Keeping your bait alive?

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by slickback, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. slickback

    slickback New Member

    Messages:
    81
    State:
    Kansas
    Went to the river this weekend to do some fishing and I am having a heck of a time keeping the bluegill alive! I go to a local pond and catch around 40 or so and by the time I get to the river 5 or 6 are dead and then by the next morning I will have almost 12 to 15 dead. I keep them in a cooler during transport with lake water for them to swim in and put a frozen jug of water in there to keep them cool. Then when I get to the river I put them in a large basket and let them sit in the river. Any ideas on what I am doing wrong or what I can do to keep the bait longer. I am sure an aerator would help and I am in the process of trying to get one hooked up to the cooler. Any other ideas? thanks for the help in advance.
     
  2. teaysvalleyguy

    teaysvalleyguy New Member

    Messages:
    9,751
    State:
    GC, OHIO
    An aerator is a must if you are trying to transport Bluegill and keep them alive. I always try and put my bait basket in moving water in the river if I can, helps get more oxygen to them I think. The frozen jub is a great idea, but make sure it does not get the water too cold too fast. I think this could send them into shock. Make sure it is not too big for the cooler. I usually just throw a couple hand fulls of ice in the cooler with the aerator. You can also get those oxygen tablets if you do not have an aerator, they are better then nothing.

    Hope this helps brother.
     

  3. slickback

    slickback New Member

    Messages:
    81
    State:
    Kansas
    Thanks Tea. Didn't even think of the oxygen tablets. Will have to give that a try next time until the aerator is installed.
     
  4. teaysvalleyguy

    teaysvalleyguy New Member

    Messages:
    9,751
    State:
    GC, OHIO
    You are welcome Brad, make sure to have extra batteries on you as well. They sell aerators that pump pure oxygen to them as well, a little pricy but worth the money IMHO. Good luck brother next time you get out. You can also take a few gallon jug and fill them with lake water where you get the bait, if you have a long trip you can stop and let some of the old water out about half way there and fill with the water in the jubs. Fresh oxygen for the fish. Just another little tweak that will help.
     
  5. btmfdr

    btmfdr New Member

    Messages:
    85
    State:
    missouri
    how big of a cooler are you using for 40 bluegill. if its not at least 90qts or so thats probably your problem. thats alot of bluegill(40) and i will be willing to bet the #1 reason for dead bait in the world is overloading the tank. try using a couple coolers or a bigger one. but if you are already using one that big i dont know , bluegill are pretty easy for me to keep alive as long as i dont cram them in to small of a space. they probably just need space
    good luck
     
  6. SubnetZero

    SubnetZero New Member

    Messages:
    1,619
    State:
    Sherman IL
    40 gills is alot if you dont have a large tank.. Also, try going to a petstore and buying a cheap thermometer. You may be shocking them.. Your taking them from the lake, putting them into a colder tank, then putting them back into a warm river.. Try monitoring the temp swings your exposing them to...
     
  7. HRCats

    HRCats New Member

    Messages:
    1,081
    State:
    Ohio
    I've never went with that many gills. Usually 12 to 15 is all i take. I use a 5 gal. bucket with a $6 bubble box from walmart attached to it. 2 D cell batteries will last the night. Of course you are going bigger than i do so maybe 2 of the bubble boxes should be used. If this is a cooler that is used just for your bait you could drill one or two holes in the lid depending on how many aerators are being used, just large enough for the hoses to fit through. And then maybe cut a slit in the lid so the clips on the back of the aerators fit in them snug. Hope you figure something out soon.
     
  8. slickback

    slickback New Member

    Messages:
    81
    State:
    Kansas
    Thanks for the ideas everybody! It is about a 30 to 45 min drive to the river. You are probably right two coolers is more of the way I should go. I am definetly going to keep a better eye on the temp as I'm sure that is helping in the demise of my bait. We run 10 to 12 lines all night that is why we take as many gills as we can.
     
  9. laidbck111

    laidbck111 New Member

    There is an older thread showing an example of what you are trying to do with your cooler. I am not sure if it is the library but it was preety a good idea and the pics were good also.
     
