Saturday, August 27, 2011
Keeping Minows Alive Longer
Whenever we’re enjoying some Florida fishing, we almost always use live bait, usually minnows. And by “minnows,” I mean mud minnows and finger mullet. We catch the mullet with a cast net, and we either catch our own mud minnows with a trap or buy them from a local bait shop. In this post, I’m going to provide you with a few saltwater fishing tips for keeping your minnows alive longer.
A lot of fishermen use the flow-through bait buckets for their minnows. We’ve used them, too, but from our experience, the bait doesn’t stay alive as long as it does with an aerator. We use an insulated 5-gallon bait bucket with an aerator clipped to the side. Our bait bucket has a perforated lid that locks shut. We’ve been able to keep mud minnows alive for close to a week. Check out the following saltwater fishing tips to extend the life of your bait:
1. Use an insulated bucket to prevent your minnows’ overheating.
2. Don’t overcrowd the minnows.
3. Use an aerator, and have several extra batteries on hand. Keep an extra aerator handy, too, in case the first one “dies.”
4. Use as much water as possible in the bucket, and use clear water. Add some “new” salt water periodically.
5. Feed the minnows every day. We use dried bread crumbs for this. Just sprinkle a little food in the bucket at the time.
6. Check the bucket several times a day for any dead minnows and remove them.
7. Check your aerator frequently to make sure it’s working and that the bubbler weight remains on the bottom of the bucket.
8. Keep the bait bucket in the shade as much as possible.
9. When you’re removing minnows from the cast net or trap, handle them as little as possible and get them back in water as quickly as you can.
10. Use a small aquarium dip net to retrieve a minnow from the bucket.