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Old 10-04-2006, 03:45 PM   #1
Han Solo
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Default bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

Bait tank 101

You will need the following supplies. You can substitute and I would if given a choice between buying something and using what I already had or could get cheap. Be careful that the bilge pump fits in the pipe cap if you substitute that. This tank has worked well with 200 anchovies for the whole day. That is if you have a washdown pump constantly filling it and overflowing. Use the hose divider to control the hose that feeds the tank with one outlet and the washdown hose on the other. When you need the washdown hose shut off the hose to the tank so you can get some pressure. Remove the baits as they die, they make good chum. Scales plug the recirc pump and you will have to remove them if the flow slows down. The recirc pump will get the water moving in a circle to keep the baits from crashing into the sides of the tank.

Supplies
55 gallon white plastic barrel. Other colors are OK but White minimizes solar heating.
Bilge pump hose, 1-1/8" by 50", the black stuff is cheapest.
4" plastic pipe cap, PVC.
10 ft stick of 4" drain field pipe, PVC.
8-32 by 1/2" stainless screws and nylock nuts, 4 each.
Speaker wire, 14 or 16 ga, length to fit situation.
Scotty power plug, Male. You will also need the outlet installed on the boat.
Bilge pump, Rule, 1100 GPH, compact simple round type without electronics.
Aquarium net approx 8" square.
1/4" shrink tube.
Solder
Liquid Vinyl Tape.
Soft foam sheet, used for non skid or silverware drawer liner. 18" by 18"
Garden hose, 10 ft.
Garden hose divider, with individual shutoffs.
Aluminum pop Rivets, 12, 3/16" by 3/4" with backing washers.

Tools
Pop rivet gun
Solder iron
Drill
1-1/4 hole saw
5/16" drill bit
3/16" drill bit
wire strippers
propane torch or heat shrink gun
Jig saw
Skill saw
Tape measure
Black felt marker
Flat coarse file
Round coarse file

Boat stuff you need
Washdown pump with strainer and hose bib.
Scotty Downrigger power outlet for at least 5 amp service at 12 volts.

Ok so lets start with the barrel. I'll try to explain why I did things the way I did as I go. This may not be the best way and I'm sure you can improve but I did what any experienced DIY person would do. In general I try to make things simple and conserve difficulty.

Figure out what your tank will weigh when full. I calculated that I could tolerate 200 pounds on deck. So I limited the tank to 25 gallons since water weighs 8 pounds per gallon. The barrel I used had the gallons clearly marked with a scale on the side and the tank height worked out to 20 inches and the water level worked out to 14 inches. You can make the tank bigger but consider the weight VS the stability of your boat.



I cut the barrel 21 inches from the bottom using a chainsaw. An extra inch for oops. The chainsaw was just for convenience mainly but I must admit to a certain satisfaction in the roar and bluesmoke of the chainsaw. This makes a huge freakin mess so lay out a tarp or use the wheel barrow to catch the chips.



After cutting the barrel in two, use the skillsaw to remove the rim from the top half. I set the depth on the cut to 1/2" so I would not destroy the barrel if I miscut. Use a coarse flat file to remove the shreds from the edge of the cut. Cut through the waste ring in one place so you can use it as a template for marking the barrel.



Use the felt pen and draw a cutout on the top. You will want a 3" or 4" edge and also to save the barrel bung holes as they strengthen the top and line up the pump housing once you rivet it together. I recommend keeping the plugs. Use one to block the unused bung and slot the other one for the wires going to the pump. Screw them into the holes when you complete the tank. This will keep bait from falling into the pump housing and dying and also from jumping out of the tank. Make your cutout with the jig saw. You can start it by drilling a 5/16" hole at each sharp corner to make the sawing easier. Then clean up the shreds with the files.



Mount the bilge pump to the 4" pipe cap using four 8-32 screw and nuts. Note the offset location. I found the location by placing the entire pump in the cap with the hose on it. You will need to remove the pump from the base for cleaning. Position the pump so that you can do all these things. Cut a notch as shown for the hose to clear the cap when the pump and housing are assembled. Also drill two 5/16" holes in the cap as shown so that you can completely drain the tank when you need to.



Another view of the notch in the cap and the pump and hose.



Cut the drain field pipe to 14-1/2" in length. Snap the pipe cap on minus the pump and hose and mark the large hole. Drill the large hole with the hole saw. Drill out the two 5/16" holes too. Remove the pipe cap. Now assemble the pump and cap and fit it into the pipe. On my tank I have to slide the pump into the pipe, snap the cap on and then snap the pump into the base. Then you can put the hose on. Also at this time connect the speaker wire to the leads from the pump. I solder the connections, liquid tape and then heat shrink the connection since it will be submerged in saltwater. This is very important so you do not zap your bait with 12 volts. Connect the scotty plug on the other end. I would tin the wire ends to make this last a little longer. If you get it backwards .. IE: the pump sucks instead of pumps .. you can reverse the leads here pretty easily.



Finished pump and housing.



Put the pump housing into the lower half of the barrel as shown. The hose is long so you can hang it out and pump the barrel out. This is better than a drain fitting which will break, leak or otherwise reduce your bait tank enjoyment.

