Bait Tanks.

Your Bait Tank is the most important piece of equipment you can have fishing if you use Live Bait.
If you are a weekender or everyday guide the right selection of a bait tank can make or brake your fishing trips.

Ben Sanders author of Arkansasstripers and a Lake Ouachita Striper Guide recommends Grayline Bait Tanks.
As a Striper Guide I have been using the same Grayline 50 gal. tank for over 15 years and the original tanks are still in use and are still doing the job.
Ben Sanders / 2019

You want the bait tank filter to:

  • Remove deadly organic matter to keep water clear & odor down.
  • Remove ammonia which causes stress and kills your bait.
  • Remove scales and other debris from water.
  • Have a scale screen.
  • Easy access for cleaning and changing filters and screens.

The Airation / Circulation pump should:

  • Keep the water flow at proper speed for the size of tank you use.
    • You don't want to have too fast of a flow or you will wear the shad out.
      Try for a steady gentle flow.
      In some setups the aeration will create enough circulation.
  • Be easy to access for maintenance.
  • Be dependable.

Tips When Catching Bait and your trying to keep them alive.

Use a separate holding basket outside your boat or a bucket from the bank to keep your shad in before transferring to the transportation tank. Shad should be dropped from a throw net as gentle and as quick as possible into a culling basket or a tub containing water where you can cull unwanted baits, loose scales, and other debris.

This will help your shad do better, keep your tank cleaner and reduce having to clean the filter material as often. Also it will give you a chance to pick the size bait you want, and discard the weaker looking shad rather than wasting tank space on poor quality baits.

When culling out of the holding basket, use a small net instead of your hands to place the choice baits into the tank water and don't crowd the net. Handle as gently as possible so as not to disturb the slime coat and knock scales off.

If you use a transport tank to hold your shad before transferring to your main holding tanks, add salt to reduce scale loss and stress. If you use the same bait tank to fish out of that you use to catch and keep your bait  "Don't just dump" fresh caught shad from the net directly into your bait tank.

If you use tap water, be sure to include a de-chlorinating chemical.
If foam forms on the surface of the water in your tank the foam will rob the water of oxygen transfer.
Foam can be removed by adding a Foam-off product. Coffee creamer will work if you have to.
 "Remember foam is an indication of poor water quality find out the reason and fix it."

When adding bait to a tank, keep count of the number of fish. Never over populate your tank with a bushel basket catch dropped directly into the tank. This results in a congested tank and over-contaminated water and beat up bait. Bait will die quickly because contaminates (scales and debris ect.) enter the bait's mouth while breathing and lodge on the gills, preventing them from receiving oxygen.
Remember the larger the bait, the smaller the numbers that can be kept.
A good 30 gallon tank will keep 15-20 6" baits and 24-30  4" baits.

The preferred temperature for shad is 62 - 65 degrees. In hot summer months adding ice to the water after the bait is caught will work. Gradually bring the temp down by adding one jug at a time to avoid thermal shock. For your ice use gallon jugs filled from your treated water so as not to add chlorine from commercially bought ice.

A simple thermometer can be used to accurately monitor the water temperature.

Running a solution of baking soda and water through the pump will help remove odors from your bait tanks.

Circular pond areas are estimated by the formula:

To calculate the surface area of a round tank:
Area =3.14 x radius2 (Radius is one-half the diameter.) For example, a circular pond with a radius of 75 feet has an area of 17,663 square feet (3.14 x75x 75)or 0.4 acres. The radius can be measured directly or the diameter can be divided by 2. A measurement of the diameter in several directions will  help to determine if the pond is truly circular.


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c/6 2019

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Keeping Shad Alive

How Many Shad Can I Keep?

Keeping Live Bait - Alive and Active

Bait Tanks

Aeration in Bait Tanks

Bait Tank Water Conditioning

Bait Tank Water Conditioning

Live Bait Tank Water Filtration

Biological Filtration for Bait Tanks

Bio-Wheel Biological Filtering System

Chemical Live Bait Tank Water Filtration

Mechanical Live Bait Tank Water Filtration

Dissolved Oxygen and Shad

Salt and Shad

Live Bait and Bait Rigs For Stripers

Live Wells for Stripers

Shad Keeper

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Morone saxatilis

Bait Tanks