Kayak Live Well: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Bait Fresh

When it comes to fishing from a kayak on the West Coast, one of the most effective methods is using live bait. Whether you’re targeting white seabass, yellowtail, halibut, or any other species, keeping your bait – mackerel, sardines, or anchovies – alive is crucial. And that’s where livewells come into play, allowing you to circulate fresh water to keep your bait thriving. In this article, we’ll explore different types of bait tanks and livewells, offering insights into the best options for kayak fishing.

The Classic 5 Gallon Bucket Tank

The simplest and most basic form of livewell is the 5 gallon bucket tank. As the name suggests, it’s made from a standard 5-gallon bucket. This setup utilizes a bilge pump that hangs off the side of the bucket to circulate the water, while a strainer on the other side drains the water out. A gamma seal screw top lid is added to prevent bait from escaping. Although it may be the most straightforward option, it does the job effectively.

Bait Tank

Hobie’s Own Livewell: Perfect for Pedallers

For those who prefer pedaling kayaks, Hobie’s Livewell is an excellent choice. Designed to fit most of Hobie’s popular fishing kayaks, it offers durability and reliability. The water intake and discharge ports seamlessly integrate into the existing scuppers in the cargo area. Equipped with a high-flow self-priming Attwood pump, a 6-volt sealed gel cell battery, adjustable drain, and a capacity of up to 8 gallons of water, Hobie’s Livewell is tailored for serious anglers.

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The Ultimate Bait Tank: Flexibility at Its Finest

Our very own KFS Ultimate Bait Tank provides the ultimate flexibility for live bait enthusiasts. With its low-profile design, it ensures your kayak remains sleek even in windy conditions while lowering the center of gravity. Using a 6-volt system allows the pump to operate at a slower rpm, reducing stress on the bait without compromising water flow. This also extends the running time of the system without the need for a larger, heavier 12-volt battery. The Ultimate Bait Tank is a self-contained unit that requires no installation or assembly, making it easily transportable between kayaks. Additionally, it can be conveniently used on rental kayaks or small skiffs during vacations. The marine-grade bilge pump provides inflow, while two holes per side ensure proper drainage through the scupper holes in your kayak’s tank well. Designed by our experienced kayak fishing staff, this bait tank is the epitome of functionality, durability, adaptability, and cost-effectiveness.

Tips for Maximizing Livewell Efficiency

Regardless of the livewell system you choose, here are a few tips to ensure optimal performance:

  • Invest in a timer switch: Using a timer switch that interrupts the pump’s current every 7 seconds, with the pump running for 7 seconds and turning off for 14, helps conserve battery power while also preventing the bait from being constantly blasted.

Find Your Perfect Live Bait System

If you’re ready to purchase one of these top-notch bait tank systems, or if you’re looking to customize your own livewell, be sure to check out our installation kits. We offer everything you need for the electrical or plumbing aspects of setting up your livewell.

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For a wide selection of kayak livewells and accessories, visit our Bait Tanks category.

And for the avid “do-it-yourself” angler seeking specific parts for their livewell project, explore our Bait Tank Parts category.

In conclusion, a well-maintained livewell is essential for kayak fishing success. Choose the livewell system that best suits your needs and enjoy the benefits of keeping your bait fresh and lively throughout your fishing adventures.