Sea Fishing Tackle – Storage Solutions for Live Bait

Sea Fishing Tackle – Storage Solutions for Live Bait

Keeping bait alive is a challenge in itself. If trying to catch a fish is enough you got to keep your bait alive and in tip top condition too! There are ways to help keep you bait alive. I will go through the basics of some of the most popular baits used and how you can keep it alive with the minimum of casualty’s and fuss.

Sandeels

Live Sandeel is probably the deadliest bait known to sea angling in British waters, presented as a freelined bait, fished under a float or legered on a long leader, they will catch just about all of our major sporting species including Bass. There are two factors in keeping sand eel alive for any period of time. One is oxygenation and two is Temperature. Sandeels sitting in stagnant water all day is doomed and is not going to last you more than 1 hour. You need to provide fresh supply’s of oxygen via a bait air pump and a suitable container to keep them out of the sun. Water in small quantities left in the summer heat can quickly rise cooking you Sandeels. A good solution to this is a bait bucket, I highly recommend the Salt Bucket by Shakespeare not only it comes with a built in pouch for your pump but it also has a zip up lid to stop your eels jumping out and to keep the sun exposure from heating your water. If that’s not all, you are also able to collapse it and wash it out with ease.

If you want to store Sandeels for any long period of time, you need to set up a tank at home which you have had cycling for at least 4 weeks. Cycling meaning allowing the tank to go through the nitrogen cycle. When there are no traces of Ammonia left by using a saltwater test kit at your local aquatic center it is then safe to introduce you eels. This cycling process is exactly the same as if you where setting up tropical or marine fish tank.

Fitted to your tank you will need a filter pump that can circulate you tanks volume by at least 4 times an hour as a rule and some suitable saltwater rocks for the bacteria to colonise. Also you will need an air pump connected to an air stone running 24/7 this is beneficial to your Sandeels and the bacteria in your setup. Remember to change 25% of your sea water every 2 weeks, this stops the build up of Nitrates which will kill your Sandeels.

A good food for your Sandeels is Live Plankton cultures which you can buy live from all good marine aquatic shops. If not Mysis is very good too! Any eels that do die freeze down in packs and use when you wish do not allow dead Sandeels to float around your tank as this will kill off the live ones.

Peeler Crab

You can keep peelers for long periods of time by using the same method above. However most of us will place the peeler crabs in an Ice Cream tub and cover with seaweed and place into the fridge until ready to use. A great way of storing them when fishing is to place them into a bait cool bag damp! this will keep them out of the sun and elements until ready to use. Anyfish Anywhere Bait bag is a good recommended sized bag for the job. If you need to bring your crabs on further into the peeling stage bring them out of the fridge and allow them to warm up to room temperature and place them in a 1.5cm of water in a tray to allow them to drink.

Prawns

Most of us collect live prawns when fishing for rays. Prawns can be difficult to keep for any long length of time. Using a Salt Bucket again is the way to keep them. On a hot day they would last an hour or two with ice packs placed inside the bucket. If you have an air pump in there aswell they will last a full day. The key is to keep changing the water every 2 hours and keep cool as the water clouds with their own “bodily functions” and this can kill them very quickly.

Ragworm/Lugworm

Favourite amongst anglers! Best kept in a tray with 1/4″ of seawater. Place in a bait fridge. If they are healthy they will wriggle like mad when put in the water. Need to change the water every day or two with fresh collected saltwater. For just a few days dampen some newspaper with collected saltwater and wrap up the worms in 5’s or 10’s and keep in the fridge until ready to use. Another good way is to get some Vermiculite you can get a bag load of it from a local garden centre. Put the worms in a sealed Rag and Lug Tub with air holes and a small handful of Vermiculite. Spray the worms with saltwater just to keep damp not soaking and place in the fridge. It is important to remove any dead worms if any daily as this will kill all of your worms due to toxins leaching out from the decomposing worm.

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