If the tide is running strong and your bait is drowning, these steps can help you:
- Hook your bait through the clear part of the nostril, from side to side, it can swim more freely and naturally this way, especially in a strong tidal current. Not from bottom lip/jaw to top or top to bottom this will just kill your bait quickly.
- When the bait is tossed up tide, keep your bail open and feed the line off the spool to let the bait swim freely with the tide. It will not only live longer, but the presentation of the bait to the tarpon is much more natural.
- Add a split shot or two to the bait to slow the bait down in the tide.
Of course there are times that our bait is going to die quicker then others due to the condition of the bait and the strength of the tide. If this is the case, just keep changing baits more often.
These tips will help you have a healthier and more livelier bait:
- A correctly set up bait well. The right size and shaped baitwell tank. Round and oval tanks only!!!!
- The right sized baitwell pump for the size of the baitwell tank your using. Most anglers go with a large bait well pump like 1200 gph. If that is in a 20 gallon baitwell, you are just drowning your bait. The current will push them to hard, tire them out and possible drown them. Just as a 300 gph baitwell pump will not move enough water and oxygen in and out of the baitwell and your bait will die. The pump should also be correctly placed at the bottom of the baitwell at the correct angle to be effective.
- Cast netting your bait also can hurt your bait some as the net takes the slime coat off the bait and can damage some of them also. Try to drop the bait from your net, right into your baitwell without letting the weights land on the bait. You can also empty your bait into a large basket, then slide the bait from the basket to the baitwell.
- Sabiki the bait and use a de-hooker to drop them right into the baitwell.
- Try not to handle the bait, only touching the one your going to hook.
- Keeping your baitwell from over heating. When the water temps get high, add some ice. Don't add ice from your cooler or cubes from your sink. They might contain some added chemicals like chlorine or fluoride. This could harm your bait.
- Freeze some water contained in a bottle and slowly place them in the well one at a time, bringing the water temperature down gradually. If you bring the water temperature down to quickly, you will also harm or kill your bait.
- There are some additives that you can add to your well, too, like Shad-Keeper.
What this does is remove ammonia/chlorine and other heavy metals, adds electrolytes, removes harmful surface foam, keeps the baits slime coat healthy, enhances oxygen content and actually hardens the baits scales.
After all keeping your bait frisky and healthy definitely means more catching than fishing!!!!
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