTEM. Or for increased capacity, an agitator (such as our MINO-SAVER units), which is suspended in the tank with 1/2 of the paddle submerged. (2) Although baitfish will survive in warmer water, losses will increase dramatically as temperatures exceed 60 degrees. Warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen, encourages more bacterial growth, and "softens" fish making them more susceptible to injury. Cooler temperatures (55 degrees or less) can be maintained by: refrigeration (the best overall method), by fresh water circulation through your tank (if you have well or spring water that is cold), or by adding ice or frozen water containers to your tank (the least desirable due to chemicals present in ice and/or constant temperature fluctuation). Any method of cooling, however, is better than no cooling at all. (3) Proper cleanliness involves keeping contaminants such as oil, gasoline, pesticides, etc. away from tank; keeping waste byproducts such as ammonia and other harmful chemicals at acceptable levels by charcoal filtering, fresh-water circulation, the use of ammonia-reducing products such as NO-MMONIA II, or frequent water-changes (the least desirable). In the following paragraphs, we will briefly outline the most common methods available in order of preference.
A. Far and away, the best system incorporates an insulated tank with dividers, usually fiberglass, with cooling unit and charcoal filter. (We recommend the LIVING STREAM unit, manufactured by Frigid Units Inc. - see our catalog for details. It aerates, filters, and circulates the water within the tank and requires very little maintenance. This system holds losses to the lowest possible level. They do represent a sizable investment, however (starting at about $4,100), and if your budget and/or your sales volume will not justify its cost, it is possible to improvise by using an insulated tank, with a refrigeration unit and possibly a filter adapted for this application.
B. An alternative system for those fortunate enough to have a source of cold well or spring water is to provide a constant flow of water into and overflowing out of your tank (insulation again will help keep the temperature down). You will need supplemental aeration, and the constant flow of water will dilute any water treatment products you may be using, rendering them somewhat less effective, but still useful.
C. The least desirable method, in our opinion, requires the smallest initial investment, but requires much more attention and provides the poorest results. It involves filling your tank (again, insulated if possible) with fresh water (use BETTER BAIT or FINER-SHINER to neutralize harmful chemicals if you use city water), then chill and maintain, if possible, 55 degrees or less by adding ice or frozen water containers. This will be difficult . . . and the variation in temperatures will result in higher losses and make it necessary to change the water and clean the tank every few days or less. You will have to provide supplemental aeration with an air pump or agitator.
Regardless of which system you use, let us suggest the following:
Paint the inside of your tank (except fiberglass units) with POOL AND TANK PAINT. This rubberized base paint helps to seal the surface for easier cleaning and less disease.
Products such as BETTER BAIT, FINER SHINER, BAIT VITTLES, BAIT VITTLES BLOCK, FOAM-OFF, BAIT BUDDIES, and NO-MMONIA II are effective in minimizing loss and providing healthier baitfish for your customers. We encourage their use.
Clean your tanks regularly. Tanks with refrigeration and filters will require cleaning less often; but remember to clean the filtering charcoal regularly.
Don't guess about water temperature . . . use an accurate thermometer in your tank to constantly monitor its temperature.
If at all possible, rotate your stock. Try to provide enough compartments in your tank that will not require you to mix new incoming bait with older stock on hand.
|Water Capacity Formulas|
A. To determine the water capacity of your square or rectangular bait tank, multiply length times width times height (all in feet) times the constant 7.5. The result will be in gallons.
B. To determine the water capacity of your round bait tank, multiply the depth of the water in feet times the radius squared (radius is 1/2 the width across the top of the container) times 3.14, then multiply this number by 7.5. The result will be in gallons.
For best results, add peat moss when shipment is received. If kept for 2 to 3 weeks, transfer to fresh, slightly dampened peat moss or Buss Worm Bedding. If Buss Worm Bedding is used, follow instructions on package. Store in shallow plastic or styrofoam containers and refrigerate at 40 to 50 degrees.
Store in original container. Keep very cold - 35 to 37 degrees. Avoid frequent changes in temperature.
Dug Worms ((Drift, Garden, Leaf Worms)
These worms may be kept in the same moss in which they are packed for 2 to 3 weeks. If kept for an extended time, repack into fresh, slightly dampened peat moss. Again we suggest storage in shallow plastic or styrofoam containers. Refrigerate at 40 to 50 degrees.
Premium Red Worms
Can be kept in the same moss in which they are packed for 2 to 3 weeks. For longer storage, re-pack into fresh, dampened peat moss. Refrigerate at 40 to 50 degrees.
For best results, keep in aerated, cold fresh water. Our Leech Bag is ideal for this. If kept under refrigeration, store in a suitable container, changing water and adding ice daily.
Premium Wax Worms
Keep cool and dry. Refrigerate or just keep in a cool area at 50 to 60 degrees. No feeding is necessary.
Mealworms and Giant Mealworms
Mealworms and Giant Mealworms are shipped in paper, and can be stored this way for up to a week or so. For extended storage, shake from paper and put in shallow container in bran millings. Add a slice of apple or potato for moisture if desired. Refrigerate at 40 to 50 degrees.
We do not recommend storage in excess of four to five days if this bait is to be kept in good condition. Store in shallow trays on a layer of damp paper or cloth. Cover with same. Keep moist and refrigerate at 40 to 50 degrees. Dead soft craws can also be sold if frozen quickly, preferably in water.
Spikes (White or "Hot Pink")
(Not available in summer.) Store in container in which they are shipped. Refrigerate at once at 33 to 35 degrees. It is important to keep Spikes dry, dark and COLD for best results.
This enticing little bait is easily kept throughout the winter, packed in moistened White Pine sawdust or any sap free sawdust. Refrigerate at 40 to 50 degrees.
Open cartons immediately and dump into your cricket keepier container: cricket box, metal or plastic garbage can, or a large aquarium. Almost any type of container will do so long as the top four to six inches are finished with a very slick surface (paint, tape, etc.) to keep crickets from crawling out. Put filler flats from the carton into your container to provide crawling area. For easy catching when ready to sell, place a few cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls in container. Crickets will crawl into these and are more easily dispensed into sale container. Keep container dry and warm - 70 to 80 degrees, well ventilated in warm weather. In cooler temperatures, you may wish to put a light bulb in your container to provide warmth.
Feeding - Crickets feed best on a good, high-protein laying mash (available from us or a local feed store). Place in a paper plate or pie tin in bottom of your container - oranges, apples or raw potatoes (sliced and quartered) help to supplement their diet.
Water - Use water fountain and foam donut or "gut load" cricket drink (available from us) to provide a constant source of water. Water fountain screws on to plastic water jar.
Cleaning - Scrape up and remove all waste from bottom of container each day. You may wish to add a light layer of Pine Wood Shavings to make this easier.
Caution - Do not spray or use insecticide near your cricket container.