There are times when every angler uses live bait for bass fishing rather than using plastic baits and lures. Now, while baits and lures are very sophisticated these days and we always send you proven baits in our fishing subscription box, there’s some charm to using live crawfish or shad every now and then. Using baitfish is a great way to attract large bites but that also means that you need to keep your bait alive and fresh. How can you do that? Well, there are a few ways to this, but here at Tackle Monkey, we’ve put together a list of the best ways to keep your live bait fresh.

Why Keep Your Baits Alive

When it comes to catching bass, the reality is that big fish will eat little fish. When you understand this, fishing becomes a lot easier. It lets you make better decisions when choosing the right baits and lures to use when fishing, but it also lets you play around with different live baits. Unlike plastic baits and lures, live baits need to be kept alive for them to really work because it’s the squirming, flipping, and flopping that really attracts those bites! That being said, you can still find some pretty great

Choosing the Right Size Tank

When you’re looking for the right kind of “tank” to keep your baits alive, whether you’re using shad, crawfish, or minnows, you want to buy a tank that’s big enough for them to swim around in, but that also has enough oxygen in the water to keep the fish breathing! Now we’ve seen some pretty gnarly oxygen rigs that we’re not going to condone doing for safety reasons, but we definitely recommend going with a large cooler! If you “got it like that,” there are livewells on most bass fishing boats— but that’s a conversation for another time.

Minimal Obstructions in the Tanks

If you’re using live bait, they need to have enough room to swim in circles unobstructed, or else they won’t be live bait for very long. This means that a) you need a big enough tank depending on how much live bait you have and b) you want to make sure that you don’t leave anything in the tank. As mentioned above, we’ve seen some gnarly rigs for pumping oxygen into the water tanks, and while we don’t recommend that you want to be sure that there are no tubes, nets, or junk in the tank.

Water Flow Is Important!

Water flow is an important part of keeping the live bait alive. Keeping a steady flow of water creates the right environment for keeping bait alive and it cycles oxygen throughout the tank. There are specialty water pumps that you can purchase for under $20 that works great for keeping bait alive when you’re fishing from a Jon boat or kayak.