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SUBJECT: # 37244: Keeping Large Mullet Alive In 17 Gallon Live Well???

Submitted by Dave ( from DELAWARE on 4/3/02 10:24:00 PM

Hi, I have been haveing a problem with my new live well. I have a 17 gallon oval live well that has a 700 GPH pump that sucks in water and dumps it over through a over flow.I can keep large crocker,small trout and spot alive all day.So last May i towed my boat to the keys to do some tarpon fishing.It was very rough and i couldn't find the large mullet to cast net.So i had to pay for them at 30$ a dozen. I dumped in the bait and after 2 or 3 hours they started to die and only six would live. So i can only take 6 at a time. The main answear to my Question is get a bigger live well but i have a small boat and i dont have the room.So what do you think about {1} getting a 1500 gph pump to turn more water {2} keep the 700GPH pump and add airater to add more Oxygen to the water or {3} install a Oxygen system that my friend has that is made for bait tanks??? Or is the tank just to small for the Mullet and if it is then why can i keep other large baits alive by the dozen?? Any info on this would be very helpfull Thanks Dave

  1. 4/3/02 11:09:00 PM Submitted by Speck-Tacular ( from LOUISIANA says How big
    HOw big of mullet are we talking about. The large mullet I use here for tuna are 2-4 pounds each and in a 30 gallon livewell you can only put a dozen or so at most. Remember its not always the quantity of the bait but the quality. a half dozen healthy baits is a lot better then 2 dozen alive but weaker baits.

  2. 4/3/02 11:09:00 PM Submitted by Mikey ( from FLORIDA says Dave...
    Does your pump feed in the bottom and the overflow go out the top? It should be plumbed in this manner. Mullet are harder than most to keep alive.

    Mike in P'cola

  3. 4/4/02 8:55:00 AM Submitted by Bullfish ( from TEXAS says Dave, why do you think your bait died in Florida?
    Ouch, had no idea that in Florida, 1 mullet cost $2.50. Do other fishermen have high bait mortality like you did. In my area, I think bait dealers really like to see that bait die early on in the fishing trip. Fishermen return to the bait store, buy more bait and the cycle continues all summer. The bait dealer is steady hauling profits to the bank.

    Selling livebait is a very profitable business. The initial cost of livebait seems high, that doesn't count the replacement cost for all the bait that died before you get to the fishing spot, all summer. Keeping it alive in the summer has always been a fishermans nightmare and continues for most fishermen to date.

    It's interesting that fish hatcheries haul live fish all around the country in water tanks on traylers and have very little fish kill if any. They grow and haul live fish for a living and it's essential that they keep them healthy and alive.

    One thing for sure, the hatchery staff does not haul live fish like the average fisherman hauls fish. Hatcheries use compressed oxygen for hauling whereas, fishermen attempt to oxygenate their livewell water with a mechanical aerator or rule water pump or an air compressor and bubble rock. Air is mad of mostly nitrogen (80%), air doesn't have much O2 in it. Air only contains 1/5 O2 or 20% by volume.

    For some real professional guidence on transporting live baitfish, you may want to contact one of your local state or federal fish hatcheries and ask one of the fishery biologist (hatchery manager) how they haul fish professionally. Contacting a fish hatchery manager on-line only takes a moment. Good luck keeping them alive this summer and great fishing.

  4. 4/4/02 9:19:00 AM Submitted by GeorgeP from GEORGIA says Aerators, Tempreture & Fish
    First there is a direct correlation between your bait living and the temperature of the water. Take some plastic cola bottles, fill with water and freeze. Put one in the live well and you will be surprised at how much better your bait last. Don't put block ice in, as the chlorine will kill the bait.

    Second, is how you put Oxygen into the water. I have a KeepAlive air pump from "". They also sell the pure oxygen system, but I have been real happy with my Keepalive air pump. Go to the site and watch their movie of the pump in operation. They didn't fake anything.

    Third is the rotation of the water. If the water is not changed out from top to bottom then ammonia will accumulate and that will kill the bait real fast.

  5. 4/4/02 8:40:00 PM Submitted by Louis croom ( from NORTH CAROLINA says live bait
    This is a catch 22. you have to make your mind up, if you plan to fish large live bait and you want to cary more bait you need more water and room, i spend a lot of time in the water fishing king mackerial tournaments, we learn from our mistakes. take a hot day you got $1000 out, bait is rare as hair on a frog's ass and you finaly find them boy's, you through the cast net float it up keep in mind you have a 40gal. live well with 950 rule pumping it's butt off, you put more than 25 or 30 bait's in the well guss what ? you will be back looking for more soon, and that's poggies, mullet are tuff to keep anyway i would put no more than 15 in a 40 gal well. if your well is 17gal. they are nose to tail across the tank. there for the circuler motion in the tank is drowning the fish. if they are two lbs like you say they are. if your live well has no motion in it that's also a big problem. the bait will nose up to the side, not to good you know how fast they swim, you are cutting back all that water from crossing there gill's to. put a 90 on the supply line to give them direction to swim this will help alot.then figure on a hot day 2gals. water per. bait that sounds like a lot of water per bait but on a hot day it's not. put your self in a car with 14 people on a 90deg. day roll the windows almost all the way up then lite up a cigarette to take the place of the soap, outboard oil, and old fish slim in the tank, that,s about what they are going through. more water,less bait this is a standerd rule of fishing live bait, remember more lively better looking bait will produce bigger, older ,smarter fish. hope it helps

