View Full Version : Keep Alive Live bait tank and aerator equipment report

05-15-2000, 01:19 PM
Glad to report that the Keep Alive live bait tank and aerator worked great this weekend. I have a 30 Gallon tank with the 1100GPH pump. Put 15 herring in it 5:30 AM Sat and fished. All herring were fine. Went home Sat about 1:30 and had 6 herring left. The herring were still fine when I went to bed but dead when I got up Sunday morning. The little foam ring filter had glogged up during the night. It takes about a minute to reach down and pull the filter up and squeeze it a few times to clean it. Next time I'm going to use tap water that has been allowed to sit and let the chlorine escape. It was the brown yuk from the herring run water that clogged the filter , not the scales. Anyway , the thing works great in my opinion. The tank cover locks on and little if any water at all splashes out. Bought my kit including tank and pump at the Mass Bass show for $160 (couldn't leave without it <img src="/Images/Happy_Face.gif"><!--e1--> ) but Mike T at now sells them for about $135 (lowest I've seen anywhere). All you need is a 12 volt battery. I can now take herring in RI and drive to the Canal or whereever with no problem keeping them alive or with spilling smelly water in the vehicle (by the end of May last year , my truck stunk from water splashing out of my home made settup). The tank has 2 handles so you can lift it in and out of the truck easily with it about half full. It also has a drain in the front so you can easily drain it when done without lifting it.

05-15-2000, 01:44 PM
Saltydog!! It appears that your tank was more successful than mine. Several problems with mine; pump needs to be upgraded - small 500gph pump - need to go higher to the 1100 like yours to push more air and water as my herring were not keeping as well. Had the same problem where the pump stopped pumping but mine was loaded with scales. I had cleaned the screen but will need to figure out a better method. Some people I talked to removed the filters (wise?) as they say the scales are small enough to pass through. undecided on that though... I don't know if you'd want the tap water. What has been successful in the past was a mixed salinity to ease them into the saltwater as well as gradually dropping the temp from where you got 'em to where you fish 'em...

Another interesting idea... One gentleman recommended running some flotation on the pump to keep part of the pickup at the surface. You could see that it was pushing much more air into the tank....

05-15-2000, 02:46 PM
Hi John. This system works a little different. There is an air line that comes up to a valve on the outside of the tank. It sucks air in and mixes it with the water. That way it never has to pump the water up to the surface. Without the hydostatic head to overcome , the circulation is incredible. It mixes in little fine air bubbles so the water looks like ginger ale just full of micro fine bubbles.
Last year I tried the bilge pump and Rubbermaid tank and went as far as wrapping the pump in panty hose to keep the scales off the screen. Didn't work well at all. This year I was going to try to build a screen cage around the pump. Say about a foot square. That way there would be lots of area so the scales wouldn't clog it. A large capacity bilge pump might be OK without the screen. Anyway , I got this thing and its great!

Marc Z
05-16-2000, 11:58 AM
You mean you can put this tank in the back of an suv and it will stay completely dry???? My problem has been that i do not have a pickup and did not want water sloshing around inside my Trooper, but if this thing can keep it dry, then it sounds great. One other question; what do you do to transport from tank to fishing spot??? or do you carry the whole thing down with you????

05-16-2000, 12:55 PM
Hi Marc. To do the herring thing well , you need a big net with small mesh , a 5 gallon pale , a holding pen , and a live well.
In general , the bigger the better on the net. Be careful though cause the herring will just go right through the holes of a lot of nets.
The holding pen is a laundry basket who's sides are a checkerboard of open and closed spaces. Make a plywood cover with a latched door. Put some foam flotation material around the rim (just tape it on with duct tape. Tie a rope about 10 feet long to the basket. The idea is that the basket floats with the top level with the surface of the water.
You net the herring , and because it often takes a long time to get 10 to 20 , you put them in the floating basket keeper pen. If you put them in the bucket , the first ones caught will be dead before the last ones are caught. The keeper pen is just like a coral for the fish. The river or run water flows through the pen and the fish are fine. Once you have all you need , you dump the fish into the 5 gallon pale and make a dash for the live well.
Once in the live well , the aerator keeps the fish alive. Just add a little ice now and then to keep the wter cool since it will heat up from the heat in the car and from the heat generated by the pump motor. Wiith a nice live well like the one I described , I just leave the fish in the live well if I can park conveniently to the water. For example at Mass Maritime , the car is 10 feet from where I fish so they would stay in the car in the live well.
But suppose I'm at Keene St. I have to park too far away from the car to make it practical to go back to the livewell each time I need a fresh herring. There I would load some into the 5 gallon pale , another mad dash down to the water where I transfer them to the laundry basket keeper pen. That basket floats in the water and the fish are essentially in canal water flowing through the basket. Sometimes the water deep enough to float the basket is out a little past your reach , thats why the basket has a rope on it. When I need a herring , I pull the basket in open the latch , remove a herring , close the hatch , then push it back out to the deeper water to float.
Thats the complete set up.
I would not say that even the Keep Alive tank keeps 100% of the water in the tank. It might leak a few drops at the hole where the wires go through the tank if I come out of a driveway while turning. I may put silicone there. Nothing at all splashes out while simply driving along , even on bumpy roads. Anyway , its 100 times better than my last one but a few drops do get out. A few drops don't hurt. My guess is that a quart or two used to splash out of my old homemade setup by the time I drove around all day. That's too much and doesn't dry out quick and then you get the smell and then the females complain!! <img src="/Images/Happy_Face.gif"><!--e1-->. Since I retired my red pickup , my new truck is a Blazer (SUV) and the tank is keeping it quite dry back there.

John M
05-16-2000, 01:45 PM
you just reminded me why I dont do the live herring thing....eels are much much much easier.......

05-16-2000, 02:15 PM
John M will drive 9 hours to fish but thinks herring is too difficult? It's a royal pain in the butt John but you get good fish and all things considered , its a lot of fun. Also for those who do such things , you end up with lots of frozen herring you can use later as chunks or chum.

05-16-2000, 02:32 PM
Marc Z, one other recommendation to what Saltheart said. If you have just a little excess water coming out of the tank on turns or while braking, you can put a tray under the tank with a small 1" or so lip. This will help contain any small spills. This will also catch the small amount of water that comes out of the tank when putting herring in or taking out...

Good Luck

Marc Z
05-16-2000, 02:33 PM
As always, great info, thanks.
Where i fish with live herring up here in CT I have been limited to areas close by where I catch them, but with this Keep Alive tank I can bring them to other spots, the problem was that since I don't have a pickup I thought I did not have that option. I have used a 5 gallon pail with holes drilled in it and a cover that i leave in the river and that seems to work ok, but if I build something like you explained it will probably work better.
As john says, it is tough to fish with live herring, but it definatley pays big dividends!!!!!!!

05-16-2000, 02:35 PM
BTW - JohnM - eel fishing is my favorite but it is just an absolutely exciting blast when you have a live herring swimming near the top and bass start busting on it. Swirls in the water, fish coming out of the water... just a blast.

Like breaking tides at the canal... Sweet

Marc Z
05-16-2000, 02:37 PM
That is a great idea too, that'll keep the old lady off my back when the family vehicle doesn't smell like year old herring juice!!!!!!

05-16-2000, 03:34 PM
BTW John , you can buy the pump seperate. It comes with a little air valve that clamps onto any tank . So instead of a higher capacity bilge pump , you might want to look into this pump for your existing tank. It comes with the foam filter ring too.

05-16-2000, 04:02 PM
Thanks Mike, I just might need to get that...