For one of the most critical aspects of fishing, Thomas Vento has brought live bait wells to a new level with the innovation and reliablity of the KeepAlive Oxygen Infusor. KeepAlive continues to make its way aboard fishing boats each day because it simply works.
Bait Well Overview
Live bait wells come in many shapes and sizes, and many people think that the size of the live well and the water flow are the deciding factors, but that is simply not so. Though they are a part of the equation, oxygen is the number one factor, followed by tank shape and water flow, and then tank size. With the proper oxygen level and just a little bit of water flow to remove ammonia from a round tank, you can pack the bait like a can of sardines and still keep them healthy. Tank size is more of a bonus feature that enables you to get more bait in the live well. A well balanced live well doesn't have to be extra large with a mini hurrican inside! In fact, if you were to take a look into my tank you'd swear the bait were going to die in a matter of minutes. When I run from location to location I often lower my tank level to maybe an inch of overhead water and let the infusor do its thing.
Why Do I Need a Recirculating Live Well System?
Do you need one? No! Is it going to make your fishing better? Absolutely! A recirculating system s you to grab bait from a bait shop miles away from the launch and ensure that it stays alive. It also comes in handy when you fish those back country spots in the summer and often find your bait dead from either hot water or a lack of oxygen caused by algea blooms or just bad water. You can close it off and icebag it to keep the water cool, then dump it when needed and refill and repeat.
My system works fine, why do I need a new live well system?
Your live well system may work just fine, but if it's not a KeepAlive you're missing out on some hassle free fishing days. If you're like many anglers, a normal live well system requires frequent checks of the well to ensure your bait is still alive, dipping out the dead baits, and stopping during runs to check your bait. When your live well system needs replacing, whether in a month or a year, do yourself a favor and check out KeepAlive and thank me later.
Current or Oxygen?
Both! Keeping bait alive means giving them a balance of oxygen and current. By placing more oxygen within the water you can limit the amount of water needed and slow down the current. This ensure that your bait do not get beat to death by high output water flow.
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Before I get into the nuts and bolts of this system, let's take a look at the basic elements of live well bait aeration.
One of the most important aspects of being a successful fisherman takes place before you ever hit the water. This aspect is overlooked by many weekend fishing anglers, but to the anglers that make a living fishing, or those that take the sport serious, know all too well through experience that dead bait usually means a spoiled trip.
Many might ask; why not just go net some more live bait? Well, that might be fine if you have the time, but every successful angler plans his trip carefully, as fishing requires timing! The first three hours of a moving tide are by far the best time to fish, and depending on the area and fish, it could be limited to the first hour of each moving tide.
It is for this reason that every angler should pay close attention to keeping live bait "alive" and healthy for as long as possible.
Live bait wells, whether portable or fixed, are as important to an angler as his or her rod & reel. Have you ever checked the forecast and tide charts, gone out and netted the perfect live bait and thought, “It’s going to be a great fishing day?” But when you get to your honey hole and open your box, you find your once lively bait lounging belly-up! I’ve experienced this many times, not just with others but from my own system as well. It is very frustrating and most likely spoils the trip. Well fret no more as I have found the pot at the end of the rainbow and it’s swimming with lively bait!
UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF LIVE WELL BAIT AERATION
There are many misconceived ideas about live well bait aeration. Two common fallacies are that large live bait wells are required to sustain a large quantity of fish, and large pumps are needed to move large quantities of water through the well to keep bait alive.
To understand what is really needed in proper live bait aeration, it is best to take a look at ourselves. If we were enclosed in a large airtight room we would be able to breathe until we consume all the oxygen. If we were in a smaller airtight closet, the oxygen would be consumed a lot quicker, of course. If we were swimming underwater without a snorkel, the oxygen in our lungs would be gone very quickly. In all cases, without additional oxygen we would expire! However, we could stay alive indefinitely, breathing wise, if we could use a breathing tube or snorkel that was in contact with outside fresh air or oxygen. It would not matter about the size of the container that enclosed us.
An aerator is to a fish, what a snorkel is to us! Don’t let anyone fool you, size does count—when it comes to snorkels and live bait aeration that is. It is more difficult to breathe through a straw than through a large snorkel. A small or ineffective live bait aerator cannot provide as much oxygen in the water as a larger or more effective one. If an aerator can provide enough oxygen in the water for the fish to breathe, it doesn't matter how much water surrounds the fish! The only reasons that water must be changed occasionally in live bait wells is to remove ammonia caused by fish poop, or in some cases to alter the water temperature!
BASIC LIVE BAIT AERATION REQUIREMENTS
There are two major considerations in aeration systems.
1.The gentleness and direction of water flow.
2.The size and amount of the air bubbles.
Delicate bait such as greenbacks will not survive a day of fishing unless the water flow in the live well is soft and gentle. Turbulent water will damage the bait and force them to work against the current, causing additional problems such as fatigue and stress. Ideal water flow within a live well should be approximately 1 to 2 MPH, and in a circular motion. This will allow fish to school and provide a smooth flow of water over and through their gills. If the water flow is excessive, bait will tire quickly and will not be lively.
