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Stick in Mud

Saving and Storing Bait

7 posts in this topic

Hi guys,

First of all, I'd like to thank all those who replied to my post about rod kits. The advice was helpful--this site rocks!

So I've got another issue I'm interested to hear some opinions on. Between panfish, the Miss., and Mille lacs, I fish about five or six days a week, starting in May. Therefore, I go through pounds and pounds of leeches (usually lake-run), though I inevitably waste pounds and pounds because of dirty water, hot water, forgotten in the sun, gone for the weekend, etc.

So what are all of your favorite ways to keep bait (nightcrawlers too, I suppose) fresh and alive between trips? I usually just keep my leeches in a large cooler, but it's a pain in the neck to change the water almost every day (which is about what it takes, and if I forget or go somewhere for a weekend, they're in trouble when I get back).

Any hints or tips would be wonderful so we can keep the bait alive, and more money in our pockets. Thanks in advance!

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I always keep mine in the basement in a Styrofoam cooler on the concrete floor. This will keep them cool which is the biggest thing. Get yourself an aquarium pump and filter with the floss and carbon. I have kept minnows for long periods of time like this without much hassle. The filter and carbon will take out the contaminants that usually make you water smell and kill your bait. Change small amounts of water every now and then with chlorine free water. Keep up with you filter maintenance and you should have no problems. Keep crawlers the same way, in a Styrofoam cooler in the basement also. If you keep your bait in the garage in the summer you don’t have a chance in heck in keeping it alive for long.

If you keep a bucket of tap water sitting for a couple day the chlorine will evaporate from it. This is very important to do as the chlorine will burn the gills on minnows and eventually kill them.

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All my crawlers & Leaches are in the garage refridge,the leaches keep for weeks with water changed every 3-4 days,in boat out of sun with a towel over them, if its real hot in a cooler.crawlers in boat, in cooler.I get all my crawlers in April 20-30 Doz in my yard,put them in worm bedding and in fridge,check them every 3-4 days toss dead or limp! 1/2 lb Leaches in styrofoam minnow bucket crawlers in stryofoam worm box for long term, useable now crawlers in icecream buckets

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get one of those leech buckets that are similar to a flo-troll minnow bucket. Fill a five gallon pail with good water (rain water is good if you have city water) and keep it in a cool spot with the leech bucket submerged in it. Clean the whole works occasionally with a scotch-brite pad and clean water (no soap or chemicals) and change the water to keep it fresh. Those leeches will last a summer with a little diligence. One thing that a lot of people don't realize is that a bubbler will definately help, but the key is fresh water. All that excrement builds up and their own sh*t kills 'em. With any luck,hopefully you will catch enough fish to keep a rotating stock wink.gif The same principle can be applied to minnows. The key is not to overcrowd a bucket.

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For my leeches I use leech bedding, similar to worm bedding. You can find it at the major stores. I bought a pound of leeches in late July last year and finally used them up in late Sept. The bedding is moistened and put into a stryo cooler which you need to store in the fridge. I have used this stuff the past 3 years with great success. IMO the leeches keep much better than storing in water, plus they are not as slimey and easier to hold onto to hook them. Check it out.

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Thanks a lot for the advice--should help me save some money. I don't have access to a big enough frig to keep many of them in there, but I do have a concrete-floor basement which should work just fine.

I've thought about keeping them in worm bedding, but I'm not sure I have the space, considering how many leeches I usually have on hand. How dense do you pack them in the bedding?

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There is specific leech bedding. I don't know what the difference is but it looks about the same. I have a styro container that's about 8"x8"x5" and I can keep 1/2 pound as long as they are kept cold. I have a larger cooler that I put the styro in with frozen water bottles when I'm in the boat. The only time I lost any quantity is when I got lazy and didn't keep them cold.

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