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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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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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Mack's are pretty hearty from my experience. Bunker on  the other hand, not much.

 

As others have said. Keep the water flowing with alot of oxygen. They will be good. For a 55 open water well,  you should be able to keep at least 20 alive with little issue. 

 

I usually drop a big bag of ice on top of water, keep ice in bag, helps keep water temps reasonable which increase saturation for healthier bait.

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You should be able to handle a good 4 dozen or more in the 55 gallon well.

 

As for the cooling of the livewell water I think this is more of a myth than anything else.  I tournament fished in FL for many years and never had issues related to water temp.  (I know the water is warm in FL, but, gogs caught in 200'+, at night, near the bottom are used to much cooler water than surface water in shallow where we might chase kings.

 

I also think that the floating jugs of ice provide little, if any cooling.  A good live well has the in flow at the bottom and over flow at the top.  Bottles of frozen water float, so there is little to no exposure to the ice until the water is on its way out.  The other factor is the rate of flow.  A standard Rule tournament live well pump has a rating of 500 - 1600 gph.  In a 55 gallon well that means the water turns over at least every 10 minutes and, sometimes in as little as every 3 minutes.  I'm not going to look up thermal dynamics calcs, but, I don't think that the surface area of 5 2l bottles of frozen water provide enough cooling to noticeably change the temp of 55 gallons of water in 10 minutes.

 

One thing that makes a big difference in improving live well baiting keeping ability is adding extra oxygen to the water.  You can get really fancy and buy an oxygen kit with a cylinder and regulator (big $$$) or go for the low tech venturi style air inductor.  The venturi style has a small line that runs into the feed and draws in air.  Using this type of system, I have driven 8 dozen gogs up 95 from Miami to Ft Lauderdale with only recirculated water, and air bubbles added through the venturi.

 

Sam

 

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On 6/26/2018 at 3:26 PM, sams said:

You should be able to handle a good 4 dozen or more in the 55 gallon well.

 

As for the cooling of the livewell water I think this is more of a myth than anything else.  I tournament fished in FL for many years and never had issues related to water temp.  (I know the water is warm in FL, but, gogs caught in 200'+, at night, near the bottom are used to much cooler water than surface water in shallow where we might chase kings.

 

I also think that the floating jugs of ice provide little, if any cooling.  A good live well has the in flow at the bottom and over flow at the top.  Bottles of frozen water float, so there is little to no exposure to the ice until the water is on its way out.  The other factor is the rate of flow.  A standard Rule tournament live well pump has a rating of 500 - 1600 gph.  In a 55 gallon well that means the water turns over at least every 10 minutes and, sometimes in as little as every 3 minutes.  I'm not going to look up thermal dynamics calcs, but, I don't think that the surface area of 5 2l bottles of frozen water provide enough cooling to noticeably change the temp of 55 gallons of water in 10 minutes.

 

One thing that makes a big difference in improving live well baiting keeping ability is adding extra oxygen to the water.  You can get really fancy and buy an oxygen kit with a cylinder and regulator (big $$$) or go for the low tech venturi style air inductor.  The venturi style has a small line that runs into the feed and draws in air.  Using this type of system, I have driven 8 dozen gogs up 95 from Miami to Ft Lauderdale with only recirculated water, and air bubbles added through the venturi.

 

Sam

 

Cooling the live well is not a myth at all. It's a fact that cooler water holds more O2. You make a good point about the rate of flow though. I suppose it depends more on how powerful your pump is and your tank design. In a self-contained live well with no circulation, I'd argue that water temp is one of the most important variables.

 

The baits are definitely livelier when the water is cool water. Whether that is due to the ocean being cool or artificially cooling the tank. I have a small tank I keep in the back of my truck when I'm down in FL. If I don't put the frozen water bottles in, the baits die.

 

On the boat we have a circulation system and an aerator. We'll use both simultaneously if we have a lot of baits.

 

An O2 system isn't exactly big money. You can get a full setup for ~$200. Then you just have to pay for the gas.

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I have caught macs around this time of year out a bit from shore where the water is cooler, caught what I needed and then went to fish a river. Always noticed how they got sluggish while we were in warmer water and how they "revived" if we ventured out again.

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