Size and Amount of Air Bubbles
Take a look at the air bubbles produced by an aquarium aerator. Watch how quickly the bubbles rise to the surface. They provide little aeration, but are esthetically pleasing to watch. Bubbles must remain contacting the water, if they are to do the job properly. A good rule of thumb is: the smaller the air bubble, the more slowly it will rise, giving it more time to dissolve in the water. Due to the higher density of salt water, air bubbles are usually smaller in salt water than in fresh water. A large 20mm bubble has a volume of 4.19 cm3, and a surface area of 12.6 cm2. You could make 260 small 3mm bubbles from the large bubble. They would have a total surface area of 83.6 cm2. This is 6.6 times the surface of the 20mm bubble. The small bubbles can theoretically aerate 6.6 times as much water with the same amount of air. Knowing the importance of air bubble size, the effectiveness of different libe bait well aerator systems becomes readily apparent!
Live Bait Wells and their Importance.
Live bait wells come in many shapes and sizes. Oval or round tanks provide the best circulation. However, rectangular or square bait wells are satisfactory if there is a directional discharge into the bait well. The directional discharge will induce the more desirable circular motion. For those of you without circular bait wells, cut a wedge, rounded inside, and seal one to each corner. This will give you rounded corners and allow the water to circulate more smoothly around the bait well.
Types of Live Bait Well Aerators
Spray bar aerators add oxygen to the water by jetting small streams of water into the surface. Some air is absorbed into the spray as it passes from the spray bar to the water surface, and when the spray strikes the water surface, air bubbles are injected into the water. For the most part, these bubbles are rather large. Jets of water from spray bars are generally harsh to delicate bait. Their protective coating and scales are easily removed, and their survival is drastically reduced. Spray bars are an inefficient aeration system, and should be used only on the hardiest baits.
Air Stone Live Bait Aerators
Air stone aerators are an inexpensive way to keep bait alive in small containers. They are quiet and gentle, but because their bubbles are typically larger, they need a greater amount of bubbles for a large amount of live bait. Air stone aerators do provide gentle aeration, but they sustain less bait per unit of air than aerators that produce smaller bubbles.
Live Bait Vent Aerators
This is the much copied, old aeration technology. They can be purchased as a floating aerator or a bottom aerator with suction cups. The fast-moving water at the output of the pump creates a vacuum that sucks air into the pump output. This system typically provides larger amounts of smaller air bubbles than previously discussed aerators. However, most models damage bait due to the high speed of water output needed to take in enough air.
Thru-hull pumps provide a constant flow of new water into the live well and eliminate the problems of heat and ammonia build-up. As long as clean water is available, more bait can be placed in a given amount of water than with any of the previously discussed systems. However, when entering water that is less than ideal for delicate bait, care must be taken to secure the intake water. By utilizing a combination of the thru-hull pump with other aeration methods, live bait can remain healthy and lively for longer periods of time.
Now that I’ve given you a briefing in live bait aeration, wouldn’t it be great to have a bit of each one? I thought so, and I found it just as my last bait well system seized! Thanks to the expert engineering of Thomas Vento, we now have a reliable live bait well system that is delicate to the most needful of baits, able to handle large quantities of bait when packed together like sardines in a can, and last but not least—durable and long lasting!
KeepAlive™ Oxygen Infusion Systems
KeepAlive Infusors is a revolutionary Oxygen Infusion live bait well system that I will always enthusiastically recommend to anyone searching for the best of the best. They might look like the competition, but their superior technology is completely different.
Air is infused with the water at the pump impeller, producing micro-fine bubbles that are sent gently out of the pump and into the live well. These micro bubbles contain the richest of life giving oxygen bubbles. KeepAlive Infusors are specifically designed for delicate shad, greenbacks and white bait. The millions of micro-fine bubbles are so small that they remain suspended in the water longer, thus providing more oxygen for your bait and catch.
The smallest model will aerate from a 5-gallon bucket up to a 55-gallon drum or livewell, gently and efficiently. The system is so efficient that on the maximum setting you’ll get an over saturation of oxygen that causes the water to actually foam over. I wouldn’t suggest giving them this much oxygen, but it’s good to know that if you need it—it’s there. I have found that the best setting is to allow enough air intake to make the water slightly milky white, or for models with an in tank pump, just enough to make the pump disappear in a mass of micro-fine bubbles.
This live well bait system is available as a bottom infusor with suction cups, a floating infusor, or thru-hull infusor. Conversion kits are available to convert your Rule bilge pump or Rule livewell pump to the KeepAlive technology! I’d suggest getting the pump and tossing out whatever pumps you have now. I say this because I’ve been using the same KeepAlive pump for many years and it has yet to skip a beat.
KeepAlive™ Infusors are an investment that has saved me money, time, and frustration. If you want a long lasting live bait well system that can keep any bait alive until you need it or a system that you no longer have to worry about over stocking, by all means—you won’t be disappointed. So the next time you’re out and your fishing trip ends before its time, just because your bait did—think KeepAlive, it’s a name that you can’t forget! Although my words may sound a bit like an advertisement, it’s only because I truly love this system and it has worked for me year after year.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Allen Applegarth is the published author of Florida Fishing and the soon to be released title Florida Inshore Angler. Become a subscriber - FREE- at www.floridainshoreangler.com