Fishing with live bait is one of the best methods anglers can use to lure in hungry game fish. So, we are about to share our tips on keeping bait alive on your next fishing trip. Whether you’re using a container of worms or minnows, we’ll teach you four different ways to keep them lively. Thus, don’t let your next trip get spoiled by having your bait die and follow these four tips.

What To Do If Your Bait Dies?

If your live bait dies, then you can:

Things You Might Need To Keep Bait Alive

Next, here are some things you can purchase that’ll help keep your bait alive:

  • Live baitwell
  • Dip net for your baitwell
  • Cooler
  • Bait bucket
  • Portable aerator
  • Worm farm box

We’ll explain the purpose of each of these items in further detail when we list our four tips below.

How To Keep Bait Alive on Your Next Fishing Trip

Tip #1: Keep Your Worms Cool and Oxygenated

    Magic Bait Worm Farm

Magic Worm Farm box with bedding and worm food to store live bait worms against a white background.
    Magic Bait's Worm Farm kit is a great starter kit you can use at home or out on the water!

Nothing is worse than when you get to your spot and open up your container of worms to find they’re lethargic and hardened. So, what are some easy tricks you can do to keep those slimy nightcrawlers from turning over? Here are some things you can do to lengthen your worms’ lifespan:

First, you need to keep your worms oxygenated. Often, worms will pass in small containers from the tackle shop because they don’t have enough oxygen. So, to get more air flowing to your worms, try putting them in a more suitable container. For example, we like the Magic Bait’s worm farm box. Magic Bait’s kit comes with a worm box, 1.5-pounds of bedding, and 4-ounces of food.  Plus, you can fit several dozen worms in the box, and you can easily store them in a refrigerator or cooler.

Then, it is essential to store your worms somewhere cool. For example, it is best practice to keep your worm container out of direct sunlight. Or, you can also store your worm container in a cooler with a small pack of ice. Here are the ideal temperatures for each bait worm species:

  • Canadian nightcrawlers and baby crawlers: 40 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit
  • European nightcrawlers: 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Redworms: 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit

Tip #2: Store Your Minnows in Chilled, Fresh Water

In comparison, like worms, you should also store minnows somewhere cool and uncrowded. Specifically, your minnows’ water temperature should stay around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, here are some practices you can follow to keep your minnows lively:

  • Storing your minnows in a live bait well or bucket
  • Using a portable aerator to keep your minnows’ water fresh
  • Placing ice cubes in your minnow container
  • Keeping your minnow container under shade or in a cooler

Tip #3: Purchase a Live Baitwell

    Frabill Magnum Bait Station

Frabill Magnum Live Baitwell against a white background.
    Frabill's Magnum Live Baitwell is a 30-quart cooler with a dual aeration system.

Next, baitwells, like the Frabill Magnum, are an excellent piece of equipment that helps keep fish or shrimp alive. For example, a Livewell works by pumping clean water in and out of the tank. So, this constant flow of water helps keep the water fresh and oxygenated. Some fishing boats already have a built-in Livewell; however, there are also portable options on the market too.

Tip #4: Build Your Own Portable Baitwell

Or, if you need an affordable, portable, and easy option for keeping bait alive, consider building a Livewell. Constructing a baitwell is more simple than it sounds. For instance, the items you’ll need are:

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Aerator
  • Drill

So, when building a live baitwell, any old 5-gallon bucket will get the job done. However, I like this insulated bait bucket by Flambeau Outdoors. The insulation on this bucket is excellent, and it helps regulate the temperatures inside, so it stays cool. Then, as far as aerators go, I like this single bubbler by Frabill.

Now, follow these instructions on how to build a Livewell:

  1. First, drill a hole on the side of your 5-gallon bucket a couple of inches below the lid. Only drill a hole big enough to feed your air hose through.
  2. Then, run your air hose through the hole until the tip of it touches the bottom of the bucket. Additionally, you can insert a rubber grommet in the hole beforehand if you prefer.
  3. Next, cut out a small tab on the bucket’s lip and clip your aerator on it. Install the specified batteries for your aerator.
  4. Lastly, fill your bucket with water from where you’re fishing, and fill up your bucket with bait!

Go Catch Some Live Bait!

In conclusion, one of my favorite morning and afternoon past times is collecting live bait for an evening fish. So, I understand the frustration of having your bait turn over before you’re ready to throw it on a hook. Thus, here at Hook and Bullet, we genuinely hope these four tips will help you keep your bait alive for your next trip.

So, if you have any questions, please let us know in the comments below. Additionally, if this article has benefited you, please consider sharing it with your friends via social media.