  10. photocat

    photocat New Member

    Messages:
    803
    State:
    HOCO, Maryland
    get them air... a cheapy 5-6 dollar one from walmart will work just fine... tape it to the cooler and drill a hole to put the hose through and still keep the water in...
     
  11. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    40 is to many so get 2 coolers.Temp is vital to their survival and as someone said you can't chill them down and then put them in the river at a higher temp then back in th cold water.70-72 is ideal so get a cheap thermometer,also just putting them in the river doesn't mean anything if you are just placing them close to shore where the water gets really warm and there is no oxygen.All water isn't the same!!!!:eek:oooh: Wade out and get them in deeper cooler water or shaded water.Check the river temp with your recently acquired cheap thermometer.:smile2: Aeration is also very important but again all air isn't the same.First there is air then there is O2.As TEA said pure O2 is an expensive proposition.Just blowing bubbles in the water doesn't mean you are increasing the dissolved O2.All aeration should come in at the bottom to be most effective and the smaller you can make those bubbles the better,that way the O2 can be absorbed.Get some aeration stones for your aerator.I routinely keep 30-40 White perch plus some herring alive in a 35 gal baitwell but I cool the water to 72,and have a power aerator with 2 stones going continously.I will add a little salt for the herring.After about 6 hrs I do a complete change of water being careful to maintain close to the same temp,that gets rid of the impurities they first give off and the scales from the herring.:smile2:
     
  12. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Contrary to popular belief, aerators (air pumps with stones on the end) serve mostly to stir the water; very little oxygen exchange occurs in the bubbles themselves. Nearly all of the exchange occurs on the surface of the water - keep the water moving, either with an air stone or a mechanical pump and you maximize the opportunity for oxygen exchange.

    But the real problem in most bait tanks, especially when they're overcrowded, is ammonia buildup. Ammonia comes from fish waste and is highly toxic to them once it reaches 4 or 5 parts per million. In warmer water, the ammonia is far more toxic than cooler water.

    In a lake or established aquarium, there is a population of bacteria that consume the ammonia and keep it in check; in a bait tank, there's none of that bacteria. The solution, then, is to keep changing the dirty water for clean water and keep the temperature under control and you'll have better results.

    As a general guideline, no more than one 6" fish per gallon of water; you can overcrowd a bit if you keep your water quality up but dump 30 fish in a 5 or 10 gallon bucket and they'll be dead in hours, not from lack of oxygen but from an excess of ammonia.
     
  13. Majesticman

    Majesticman New Member

    Messages:
    186
    State:
    Missouri
    To save money on batteries get a aquarium air pump for 12 dollars and a long air stone $5 at Walmart for running at night at home or when the boat is docked where electricity is available. Battery costs add up fast. I would like to have a Keep Alive real oxygen kit but $500 is too much for my pockets.

    The amonia thing is probably the biggest problem and it takes charcoal filtering to fix that. I am rigging a makeshift filter with charcoal and angel hair in a large jar using a small bilge pump to circulate the water. I will post the results after it is done. I got the idea off a striper boat live well.
     
  14. trotlining

    trotlining New Member

    Messages:
    5
    State:
    Louisiana
    I know most people may think this is strange, but I like to muddy the water slightly.

    The fish do not panick as bad, and the stress on the fish is reduced considerably.

    I have transported catfish for extremly long distances this way, and
    trout for much shorter distances with no aeriation.
     
  15. janton311

    janton311 New Member

    Messages:
    654
    State:
    Wichita Kansas
    an aerator is a must have, do they all come to the top of the water?
     
  16. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    State:
    NC
    You are going to have to filter that water too in addition to aerating it. The waste produced by the fish is the biggest problem and it consumes oxygen in the process of it breaking down. On the boat I keep 6-7 bluegill in a minnow bucket and I rotate the water out ever hour or so if I want them to stay alive. Once the water becomes toxic the fish are basically poisoned by their own waste.

    40 is a lot unless it is a huge cooler, so huge that you probably can nor carry it alone