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Macs in a pen

Old 06-14-2019, 01:59 PM
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Default Macs in a pen

I'm sure its been discussed before but I guess I'll bring it up again. Anybody have luck with live Macs in round pen. Will they live or am I wasting my time? They do well in the livewell on the boat all day and are still very healthy so I'm thinking of trying a pen. Any thoughts much appreciated.
Old 06-14-2019, 02:44 PM
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Will depend on the water temp and water clarity.

In August they barely last a night in my pen which is in shallower warmer water than the water on the fishing grounds I caught them on.

In June, September October when the water in the harbor is cold they will last 2 days
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Old 06-14-2019, 05:06 PM
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They last a whole night and next day fishing in my live well I just add some frozen water bottles and keep it recirculating. Never lasted that long in a pen for me I dont know why.
Old 06-14-2019, 05:57 PM
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They lasted about a day tops for me. Water is too warm.
Old 06-14-2019, 06:34 PM
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I had some in my 3' diameter 4' deep pen last week and 4 out of 20 died, probably the bleeders that got gill hooked. Still in there I will let you know how they are doing on Sunday. Mid summer they die before I get to the dock, likely due to water temp. Pogies are pretty good in the pen mid summer, had a bluefish live for a month too. I am inner harbor, might try tossing it in the outter harbor and see if that helps. Looked like the alive macks ate the dead ones too which is good to know, at least you can end up with the strongest one.

Last edited by 26fsregcc; 06-14-2019 at 06:40 PM.
Old 06-16-2019, 08:23 AM
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I have a pen for sale if u need one, it big 4' deep 4' round , in good shape
Old 06-17-2019, 05:15 AM
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How you handle the boats will also be a big piece of how long they live. I used to tournament fish in South Florida and bait handling is the probably one of the most critical pieces to success. Here are some of the tips that i have learned.

Handle your baits as little and as gently as possible. Use long rods that allow you to swing the whole sabiki rig out of the water so that you can grab the weight at the bottom. Position them over the well and have someone else remove them from the hook with a dehooker and drop them directly into the well. No touching the baits. When you transfer them from the well to the pen scoop a few at a time, don't load the net. You really want to keep their slime coat in as good shape as possible. If you have one of those smooth nets like they use on trout I would suggest that.

If your pen is in warmer water than where they were caught, sink the pen. The water will be a little cooler on the bottom.

sam
Old 06-17-2019, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by sams View Post
How you handle the boats will also be a big piece of how long they live. I used to tournament fish in South Florida and bait handling is the probably one of the most critical pieces to success. Here are some of the tips that i have learned.

Handle your baits as little and as gently as possible. Use long rods that allow you to swing the whole sabiki rig out of the water so that you can grab the weight at the bottom. Position them over the well and have someone else remove them from the hook with a dehooker and drop them directly into the well. No touching the baits. When you transfer them from the well to the pen scoop a few at a time, don't load the net. You really want to keep their slime coat in as good shape as possible. If you have one of those smooth nets like they use on trout I would suggest that.

If your pen is in warmer water than where they were caught, sink the pen. The water will be a little cooler on the bottom.

sam
100% agree. dont touch them at all if you want them to live the longest
Old 06-26-2019, 07:19 AM
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Still going strong after 20ish days, I also use a dehooker for my baits. Makes a big difference and its easier so why not try it.

Last edited by 26fsregcc; 06-26-2019 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by 26fsregcc View Post
Still going strong after 20ish days
What kind/brand of pen are you using and where to buy it? Would love to try this! Thanks!
Old 06-26-2019, 08:14 AM
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sink the pen and they'll last longer
Old 06-26-2019, 08:23 AM
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Buy a roll of this online and pick up some PVC from home depot. under $100 and no shipping if prime member. Still have some leftover to make another or repair this one. Just starting season 2 with it, some rust areas just starting towards the top but just barely. I will probably powerwash soon and give it a coating of bottom paint. I traced a 3ft diameter circle on a 3/4" sheet of plywood, drilled in some drywall screws around the perimiter, heated up the PVC (i think 1/2") with a torch and bent it around the screw mold adding screws to hold it tight as I went. Came out great.


Amazon Amazon



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Old 06-26-2019, 09:36 AM
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Thank you!!
Old 01-27-2020, 08:41 PM
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Bringing back this thread for a quick report. Could be useful to someone...

I made a pen using 26fsregcc’s design above with some minor modifications: I used 1/4” PEX pipes and plastic mesh netting for the sides (metal for top and bottom), and made it 3’ tall instead of 4’. PEX pipes bent into a perfect circle, so didn’t need a heat gun. At first I thought it would be too flimsy but when assembled it held together really well. I drilled a few holes in the top pipe so it doesn’t trap air and float, and filled the bottom pipe with sand to add some stability.

Made sure it was hanging just a couple of feet above the bottom at low tide. Well, it worked flawlessly. Macs survived for up to 3 weeks no problem. Used it a lot in July and August. Was very surprised by how long they lasted, given that my slip is right by the Charles river locks meaning huge swings in the water temp and salinity when the locks open after a rain.

Not-so-happy ending for my contraption: didn’t use it in September and October, and when I came to retrieve it at end of the season found it completely overcome with marine growth... To the point that when I took it out of the water it collapsed under the weight of all that crap.



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Old 01-28-2020, 04:56 AM
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ctown we did the same thing. It worked great, but we didn't pull it during the season which was a mistake. It had so much junk growing on it in October it was a loss. Oh well. Lessons learned, build a new one for this year and actually pull it and clean it off periodically. It actually worked pretty good except for during the hottest periods. A bunch of guys on the dock would toss their macs in there when they got back and we told the kids to take what they wanted when they were heading out. The ones that died became lobster bait.
Old 01-28-2020, 06:30 AM
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when not in use, remove pens from the water to prevent the growth build, the summer sun will fry anything that starts
Old 01-28-2020, 06:34 AM
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Unless it's bullet proof the seals out my way will find a way in.
Old 01-28-2020, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by jbg108 View Post
Unless it's bullet proof the seals out my way will find a way in.
Have you tried it in Chatham? I thought the same thing was gonna happen in Wychmere granted we only have around 10 seals in the harbor, but they are massive.

People keep macs and pogies in pens all around the harbor and i havent heard of any getting attacked. My buddy even had 30 bluefish split between two different pens hanging off his mooring in October and the seals surprisingly left them alone.

Last edited by 32regulator; 01-28-2020 at 08:03 AM.
Old 01-28-2020, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 32regulator View Post
Have you tried it in Chatham? I thought the same thing was gonna happen in Wychmere granted we only have around 10 seals in the harbor, but they are massive.

People keep macs and pogies in pens all around the harbor and i havent heard of any getting attacked. My buddy even had 30 bluefish split between two different pens hanging off his mooring in October and the seals surprisingly left them alone.
I have not tried in quite a while. Bait has been so easy to come by the past several years. About ten years ago I built a penn and it did well with pogies but Macks would die because the water was too warm. I did lose my pogies a couple times and had to go looking for the top of the pen which had been ripped off.

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