Gear for Your Boat: Live Bait Tanks and Cutting Boards
Good gear can help you catch fish.
Dead bait often doesn’t cut it. Using live bait, whether it is worms or yabbies, or slimy mackerel, will usually be a more reliable bait. So we need to keep our live bait alive! Worms will usually last in their tub for a weekend, so long as they don’t dry out. Live prawns or yabbies will often last in a bucket – sometimes a portable aerator will help them last longer. But for larger bait fish, nothing beats a live bait holding tank built into your boat.
A live bait tank can be fitted after market, or by the manufacturer. They come in all sizes – round, square, tall, or short – and are plumbed so that the tank water can be constantly recycled at the flick of a switch.
Ensuring the bait stays alive all day is also important. Your success will depend on the size of the tank relative to the bait (a tank too small for lots of larger bait fish will not work). You will also need to ensure that the water continues to be recycled even when the boat is underway.
Live bait for marlin fishing, such as a small tuna, are often kept in individual tubes. The bait is rigged up and ready to go, and placed head first into an individual tube that is constantly pumped with seawater to keep it alive.
Similar to live bait tanks, a bait cutting board can be installed by the manufacturer or can be installed later. But having somewhere to cut up baits, rig lures and lines, and keep your implements from sliding around the boat is vital. So a bait cutting board is usually one of the first things that go into a boat. They are usually installed at the stern, particularly so that the blood and guts off the board can be washed off the back and into the berley bucket easily, but positioned so as not to interfere with the tilt of the motor.
There are a range of different designs, made from different materials, but primarily you will need a place for your implements (knives, grippers and pliers) and make sure that the board can drain properly. The back of the board can also be a convenient place to mount a few more rod holders.
Make sure the board is mounted high enough to make working at it comfortable.
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