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We have a new live well 55 Gallon - open system

 

whats the general rule on number of mackerel per gallon in a live well...

 

thanks!

 

 

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Macks... no idea... but for bunker it is 1 fish per gallon and you should be fine.  I would assume it to be higher for macks.  With 55 gallons you should have the room for all the bait you need for a day of fishing. 

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macs can be finiky - esp depending on the size.  do not overfill.  water flow / turnover is very important.  if its a long ride between your macs and your fishing i’d keep it to the less is more (like 20) and if all goes well with a batch gradually up the count some til you know how macs do in your tank.

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Posted (edited)

Personally, I think that mackerel are some of the hardiest baits in New England. Herring, squid, whiting, etc are way easier to kill.

 

Live well science is actually pretty complicated because you have so many variables. Water temp, oxygen saturation, species, size of bait, toxin/waste build up. There are also different methods for running the bait well. You can go with aeration, live well pump, pure oxygen tank, re-circulation, or a combination, etc.

 

The trick to keeping a lot of bait alive is the following:

 
First, always chill your bait well with frozen water bottles. The surface water (where your pump is pulling from) is exponentially warmer than just a few feet down. Cold water can hold a lot more oxygen. Think of it like air. Warm air can hold more humidity than cold air. Relative humidity is relative to temperature. Frozen bottles are way better than cubes because ice contains chemicals that can affect the bait. Also, it can lower salinity.

 

Second, make sure you have enough oxygen. Technically, you can put as many baits in a well as can fit provided the oxygen is there and the waste buildup is flushed out. Some species may not do as well overcrowded though because they breathe by swimming.

 

Third, make sure the ammonia is getting flushed out. When fish are caught and put in the tank, they stress out and defecate in the tank. Also, dead ones release waste. If the toxin build up is high (especially if you have aeration) it will kill your baits regardless of how much oxygen you have.

 

Fourth, make sure you don't have turbulent airflow or current in the tank. Too much current/air will kill the baits by removing the slime coat. You know you have an issue when you start finding this nasty brown foam at the top of the tank. That's from the proteins on the fish getting frothed up. You can over aerate but you can't over saturate.

 

In my opinion, the best way to keep them alive is with a pure oxygen tank, regulator, and low pressure ceramic diffuser. Just make sure you have some sort of aeration (could be from movement of a boat) so CO2 can escape.  In a stationary bait well, you'll need to run an aerator occasionally or they will still die.

 

I can keep a couple dozen mullet alive in a 5 gallon bucket for a long time.

Edited by GooganFish

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