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How long will live bait keep in a tank? Can you keep overnight with tank pump running? How about running kicker at high idle to keep battery charged? Any thoughts or ideas?:shrug:
 

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I have some experience here. Basically I know what not to do.

We had 200 anchovies in a 22 gallon tank. The washdown pump was used to supply fresh water and the recirc pump in the tank spun the water to provide a current to orient the baitfish.

This worked well. We pulled the boat up the ramp on the trailer to load ice (ending fresh water addition) and in no more than 20 minutes most of the bait rolled. I managed to revive about 3/4 of em by spraying water (entrained air) into the tank. The next morning most of those unlucky devils were still alive but we had other problems. When I switched on the bunk light, 7 hours after tying up at the no power moorage ... it was a dull orange color. A quick check of the battery voltmeter showed 10.5 volts.

I shifted to Batt #1 and got the kicker going and the charge started on the #2. We then departed and ran out. The dead deep cycle battery pulled so hard on the alternator that it tripped the circuit breaker on the motor => no more charging and all power on the motor comes from the alternator.

We ran out of fuel on the deck tank and the motor would not restart. The story goes on but I won't bore you with something I posted last October.

I would use a spare deep cycle battery to power your tank. In the morning just leave the spare battery in the truck and go fishing.

Your freshwater supply system should fill your baittank in no less than 10 minutes to get enough flow going. Scales are a problem too. Remove scales after you get your bait and any dead baits as they poison the water.

Good luck.
 

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Bait will keep for quite a while, depending on a few conditions:

  • how "cured" the bait is (how long the bait has been in the receiver- the longer the better, as the bait has overcome the trauma of being netted and transferred around)
  • flow of the water in the tank- the tank should fill in about 7-10 minutes MAX, and should have a drain hose at least 1.5x the diameter of the fill hose.
  • style of tank- round or oval is best, as there's no corners to bump into.
  • Tank placement- midships or stern is best, as there's less trauma due to motion.
We've run live bait for several days without any major losses. If you have 2 batteries, switch to the house battery before you go to bed to run the tank. In the morning, switch to the main/starting battery to ge the engine going.

HTH
 

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What kind of bait? Some are more hardy than others like sardines over anchovies. Mackeral well those things will live forever. Same with squid if they don't spawn out. Brown baits are tough too. Not sure about herring or smelt.

Thing with chovies is that you want to get rid of the dead ones. Don't let them sit in the tank as they can start to kill off the others. Get rid of the ones with red noses too. Greenbacks are the ones you want. If the fish are fresh and not cured they won't last long in a pounding boat. I'm not sure if you can cure them in a bank tank by letting them sit for a couple of days. Never tried that.

A washdown pump isn't designed to run 24/7. They will burn up. Been there done that. Heck even bait pumps seem to burn up at the worst time. Always carried a spare.

In a pinch bait bags that hang off the transom will work. Best is to have a dedicated tank. I don't think they even make anything other than round. Mine didn't have a light and never had a problem. We'd even put a towel over the top to keep birds out at night. If the fish are cured you won't have a problem. Oh and built in transom bank tanks which are usually square, will work but the bait doesn't do real well. Makes good chum though.
 

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Has anyone tried a small floating net pen like they use in the harbor in Cabo? They're easily made with plastic pipe, fine mesh net and a styrafoam life ring for floatation and your opening. Keep it filled and you have cured bait right at your slip whenever you want it. No pumps or batteries to die either.
Jean
 

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Has anyone tried a small floating net pen like they use in the harbor in Cabo? They're easily made with plastic pipe, fine mesh net and a styrafoam life ring for floatation and your opening. Keep it filled and you have cured bait right at your slip whenever you want it. No pumps or batteries to die either.
Jean

Sadly, I think the seals and sealions would have sometihing to say about it around here.:eek:oo: but no, noone I know has tried it.
 
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