Livewell Customization Tips

Make these simple modifications to keep bait alive longer

using live bait for fishing
Follow these tips to modify your livewell and slightly alter how you rig live bait.John Ashley

Capt. Marty Bates teams up with Capt. Olaf Grimkowski on the 36-foot Hatteras Xacara in Horta, Azores. Between the two of them, they have led many of their clients to record-breaking captures.

I was fortunate enough to watch these guys use their neat switch-and-bait techniques. They had cleverly modified the livewell to store a couple of big slimy mackerel in tubes, which not only keeps them alive but also provides quick access to the baits for the switch. They screwed two 4-inch diameter plastic tubes, long enough to hold these big mackerel, into the livewell. They wired a 1,500 gph bilge pump into the bottom of the well and ran a length of hose off the pump under the tubes to constantly circulate water through them. The system worked great, and the baits stayed alive for hours.

The other little trick Bates came up with stopped the bait from coming off the bridle after it’s been wiggling in the bait tube for hours on end. Bates winds a short length of fine copper wire onto the circle hook where the bridle is attached. When the bait is rigged and the end of the bridle is slipped back over the hook, he twists the copper wire tightly around both ends. This stops the bridle end from going anywhere.