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Old 10-04-2006, 03:47 PM   #2
Han Solo
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers



Place the top into the bottom upside down as shown. Line up the pump housing with the one of the bung holes.



Drill one 3/16" hole 19 inches from the bottom of the barrel and rivet the halves together next to the pump housing. Clean the drill shavings out so they won't get in the way. Use a washer on the end of the rivet to help prevent the rivet from pulling out of the soft plastic. Measure the distance from the top to the bottom and line up the top evenly. Drill three more 3/16" holes at equal intervals around the barrel and rivet it together in a total of four places.



Using the discarded barrel rim as a guide mark the barrel 20 inches from the bottom.



Use the skill saw and trim the top and bottom evenly using the marked line to guide your cut. Use the files to clean up the shreds.



Cut two handholds at opposite sides of the barrel; as shown. I made mine 1-1/2" by 5 inches. Again drill pilot holes at the corners to make the cutting easier. Drill a 3/16" hole at each end of a handhold, clean out the drill shavings, use a backing washer and poprivet. Using vice grips to hold the barrel tight to itself makes this easier. Add a couple more rivets at even intervals to finish the assembly.



Using the discarded rim again, mark a line at 13 to 14 inches from the bottom of the barrel all the way around. Mark every three inches for drain holes. Drill 5/16" holes on this marked interval.



Finished tank. Clean out all shreds and drill shavings so they do not plug the pump screen.



Fill tank and test pump. If it runs backwards swap leads inside power plug. The sponge mat will float over the cutout and prevent the bait from jumping out. One improvement that became obvious is velcro. Stick it to the top of the tank next to the cutout in 4 places. And to the Mat to match to hold it in place.



When done using hang the hose over the side and pump out.

Sorry for the book. Enjoy.
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Old 10-04-2006, 03:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

Pretty cool John. Should keep the baits very happy.
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Old 10-04-2006, 04:30 PM   #4
Thunnus
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

How much bait do you think it would carry, assume they are 3-4" chovies?
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Old 10-04-2006, 08:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

Nice write-up.
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Old 10-05-2006, 07:40 AM   #6
bajadan2000
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

Question..

Should the water circulate inside the bait tank in a counter clock direction? My foggy memory bank remembers something about live bait like to swim in a clock wise direction. Or is this a myth?


John, I like your light weight tank idea. The first live well I made took a crane to lift into the boat. It now sits in Baja and is being used as a dog house.
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Old 10-05-2006, 07:45 AM   #7
Sadie-Lynne
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

Thanks for sharing. Nice project it came out looking good.
I'll have to try and hook up with you next year for some live bait schooling.
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Old 10-05-2006, 11:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

The good news is you can reverse the spin pretty easily. You can rotate the pump housing to either orientation. Also you can completely remove it from the tank to clean the pump screen. It is only wedged in between the top and bottom.

The bad news is the flow is pretty slow and I have no idea which spin works better. Bilge pumps are low head pumps. They slow down on pumping rate dramatically with any restriction on the discharge. So you can't really use a nozzle to speed the current up.

Thanks for the kind words. This was a big mystery to me until I tried it. It does not have to be a big mystery to you.

200 baits is the most we tried. Actually it was 185 by the time we headed out. Sabiki rigs are pretty rough on Anchovies. Many died immediately. The less you handle them the better.

Don't forget to turn the washdown water back on after you hose the deck. They won't last long without fresh water added all the time. They don't seem to like the TUNA! blood in the water either. They kind of freak out when that happens.
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Old 10-05-2006, 12:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

Question. Looking at the photo's did you cut the center
out of the top of barrel. Or did you cut the top 6 inchs of the top of the entire barrel. I can not see how the top is fitted in to the lower barrel. I am missing someting here.I do see the top installed. but there is a step missing
But it looks great. I have everything needed to
make one. Just my barrel is blue. and I have been looking for a good one to copy. And this looks like just the one..
thanks for all information. It's a great help.
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Old 10-05-2006, 01:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

Cut the barrel in 1/2 so that the bottom 1/2 is 21" tall. Then cut the rim off the top of the barrel so it will fit into the bottom 1/2 when you flip the top upside down.

I think that answers your question. Blue should work. Not all barrels have a rim. All of the ones I've seen lately do.
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Old 10-05-2006, 02:19 PM   #11
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

Kodiak makes dedicated bait pumps. At least I think they still do as it was bought out several years ago. It might work better than a combo washdown/bait pump. Always carry a spare too.

A good way to avoid handlying the chovies is to use a butter knife or something similiar. Put the hook over the edge of the blade and give a couple of yanks and they'll fall off into the tank. I've done it before on sardines and mackeral. It's not good at all to touch them.
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Old 10-05-2006, 03:40 PM   #12
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

Thanks that makes it clear to me. I will post photos of the
completed unit. your the man... thanks. :smile:
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Old 05-04-2007, 11:55 PM   #13
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

back to the top for those with livewell curiosity. and could we get this in the tech tip section?
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Old 05-05-2007, 06:12 AM   #14
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Default Re: bait tank 101 for do it your selfers

all bait tanks should fill when empty in 7 minutes, then your flow rate is right.
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