Any good suggestions for a homemade bait tank?

Discussion in 'LOCAL SOUTH CAROLINA TALK' started by Bill in SC, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Bill in SC

    Bill in SC New Member

    Messages:
    4,451
    State:
    South Caro
    I guess I coulda' listed this question in another section of the forum, but I wanted to see what the SC fishermen do. I don't use a cast net to catch bait. Probably should. I always use a pole and earthworms or wax worms. Every time I get ready to go to the river to fish, it usually takes an hour or two to catch fresh bait. I enjoy bait catchin' about as much as any other form of fishin', but the process always sets me back an hour or two getting to the river. I thought since this year I was going to get serious about catfishin', that I might benefit from a large bait tank here at the house. Much easier when going to the river just to dip our a selection of fresh bait when needed, and restocking the tank at my convenience. Common sense tells me that you can use anything that holds water, but I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on the lines of CHEAP and simplicity. I know I will have to have a nice aerator in it, and it will have to be insulated so it won't get too hot in the summer. A local suggested building it out of plywood and putting in a polyethylene liner. That would have the cheap part covered, but I would rather use an all poly or fiberglass tank of some sort. I'd like to have something about the size of the minnow tanks at the bait store, without the high cost of such a tank. I know some of you old swamp rats must have some good ideas. Lemme here 'em.
    Bill in SC
     
  2. flatheadhunterx

    flatheadhunterx Active Member

    Messages:
    1,374
    State:
    South Carolina
    Bill I use 3 plastic tanks that I got from a chemical plant. they boiled them out so they would be clean and gave me the metal cages they go in for 25.00. they each hold 400 gal. of water. there is a pic of them in the catfish bait section. think it is under bait tanks.
     

  3. Bill in SC

    Bill in SC New Member

    Messages:
    4,451
    State:
    South Caro
    That's a good idea. I was thinking of maybe using an old farm poly tank, or buying a new one from ag suppy. I haven't priced them yet though. Can you elaborate on your aeration system, and how you keep it from not getting too hot in summer?
    Bill in SC
     
  4. Reel_Blues

    Reel_Blues New Member

    Messages:
    824
    State:
    Virginia
    I have an old 150 qt. cooler i converted it works really good.
     
  5. Bill in SC

    Bill in SC New Member

    Messages:
    4,451
    State:
    South Caro
    Good idea too, however I want a tank big enough to hold a couple of hundred small bluegills. I do intend on using a huge Gott cooler (with an aerator) for my bait tank on my skiff as it does not have a live well.
    Bill in SC
     
  6. iceman

    iceman New Member

    Messages:
    164
    State:
    Walterboro S.C
    i think the best tank is a old chest freezer. it holds the water temp. and has a drain on it. when it gets dirty drain half the water out and add fresh water. use 3 fish aquarium pumps and stones to airate.

    GARY
     
  7. RiverratSC

    RiverratSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,646
    State:
    Gaffney, SC
    I've been using a 5 gallon bucket with a lid and bubbler. It keeps bluegill alive and perch live awhile in it.
     
  8. flatheadhunterx

    flatheadhunterx Active Member

    Messages:
    1,374
    State:
    South Carolina
    Bill I have a 1300 gal per hr water garden pump in the bottom tank. the water is pumped out of the bottom tank down under the ground bout 2 ft and under all 3 tanks to the top tank then comes up the side and to the bottom off the top tank which is filled with sponge material and lava rocks to serve as a bio filter. at the top of that tank I have 3 3/4 inch pvc pipes out the side on to the middle tank and then the same to the bottom tank. so basically the water is pumped out of the bottom tank to the top where it is filtered and then over flows to the middle tank then back to the bottom tank. the water coming from the pipes to the next tanks keep the water airated so I dont need any kind of air pump. I have had at least 100 fish in the 2 tanks since last spring mainly 4 to 8 inch carp and had maybe 3 die on me and havent changed any water except once I had to move a tank alittle to plumb my drains be cause I and building a building over them and needed a way to drain with out flooding my floor also I had to replace my pump. the one I had was about 8 yrs old and gave out. I dont worry to much about the heat because it is shaded some of the day and water in lakes gets pretty hot also, but the pipe being under ground helps keep it cool alittle.
     
