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Keeping Live-bait alive overnight in boat livewell?

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Keeping Live-bait alive overnight in boat livewell?

Old 11-06-2019, 09:27 AM
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Lightbulb Keeping Live-bait alive overnight in boat livewell?

Hello Everyone,

I hope all is well; As usual I'm looking for your valuable input and advice.

This is my first year fishing local tournaments and was thinking of ways to keep the excess bait alive and ready for the next day of fishing? We don't have anyone who sells live-bait over here so being able to keep the bait alive for the next day would be saving around an hour and a half driving to the nearest bait spot and catching bait etc.

I tried keeping them in a portable promar bait motel tied to the dock near the boat, unfortunately the bait ended up being eaten inside out by some kind of worms.. and the baits that survived seemed pretty weak.. So that isn't an option for now

I am thinking of adding a shore power connection and keeping the livewell on overnight? Would this work?

If anyone has tried this before whether it failed or succeeded can you kindly share your experiences, as I would rather invest the shore power money into something else as the only use for the shore power would be keeping the bait alive overnight.

Thanks a lot in advance!
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:42 AM
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what about a bait pen?
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by TurdFerguson View Post
what about a bait pen?
Hello,

I have tried using the below bait pen, added the bait, came back the next morning with 70% of the bait eaten inside out (Probably some parasites or worms living below the dock), I attached some pictures to show how it was set up.

If running the livewell overnight isn't an option, I might try tying the bait-pen to a Portside cleat which is further away from the dock (Starboard). As you can see the 1 time I tried it was pretty close to the dock barnacles etc..


Promar - Bait Motel

Bait Motel Set Up At The Dock

Bait Motel Set Up At The Dock 2
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Old 11-06-2019, 11:56 AM
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I don't know the answer to your question but I would definitely advise not swimming at your dock.
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Old 11-06-2019, 11:59 AM
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Yeah - this inside/out parasite thing isnt typical at all...
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Graddy-fied View Post
I don't know the answer to your question but I would definitely advise not swimming at your dock.
Originally Posted by sammythetuna View Post
Yeah - this inside/out parasite thing isnt typical at all...
Oh that's for suuuuuurrrreeeeee!
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:16 PM
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What area?
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:19 PM
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Pic of worms?
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Old 11-06-2019, 05:49 PM
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We have used a mr bubler aerator overnight on shrimp and croaker.


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Old 11-07-2019, 08:54 AM
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What is the depth and water temp where you make bait compared to at your dock? The surface water temp at your dock may be too warm. If you have cooler water at a greater depth at the dock and a way to get to it, that might make your well a viable option. A true bait tank is also critical. Fragile baits need a proper environment to do well.
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Old 11-07-2019, 09:56 AM
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You could pen your baits offshore in a metal pen with a partially submerged ball to keep it hidden and mark with GPS.
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Old 11-07-2019, 01:09 PM
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I have left my bait in my well with the pump running for two straight nites. I always plug into shore power so my batteries don't die. On day two their not as lively as day one but still alive and usable.
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Old 11-07-2019, 01:50 PM
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I have a pool waterfall pump with a hose attached. Hose goes into the livewell, pump into the water, and plug into 110v. Keeps the bait alive without having to keep the boat in the water or run the livewell pumps.
The Active Aqua Submersible Water Pump, 1110 GPH, from Amazon is about 55 bucks. Things last forever.
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Old 11-07-2019, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by baiterjoe View Post
I have left my bait in my well with the pump running for two straight nites. I always plug into shore power so my batteries don't die. On day two their not as lively as day one but still alive and usable.
We do this too all the time,but he's got bad water with parasites/worms.Prolly get pumped right into the well.Some sort of filtration unit would prolly work but that could get complicated.
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Old 11-07-2019, 03:49 PM
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I guess my suggestion since it's a tourney, would be to fish for bait that morning,penned or not.Or find known good water in a near by marina/canal.
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Old 11-07-2019, 04:52 PM
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I leave anchovies in my bait tank overnight on a regular basis, and they are trying to jump out of the tank when I take the lid off in the morning. I'd give it a try, it should work if you have a good tank.
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Old 11-07-2019, 05:01 PM
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If you end up using a well, make sure its insulated / out of the sun / kept at a cool temp. Here in FL the heat warms the water and will kill the bait. Id imagine it would be the same in Dubai.

Water temp regulation, oxygen and current etc. You'll have to play with all of them to see what conditions your bait needs. You will have dead loss but in time should be able to perfect it.
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Old 11-08-2019, 08:56 AM
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Default Keeping bait overnight requires great water quality

What kind of environmental water parasite do you have there?

I have heard other fishermen speak of parasite problems in environmental equatorial and sub-tropical zone waters. A parasite problem like you are having with captive fish and those the little buggers eating your bait overnight in bait pens. That’s definite a very serious problem living in your water where ever you are located.First and foremost before you ever start trying to figure out how to keep bait alive overnight in that pen without the parasites eradicated, you will need to exterminate the parasites.

Option 2 - that will work is use clean public drinking water if you can get chemically clean public water for bait water in a closed livewell or bait tank overnight.

Option 3 - you can use the environmental water containing the parasites, add Chlorine, kill and then filter out the dead parasites, off gas the chlorine or eliminate it chemically and then use the clean dechlorinated water for live bait water in a livewell or bait tank. Forget the bait pen in the environmental water because as you already know, that will not work at all.


If you are successful eliminating your parasite problems, next you can figure out how to keep bait alive overnight in a livewell or bait tank overnight and that’s a totally different challenge. Can you insure continuous great water quality all night for all the bait in a livewell or bait tank?

If you can insure great water quality all night either in a bait pen, livewell or bait tank you will have minimal overnight mortality and great live bait the next morning to fish with.
If you cannot insure continuous great livewell water quality overnight you will fail, have high mortality and the little bait that does survive overnight will be very poor quality baits probably not fit for live bait fishing… better cut baits.Insuring great water quality overnight, all day is easy to do if you know how to do that, it makes no difference whether you are using a bait pen (water with no parasites), livewells or bait tanks, the box you keep the bait fish makes no difference.

The water quality in your live bait box makes all the difference between success and fishing with great live baits or more failures, sloppy baits and high overnight mortality.


Question? Do you really need live baits? Fake baits are a lot easier to deal with especially with the parasite problems in your environmental water.

If none of this works for you, there are very few options left.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:49 AM
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Just so you know, I have personally seen TWO different boats SUNK at the dock by leaving the bait/livewell running, A 32 Palmetto and a 31 Fountain ! So proceed at your own risk !
The baits stopped up the over flow and the bilge pumps did not stop the flooding.Capt.Dave
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:58 PM
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Good point Capt.

Boats with insufficient flotation will sink tied up to the dock when the bilge fills with water for any reason and the bilge pump float switch fails. That does happen sometimes and boats do sink tied up at the dock unattended like you mentioned. I guess any unattended boat is at risk when that float switch fails to turn on the bilge pump.

Wonder how often the average fisherman checks that bilge pump float switch to actually confirm it is working correctly and turns the bilge pump on?
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