Live bait – Storing and curing your bait
In the keys live bait is essential to our success. Some days we spend hours to find the right bait to ensure that we have a productive day for our clients. At times, it is tough to catch bait when targeting reef and pelagic species here off Key West. There are times when we must have bait ready for tournaments and cannot waste time searching. In order to not miss out on hot bite, charter, or tournament it is important that we have a supply of bait on hand. This stored ‘cured’ or as we call it ‘trained’ bait will swim as well, or better by following these important steps:
1. In order to catch bait in advance and have it healthy on the day you need it, it is crucial to store it properly. We customize water tanks into large pens so the bait has plenty of room to school and swim. It is also very important to make sure that you create shade with lids to protect the bait.
2. Catch your bait with hook and line and not a cast net, this bait will live much longer.
3. Remove bait from your well one at a time in a small net.
4. Feed your bait daily. Utilizing finely diced blood lines, fish scraps, etc.
If you follow this process, you will have very lively, healthy bait on hand at all times. When the bite is hot, or it is tournament time, simply dip into your fresh bait and catch some fish!
-Capt. Steve Rodger