How To Keep Bait Alive On The Pier (Live Bait Management)

One of your most valuable assets on the pier is LIVE BAIT.

But being up on the pier, it can be a challenge to keep your bait alive and contained so you can continue to set lively baits out all day long.

Active baits with signs of life are critically important to your success.

Here’s how you should manage your live bait when fishing from the pier!

How To Keep Bait Alive On The Pier [VIDEO]

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You can catch your own live bait from the pier and fish that way.

OR you can go the easier route and come prepared with live shrimp or live finfish.

Live shrimp is one of the best pier fishing baits for redfish, mangrove snapper, sheepshead, and others alike.

A pro tip is to bring your own live shrimp and then in between action you can try and catch other baitfish around the pier.

Live Bait Buckets

Live bait buckets with aerators are the easiest and best method for keeping live bait alive throughout the day.

The aerators on live bait buckets are designed to keep the water oxygenated so the shrimp stay alive longer.

More often than not, the live shrimp will die in hot water that sits out in the sun on the pier.

If the water your shrimp are in is getting too warm, then you can dump ice in there to cool it down.

You want to keep the water temperature on the cooler side.

Additionally, any live bait you catch while out on the pier can go right into a live bait bucket as well for use later on.

This will help keep your baits super lively when you go to put them on a hook.

Can You Put Live Shrimp & Finfish In The Same Bucket?

You can with certain baitfish but not with others.

Cigar minnows or mullet can go right in the same bucket as your live shrimp.

But I would recommend against putting pinfish or croakers in with the live shrimp.

These fish tend to eat the live shrimp when you mix them together.

BONUS: Pro Tip For Live Bait

On those brutally hot days, the water temperature in your bucket could heat up to dangerous levels and kill those shrimp.

For these situations, I recommend dropping in a Shrimp-Buddies tablet to maintain proper oxygen levels.

All you do is drop 1 or 2 in your bait bucket and it helps to oxygenate the water.

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Jerid Brown
1 year ago

One of the biggest killers of live bait besides heat, is the ammonia that is given off as waist or by dead bait in the bucket. The ammonia gets converted to nitrites which is turned into nitrates. The build up of nitrates in the water will kill more bait. Look up nitrogen cycle in an aquarium.

So this is what I do to keep bait alive for days at a time. First I use a Magellan/engle bait cooler with a bubbler because they are a little bigger than the bait buckets and they are insulated.

For the heat issue, I use frozen 20oz bottles of water with enough air in them to float when frozen. I also cut pool noodles to float on top to keep the frozen water bottle from sloshing back and forth smashing the live shrimp.

For the ammonia issue. I make sure to remove any dead shrimp or bait ASAP. I also use Seachem Prime to help neutralize the ammonia build up. Prime is used in aquariums and can be found at aquarium stores or online.

By maintaining a cooler water temp, keeping a good bubble raider for O2, and treating the water for the ammonia build up with Seachem Prime, I have been able to keep quarts of shrimp alive for entire weekends during the summer with very little to no water changes. Hope this helps.

Nick Christo
1 year ago

Thank you for the very professional tip. I’m definitely interested in seeing the course. Just a funny observation, I saw that big old sea turtle surface near the lower left corner of the screen at frame 1:43, that was a bonus, LOL.

A Rollins
1 year ago

In the winter, I often use wet paper towels and crushed ice in quart bags to keep shrimp instead of a bait bucket and bubbler on short fishing trips. I’ll store all of my shellfish baits this way, including big blue crabs.
When I do use a bucket and bubbler, it’s a 5-gallon bucket with a couple of frozen water bottles, and a fine netting for the shrimp to hold on to and rest. Shrimp can exhaust/stress themselves to death without something to recline on.

George Bland
1 year ago

There are many signed up for Salt Strong that are beginners in fishing. Any tips (no matter how elementary) are welcomed. If I was aware of the content of the tip – suspicion confirmed – and I go onto the next posting.

Bryan Carter
1 year ago

No way not to sound rude, so I apologize in advance, but this is silly. I got two emails today on this and to convince me of the value of this course you share a clip advising to use a livewell and not mix pinfish with shrimp. More videos like fishing cold fronts please…less like this… I cannot even begin to imagine any content in this course worth purchasing. Sorry again, not meant to be rude, just some candid feedback.

Allen Ayers
1 year ago
Reply to  Bryan Carter

wow, that was rude. Most of us are very grateful for the professionalism and hard work that go into making the mastery courses. I personally am excited to learn yet another way to fish. no reason to knock us beginner’s

Bryan Carter
1 year ago
Reply to  Wyatt Parcel

Hi Wyatt, appreciate the response. To the others, it was not meant as a slight to any beginner. We all need to learn to toughen up a bit. Beginners need not take offense when my comment was not directed at them. Still trying to find the value in the membership I purchased and this is not the content I am looking for. Thanks.

Barbara Stuart
1 year ago
Reply to  Bryan Carter

I am from the midwest and fishing on the Florida coast is a whole new game for me and any crumb of advice is greatly appreciated where ever it comes from. I have yet to take a course that I haven’t had to watch more than once to absorb all the tips and info. I could just google one topic at a time and get numerous videos from different sources and spend hours researching that topic. But the courses of SS have already been researched and tested by seasoned experienced people and save me time and money. I have learned so much about so many topics in such a short time. I am so glad to be a member and have access to all the resources SS has to offer.

George Davie
1 year ago

In the summer I put a frozen bottle of water in the bucket. It keeps the bait cool and doesn’t dilute the salt water.

1 year ago
Reply to  George Davie

For a bucket the size in the video, I use a mini-Dr Pepper bottle vs. 20 oz for example.

James Costello
1 year ago

We use an old cooler (personal size) that we got for free and drilled a hole in it for the bubbler. Add some ice on the real hot days and the bait holds up real well.

1 year ago

Make sure not to dump fresh water ice in the bucket. I believe the fresh water will kill the shrimp. I carry some quart baggies and put ice inside them and put in the bucket. Seems to work ok.

David Marquis
1 year ago

Great primer. Thanks

George Washington
1 year ago

Thanx. This just wets my appetite for this course.


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