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DoorGunner

Keeping minnows (killies) healthy.

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Think I did this before but here goes again. For a few years I commercially caught and sold live minnows in South Jersey. Anywhere from 15 to 27 gallons per day and thats just minnows, no water when you measure them out. There are a few simple tricks to taking care of and a few simple rules that we are forced to follow with minnows.

 

These containers have held and killed more minnows than most of us will ever see in our lifetime.

Frabill Flow Troll Minnow Bucket, 6-qt

 

They are great but can be made even better with just a little work. 

 

Most fisherman purchase minnows by the pint or quart and walk away with a half container of water and a bunch of minnows on death row. Within a short period of time (less than an hour) we will begin loosing minnows to oxygen deprivation as they suck every bit of oxygen out of the water. They are literally suffocating in water.

 

Customers would come in the purchase minnows then come back at the end of the day complaining that when they stopped to fish they were all dead. Asked how far they had traveled and would say to the reef or out the Delaware Bay and never stopped to change the water. You could see the answer in their faces when I asked, where their gills flared out and their mouths wide open. Suffocation. Minnows are tough fish but a bunch cramped in a small container of water means sure death. We need to stop and frequently change water to arrive with the minnows in the best possible shape.

 

Minnows actually do better cool and damp then in dead water. Don't leave the minnow bucket out in direct sunlight while on the move. Better to dump all the water and just leave them shaded and damp. My minnow bucket to make sure all the water drains out.

IMG_7886.JPG.97081d54dfdb7252b995ca5500d27828.JPG

 

Plus if I return to the dock with minnows leftover they will be in much better shape for the next trip because water can flow in at the top and right out the bottom keeping better water flowing through. From the factory there are holes in the front and back but the current isn't flowing that way so you don't get a good constant change of water. Holes in the bottom and it flows right in and right out. 

 

Probably even before some get to this point they are already posting about minnows in a cooler with ice all day. Does work but have you ever noticed how dark they are when you take one out? Also in a cooler with ice the temp has to be in the 30's and then you put one on a hook and drop it into 70 degree water. That is a huge shock to fish and if you ever had tropical fish you know the first rule when introducing new fish. Place the bag in the aquarium so the water has time to match up with the aquarium water temp. 

 

We have to take care of these little critters because they catch the big critters. When your on your way out to the fishing grounds don't forget about the minnows. An occasional stop for new water isn't much to ask and it will give you the best live bait when you reach your promised waters.      

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 DG   Once you drill the holes in the bottom, you could get a 5 gal bucket and place the Minnow bucket inside to refresh them in travel.

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So many times I've forgot the minnow pot was hanging over the side of the boat when moving to another spot. Amazing I've never lost one that way. 

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