  6. 4/4/02 9:49:00 PM Submitted by Dave ( from DELAWARE says Mullet
    Well from what i just heard i thought i was right.More water for more bait no matter what. the only thing i wasn't thinking about was the temp of the water.60 degree water and 85 degree are worlds apart.So I eather get a bigger tank to hold more bait or be happy with the 6 strong mullet to get my tarpon. Thanks everyone for your help. Dave

  7. 4/6/02 8:32:00 AM Submitted by Bullfish ( from TEXAS says George P. Speaking of safety issues, fire hazards and KeepAlive rigs.
    Checked out the KeepAlive/oxygen site. You may want to read up on homemade O2 tank systems regarding safety and use, it could save your life. Couldn't find anything about safety etc. about pure O2 and electrical devices on the keepalive site, but they offer no information about using pure O2.

    It's dangerous to operate any electrical devices in an oxygen enriched environment (livewell) at the same time.

    This oxygen rig Keepalive advertises on their web site is made with medical equipment, another no-no according to the FDA. I believe you need a doctors prescription for this medical O2 set up. Check out this information about emergency medical O2 equipment. More potiential danger, so be very careful what you choose to put on your boat.

    Be educated, be smart and be safe; it's a fisherman beware world out there and salesmen will tell you anything to make a sell, especially boat salesmen and fishing products salesmen.

  8. 4/7/02 1:46:00 PM Submitted by JasonM ( from ALABAMA says Two possible benefits of cooling off your livewell water.
    1. The colder the water, the more oxygen it holds.

    2. Colder water slows the baits' metabolism, meaning they need less oxygen and they make less waste.(Although I'm barely educated guessing this one).

    I know there are tournament king mackeral anglers in these parts who stay up all night the night before they fish regualrly dumping bags of ice in their livewells to keep their precious live bait frisky.

  9. 4/8/02 2:10:00 PM Submitted by GeorgeP from FLORIDA says Oxygen
    I understand Bullfish, the KeepAlive unit I use is the areorater that adds plain old air to the water. The only reason I mentioned their Oxygen unit, was that was part of the original question.

  10. 4/9/02 7:58:00 AM Submitted by Bullfish ( from TEXAS says The higher the metabolism - the more entergetic the bait.
    High metabolism is good, if you want the liveliest bait fish or shrimp. Anything that slows metabolism, ie. inducing hypothermia with ice in the livewell, tranquilizing drugs, etc. make bait lethargic and druged.

    Fishery biologist actually measure fish metabolism with swimming studies similar to the way metabolism is measured in people. People exercise on a treadmill and breath oxygen. All the exhaled gas is saved and contained and the O2 concentration is measured again. The difference between the inhaled O2 concentration minus the exhaled concentration is the rate of metabolism. Measuring metabolism is streight forward and accurate.

    Metabolism is a measurment of total cellular oxygen uptake, the more oxygen any organism uses up, the higher the metabolism. Metabolism is all about the amount of oxygen a fish or a person can utilize per minute, the more the better.

    For cold blooded fish, metabolism is CONTROLLED by water temperature and LIMITED by the availability of dissolved O2 in that water. Air or areators produce very little O2, only 20% or 1/5 of it is O2. The rest of it (80%) is nitrogen or filler gas.

    Some mechanical aeration systems produce a cloud of very tiny bubbles that will supersaturate livewell water with nitrogen, not oxygen. Nitrogen supersaturation causes something akin to the bends or gas bubble disease and kills bait just like the bends kill and mames sport divers. If the tiny bubbles remain in suspension in that livewell water and make the water look milky, use caution and be aware of potiential gas bubble disease.

    Search for (fish,nitrogen supersaturation,gas bubble disease) for more information about this problem caused by some mechanical aerators.

    Bottom line, if you want high quality live bait, you want a bait with high metabolism, not low metabolism. The trick is to insure plenty of O2, not plenty of air.

  11. 4/9/02 9:20:00 AM Submitted by GrinMachin ( from FLORIDA says no way
    A 17 gal well can keep hardly even one 2 lb mullet in good shape no matter how much water you pump through it. Is this 17 gallon well square shaped as well. Get a ChemTainer round plastic live well of at least 30 gallons and a 700 gal pump will work fine to keep about eight to ten 2 lbers alive. The 50 gallon round is the absolute superior live well, but it's kind of large to find a spot in most boats to put it. Round is best, oval is ok, square is good for shrimp. Big baits need to be able to swim around just like the smaller ones and the less they bump into, the better they look when you get them out to use them. Mullet are good at beating themselves up in the livewell. Don't get one of those tall live wells, or your defeating the whole purpose. Short and wide, so the bait can swim around instead of up and down is best.

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