6 Tips To Keep Your Bait Alive Longer (And Catch MORE FISH)


Want to keep your bait alive longer, while also having it be more lively and active when you’re ready to toss it out?

Most people aren’t taking proper care of their bait after they buy or catch it, and it’s causing them to miss out on fish.

A lively pinfish, mullet, or shrimp will attract more fish than a dead or dying one.

So if you use live bait, then you’ve got to see these tips to keep your bait alive longer.

Check them out in the video below!

6 Tips To Keep Your Bait Alive Longer [VIDEO]

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Tip #1: Store your bait in a cooler

One reason that baitfish die is that the water gets too hot for them.

Bait coolers (like this Engel live bait cooler) help regulate the temperature and stop the water from overheating.

Even if you use a regular cooler with an aerator in it, it’s still better than a normal 5-gallon bucket that easily overheats.

And speaking of the water getting too hot…

Tip #2: Put an ice pack in the water during the summer

Having a frozen water bottle or ice pack is another way to keep the water cool.

Just be sure to keep the ice contained so that it doesn’t dilute the saltwater.

Tip #3: Use an aerator to keep oxygen levels high

Aerators or bubblers are helpful for keeping oxygen in the water.

Even if you have a livewell in your boat, the extra oxygen from an aerator can help.

Tip #4: Don’t dip your hands into the bait bucket

When you need to get bait out of the bucket, use a small net.

Your hands might have sunblock, fuel, oil, or other chemicals on them that could get into the water and kill your bait.

Tip #5: Use a water conditioner

Water conditioners like this Pogey-Croaker Saver remove ammonia and odors from the water.

When the baits are doing their business in the bucket and then sitting in it, it’s definitely not helping their health.

Tip #6: Replace the water throughout the day

Bringing in fresh water (not freshwater) can help keep the water clean and full of oxygen.

This is where bait coolers with the plugs on the bottom really come in handy because you can pull the plug and let out the water from the bottom (the dirtiest water) and add in new water.

I like to keep a cup or small bucket handy so that I can easily add in new water.


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By practicing the tips above, you’ll be able to keep your bait alive longer, while also having it be more lively when you toss it out.

And this one simple step to catching more fish.

Have any questions about the tips above?

Or do you have any other tips to keep your bite lively?

Let me know down in the comments below.

And please TAG or SHARE this with your live bait friends!

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Nicholas G
5 months ago

Great tips. I also will suggest adding structure in cooler to assist with calming the baits. I just use a few rocks from shore, but adding some place to hide is proven to keep baits stress levels down and aid in reducing stress hormone release and causing other baits to be upset as well. I love the round Frabill 4822 Insulated Bait Bucket with rechargeable air pump and 1 Inch Air Stone. I like to put this inside a 5 gal bucket with lid when transporting. I throw some frozen water bottles on and close lid when I need to make some stops to check my minnow traps. And as you mention, I change water throughout day by just adding on top 16.9oz of clean fresh or salt [costco water bottles from cooler.] I use a Frabill 3047 Floating Dip Net I add a carabinner clip to to hang on bucket. And yes I am looking at my amazon history to help here lol. I keep dozens of good chunkers alive for several days doing this and save on bait costs when not using artificials. I have this in my suv in South Florida summer heat, and just a cracked window, the double bucket trick and ice bottle will get you through your workday and allow you to be ready for magic hour.

Eric Zamora
Eric Zamora
3 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Nicolas, what brand/style of bait traps do you use? Have you every tried to catch pinfish, croakers, or mojarra in bait traps?

1 year ago

How much of (pogey croaker saver) do i add on the same size of cooler you showed in the video.. because i have the same size and same brand… how much water and how much adjetive

Eric Zamora
Eric Zamora
3 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Unfortunately, the pogey croaker saver product isn’t available on Amazon. Any suggestion on comparable versions made by the same company or suggestions on other brands? I’m still looking as well…

Jonathan Getz
2 years ago

Great tips Tony!

Little late to the party, but having a mesh bag or something similar helps with shrimp living longer. Shrimp like to have something to “sit on” (like grass stalks) instead of continuously swimming. They sell specialized mesh bags for bait buckets, but there’s cheaper options (like even particular pieces of paper/plastic trash you would otherwise throw away).

Last edited 2 years ago by Jonathan Getz
Gary Hartge
2 years ago

Solid tips Tony. I will go to the bait shop the night before (sometimes as they are just receiving an order ) and keep my bait alive overnight doing what you just described. Once the boat is in, I pour them into my live well. Saves a lot of time in the morning. I have never used an additive, but what you and Andy described sounds like a solid step.

Andy Hong
2 years ago

If you want to keep your bait alive for more than a day, use Instant Ocean to make your own saltwater. I keep live shrimp at home for a week, and all it takes is about 5 minutes a day to pull out any dead shrimp and molted skins, and then replace a third of the water in the bait cooler with saltwater made from Instant Ocean.

Just under 7 tablespoons of Instant Ocean added to a gallon of filtered tap water will result in saltwater with a salinity of 26 PPT, which is the salinity that my local tackle store keeps its bait-tank water. (Ocean water is 35 PPT.)

If you’re a Salt Strong Insider, here’s my step-by-step tutorial with some additional tips on keeping shrimp alive at home:

How to keep shrimp alive at home with almost no effort, so you can fish any day of the week

Andy Hong
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo


A Rollins
2 years ago

What about adding too many baits to the container or mixing baits to create a toxic environment?

A Rollins
2 years ago

Why not add a heat pack to the cooler during the winter?

Robert Spence
2 years ago

Do shrimp survive if you replace water from the bait shop with brackish canal water?

Stephen Freeman
2 years ago

An ounce or so of hydrogen peroxide will keep bait alive and lively.

Marty Weibelhaus
2 years ago

What can I use when Puffer fish are biting my plastics in half every other cast in Tampa Bay?

Luke Simonds
2 years ago

You either need to change spots or switch to a hard bait that they can’t bite… they totally wreck soft plastics.

Last edited 2 years ago by Luke Simonds


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