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Kodiak Bait Tank Help

Posted by Dave Brackmann on July 29, 1999 at 01:20:07:

To try to answer your questions.. your question, how big a tank should I get? It really depends on how big of boat and cockpit size you have and if you are doing lots of multiple days trips or not? Also, do you fish more often for tuna than say marlin, where you'll need more chum versus just plain hook baits.

I like to carry as much bait as I can for those times when the bite really turns on. It never fails that when the marlin really pop is when its the toughest time to make a tank full of mackerel! In Cabo, it's another story with bait prices going for as much as 2 - 4 bucks a piece for precious baits to cast and kill on tailers that don't want to eat!

How many gallons are necessary per scoop to keep the bait alive and active for a few days at sea?

I run with the rule of thumb of 20 gallons per first scoop of sardine or anchovie and then one scoop per 10 gallons thereafter. For mackerel the rule of thumb I use is 10 - 15 gallons per each medium size green back mackerel. Cabillito or spanish you can get more because they aren't as active as the green back mackerel and do not require the spacing between the baits when swimming in the tank.

How much bait you can pack really depends one whether the bait is cured (been in your own private receiver or bait dock's bait receiver for a week or more) or not and how you load the bait, ie. with a bucket or net passes. Bucketing sardine, anchovies or mackerel from a receiver is always the best method of loading them to the tank to avoid scale loss which essentially causes the baits to die from dehydration through the loss of their protective slime coat and scales. This same thing happens to mackerel if you are careless and let a bait rub on the side of the tank while shaking it off the hook or put a bait in the tank that hit the deck before you put it in the tank..a definite NO NO. Don't put a bleeding mackerel in a tank as it will pollute and stress out the whole tank full of baits and besides it willd die from blood loss eventially anyway.

Better to have fewer baits in a tank which will mean healthy baits, than to crowd them and end up with a bunch of stressed out weak ones that the fish don't want to eat.

Feeding the bait twice a day really keeps them happy so does removing any dead decaying baits from the tank that cause a reduction in oxygen levels. In my dock receiver and while fishing I feed my anchovie and sardine, which by the way I refer to as my pets I get so attached to them, instant potato flakes and tuna blood. Mackerel will eat in a receiver or bait tank but it takes a few days and then they will eat cut anchovie and the flakes. A little bit of frozen ground chum also is good protein too.

For tank fill times I adjust my valves to fill the tanks in 7 - 8 minutes for green back mackerel and fill 8-10 minutes for anchovie and sardine. I prefer a 110v jacuzzi pump over 12v system because I don't have to worry about air locks or pump failure. I also use circular tanks exclusively for the best water flow throughout the entire tank. My tanks fill and remove water throughout the water collum evenly - providing oxygen flow throughout as well as uniformed water exchange. The water flow is pumped in a clock wise direction so the baits swim in a counter clock wise direction. In the Southern hemisphere it would be the opposite. I also paint the interior of my tanks painted a dark grey / blue color and run a light above the tank not at the bottom. The dark interior of the tank calms the baits and the light above the tank makes the baits move to the bottom of the tank away from the light. In rough seas this prevents the baits from getting beat up on the surface water of the tank. In a sense, I try to make the bait tank environment as close as possible to the ocean environment, dark and familiar and with the sun above the water surface. Deck lights and or pole light positioned above the tank at night works the best. For these reasons I do not like aquarium windows in the sides of bait tanks. Ever see a bait tank in a commercial jig boat, party boat or bait boat with a bright white colored interior or lights shining up from the bottom of the tank or aquarium windows? There is a reason, and in it's not cost or cosmetics.

If you need more help on a design, email me your fax # and I can fax you a detailed tank design for a glass or aluminum tank and who can build it for you. Warning, having a custom tank built isn't cheap, but a good designed tank will save you money in the long run and provide you with primo conditioned bait to throw at hungry fish every season thereafter. Good luck and keep those baits healthy and happy.



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