Fishing Bait Containers And Live Wells
Depending upon where and how you fish, and for what species, you might include bait in your provisioning. There are dozens of different baits and most of them can be easily carried on board your tube or toon. Baits can be anything from plain old worms to fancy “bottle baits” with scientific formulations designed to catch both fishermen and fish. In some cases you might take live baitfish. On still other trips it might be whole dead minnows or pieces of “cut bait”. Whatever kind of bait you take on board you should stow it properly and take steps to insure that the bait stays fresh. You need a system of storage, handling and usage that prevents messy baits from getting all over you or your craft. Keep things cleaned up as you fish and then give your craft a thorough washing after each trip. Some baits, such as salmon eggs, prepared dough baits or other bottled concoctions, do not require refrigeration or special handling. However, cheese and dough baits will remain firmer if you keep them cool. Always keep containers closed between uses and keep them protected from damage while they are in the pockets with other items. Plain old earthworms and red worms are good baits for many species. They are fairly easy to keep in almost any kind of container on board your tube or toon. They are also more tolerant of warm temperatures than nightcrawlers. When you fish with night crawlers you must store them in something that will keep them chilled. “Dew worms” are native to cooler climates and quickly die and “sour” if they get very warm. Insulated containers with some ice or frozen gel are a good way to keep crawlers healthy all day in your tube or toon. Dead minnows and all forms of cut bait should also be kept cool. That stuff can “go south” quickly on a hot day. Even if the fish still eat it the odor can assault your olfactory senses and might get you evicted from your own home when you return. Again, insulated containers with ice or frozen gel packages will help keep dead fish parts fresher longer. Small containers will fit into the large side pockets of a fishing vest or in the tackle pockets of your craft. Just be sure that the lids fit tightly before laying bait containers on their sides. Leaking juices will mess up your vest or your cover. If you need to carry a lot of bait in a larger cooler you can rig a small floating “bait station”. Some serious bait fishermen fit a small inner tube or foam ring around a cooler to float the bait box. Then they attach a rope and hang it from a D ring to access as needed. Just don’t mix the bait with lunch and get the two confused.
Live Bait Wells
In many parts of the country summertime generates a good supply of grasshoppers or crickets. These can be kept in special wire mesh “cricket cages” or in any kind of small jar or plastic container. Just be sure to poke holes in the lids to allow air circulation for the bugs. If the containers are not too big you can easily carry them in pockets on your vest or your craft. LIVE BAIT WELLS In many parts of the country it is both legal and effective to fish with live minnows in fresh water. And, many tubers and tooners like to drag live baits while fishing the salt. There are a number of ways to keep bait species alive and munchable while floatation fishing. Several manufacturers produce minnow buckets, floating bait keepers and bait cages. These all work well. You don’t need an aerated live well on board unless you are fishing from a large pontoon on the salt and traveling under power a lot. Live wells are a “drag”. Of course, if you have the time and ability you can save a few dollars by making your own live bait system. For a floating live bait system use either fine wire mesh or a nylon bag with a ring of floating foam around the top…and perhaps a rigid hoop in the bottom to keep the mesh from collapsing. Just be sure the mesh is small enough to hold the size of the live bait you will be using. Aerated live wells can be created from insulated containers and small battery powered pumps. Mount these on the deck of your pontoon or allow them to float behind you in the water if you are a “deck challenged” tuber.