live wells

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Active member
Oct 26, 2006
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Hi all!
Just signed up to the site, and will hopefully be the proud owner of a 2120 DVSC within the next few weeks/month. Anyway, thought I'd get a thread goin to see how other 21' owners cope with the live well issue. I fish in the Sandy Hook area of NJ, and in the early spring and late fall -Stripers are everywhere! Live lining bunker is the way to go, but that requires a large well. So, if anyone elses fishes with larger live baits, how do ya keep em alive with taking up the entire cockpit with a live well? Garbage can/washdown hose? Homemade bucket with pump?
I purchased a blemished tank from Kodiak,, and a dual purpose wash down/baitwell pump with replaceable cartridge. I have a rubber cushioning mat that I lay on the deck then place the well on top of it. The well does not move on deck when full. I ran the feed hose under the gunwale and have quick disconnects on the hose and tank. I have yet to cut a hole in the side of the boat for the discharge so the tank currently drains on the deck and out the scupper. When I'm not using it it stays at home and the hose keeps under the gunwale. Total cost was less than $300
I purchased a small garbage can from my local Home improvement store. Then I bought a bait pump from my local boat supply place. The pump has suction cups and they hold up ok. The pump connects to the battery with clips, and has a short discharge bar with holes. I mount it towards the top inside of the can. Last year it kept my bunkers alive for the entire day and I didn't need to flush out the can!

I have explored the washdown hook-up, but its not advisable to run that pump constantly. If anything, I may still do it, but only to flush the can every hour or two. It would be easy enough to make an intake and an out flow hole/hose. After reading up on it, its probably best to put the intake from the wash down at the top(for the occassional flush), and the dischatge at the bottom. This way the force of the new water forces all the gunk to the bottom. This force should be enough to flush the water out then up overboard.

Anyway, hope this helps. My new idea for this season is a homemade bait pen that can be built easily for under $25! It will save time catching bunker before my trips and the pen is small enough to tie to my dock. I'll find the adobe file and post. Its made from conduit, mesh screen and pool noodles!
mrfunandson":1bm4jiae said:
Mike D what was your solution?

Here was mine. About $50. Rubbermaid 20 Gal commerical trash can with lid. Kodiak live well kit. Keeps the deck unclutterd when not in use. Easy to clean and stow in garage. Water intake comes from live well pump. Exhaust feeds into scupper. Exhaust hose diameter fits snugly into scupper hole. No water on deck. Kit comes with end of day drain. Kepps fish alive all day long.


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Instead of conduit, I'm using 3/4Pex pipe. I'm also adding some reinforcement by using T connectors and adding vertical pipe to each side. I'll post picks when done... If not too embarrasing!


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I got beat up pretty good on another site for this, as a fellow fisherman suggested a pen full of dead bunker...

For the record, I am not out to waste, and I do all I can to protect our resources. While it is not uncommon for most fishermen to net several dozen bunker for bait, I do not! This is simply to save some time before fishing. I live close to my slip and have a tough time throwing the net alone. During the week after work, I plan to head out, find a school, and cast a treble hook. I only plan to keep 12-15 bunker in the pen, and save whtever is left over(crab-pots and such)!

Good luck all!
I'm impressed! That is quite a professional pdf file there. 8)
Well done!

BTW - Not sure why the folks on the other site got their panties in a bunch.
I think you did a great job.
MikeD":3j53gmmz said:

I got beat up pretty good on another site for this, as a fellow fisherman suggested a pen full of dead bunker...

This is simply to save some time before fishing. I live close to my slip and have a tough time throwing the net alone. Good luck all!

Thanks for for pic of the pen. I'm with you. Time is scarce. If I know that I'm going to go fishing within the next week, I drop a pinfish trap loaded with frozen sardines off the dock. Every day, when I get home from work, I unload the pinfish into a pen like the one you posted. By the timre I go fishing, I'll have 30-40 live baits ready to go. Drop em' in the live well and off I go! No wasted time netting or looking for bait.

Not sure why the other site would be blasting you for accumulating bait.
optimaxfish":3bvlmv84 said:
Ya got the right idea fishing w/live bait. Menhaden/bunker are not pinfish or minnows and have different requirements. Very hard to "stockpile" menhaden in a pen. As hard as it is sometimes, learn to be patient and learn to throw a proper net for fresh bunker. Get a good livewell.

For 8-12" menhaden figure 1 per gallon water.

A cheap trashcan is a poor substitute for a livewell, tips over easily. A wide open top will soak you everytime you try for a bait.

Get a high volume livewell pump. Washdown pumps are not made to run 8 hrs a day.

If you insist on making your own livewell, put the intake at bottom, discharge at top, A top intake, top discharge will not circulate water, your bait will be swimming in its' own pee and poop.

Put an angle fitting on the supply side to create a "current" in livewell.

Be sure your livewell is as "round" as possible and has no obstructions inside. Menhaden swim continously around the inside of livewell.

If you're serious, get an oxygen system installed.

A little trouble, but the rewards are consistently larger fish w/live bait.

These sound like the words on an experienced king-fisherman...who relies solely on Mercury power to get him to the fish and the weigh-in station quickly and reliably time and time again. :D
From the kodiak website, instructions on making your own livewell:

The fresh water inlet can be mounted at the top of your tank or close to the bottom. At KODIAK we believe the best way to introduce water is about 1" above the water line. The benefits include allowing debris to settle to the bottom, and reducing turbulence. Some may argue that if you put water in at the top and it comes out at the top, the bottom will remain stagnant. This is not the case. The water will still circulate thru out the entire water column. A look at most large scale aquariums such as those at SEA WORLD will show that they introduce water at or above the water line for the above mentioned reasons. The 1/2 " elbow is provided in your kit to divert the water inlet stream so the water does not shoot across the tank. When in position it should point so the water circulates in a counter clockwise manner.
I put the water in at the bottom so at the end of the day I just pull off the inlet feed ... and PRESTO ... it is now a drain :D ! Actually I put on a 2' section of 3/4" hose and direct right out the scupper tube ... no water on the deck.

FYI, I have a $250 Kodiak livewell for sale, 22-gallon, brand new ... 50% off, see the 4 Sale section.

I guess Kodiak, one of the leading manufacturers of baitwells, doesn't know what they are talking about. Good thing you set me straight :roll:
I'm glad he set me straight too. Its good to know that eventhough my live well works, its totally wrong -I guess?

I'm starting the pen this evening, but probably won't post pics with such a waste of time project. :lol: [/quote]