  9. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,168
    State:
    NC
    Bill in SC, I have a minnow tank like you see in stores. I got it free from a guy when his store closed down. It is rigged with a garden pond pump like you get at Lowes, and it also has a bubbler with air stones.

    Now, the reason I tell you this is because no matter how big the tank is there is a limit to how many fish you can successfully keep in it. Furthermore, how long they live varies with the season. Cold weather means you can hold a lot more and keep them alive a lot longer. There is no rule of thumb, so you will have to figure that out for yourself. Put some in and see how they do, but at some point you will hit the magic number where they start dieing off.

    Keeping a "couple hundred bluegill" will be tough in the summertime, especially if you want to keep them more than a week. It is very difficult to process out the ammonia in the warmer water no matter what you try. LakeNormanBlues has a nice set-up at his house that is capable of pumping in fresh lake water and he still has a difficult time.

    Like I said, cold weather is a different story. I have about 20 white perch, three crappie, and a striper alive in mine right now, not to mention another two dozen trout. Most of the "guests" have been in the for at least a month and they are fine, but they would have been dead weeks ago if it was July.

    "...I do intend on using a huge Gott cooler (with an aerator) for my bait tank on my skiff..."

    Let me say this about bait tanks on boats. If you can not afford a manufactured one, save your money until you can. If you add up all the failed attempts to build one that works you can easily afford one. It is hard to build one that has the features of a Creek Bank, or Greyline. They are worth the money.
     
  10. rivercatsc

    rivercatsc New Member

    Messages:
    1,990
    State:
    South Caro
    Iceman has hit the nail on the head. An old chest type frezzer has a lid, drain, and is insulated super well. They are ideal for keeping bait lively but in the hotter months I still would not try keeping too many fish in it.
     
  11. Bill in SC

    Bill in SC New Member

    Messages:
    4,451
    State:
    South Caro
    Maybe I exaggerated on the number I would need to have in there. A few dozen should suffice as I can replenish it regularly with fish from a pond less than a mile from the house. As for my "Gott" setup, well, I gotta have something temporarily until I can get a nice bait well on board. Heck if they die, I will be using cut bait. :) I never had much trouble keeping bait alive though. Pretty much common sense.
    Bill in SC
     
  12. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,168
    State:
    NC
    Bill In SC, if you are going to use the cooler temporarily on your boat, then buy you one of those portable aerators that you can attach to your boat battery with alligator clips. It will keep the water churning pretty good, and just be sure to swap out the water every 3-4 hours while you are out there. You can find them at Wal-Mart.

    They also sell a D battery powered bubbler/bucket lid combo thingy that works well. I just don't like dealing with anything but a boat battery.
     
  13. flatheadhunterx

    flatheadhunterx Active Member

    Messages:
    1,374
    State:
    South Carolina
    if you make some kind of bio filter for your tank it will take care of the amonia that builds up. One of the tanks I have is used as nothing but a filter and have went a yr or more without changing any water and never had a problem with fish dying, and I feed them almost every day.
     
  14. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,168
    State:
    NC
  15. Bill in SC

    Bill in SC New Member

    Messages:
    4,451
    State:
    South Caro
    Yes, I have friends who use those little bubblers from Wal-Mart. Ammonia buildup is never a problem as I usually just fish 4 or 5 hours when river fishin'. Good ideas from all, and I appreciate it.
    BB in SC
     
  16. krowbar

    krowbar New Member

    Messages:
    664
    State:
    South Caro
    I have thought about making the same sort of bait tank at the house Bill. Sounds like some great ideas on this post. Thanks.
     
  17. uttatoo

    uttatoo New Member

    Messages:
    1,797
    State:
    greatbend kansas
    find an old laydown freezer or ice box and fill with water and put some aerators in it thats what we do keeps water cool and baite from jumping out
     
  18. Bill in SC

    Bill in SC New Member

    Messages:
    4,451
    State:
    South Caro
    I am currently on the prowl for a large chest type freezer. if I can't find one, I can probably go to the scrap yard and buy one for just over scrap costs. I know some people out there. I thank you ALL!
    BB in SC
     
  19. jjfisher666

    jjfisher666 New Member

    Messages:
    37
    State:
    Missouri
    the freezer works not hard to convert insulated good + free