Water Sports

How to Choose a Bait Tank For Your Boat

Are you fond of fishing? If yes, then I’m sure that you’re familiar with bait tanks.

In today’s article, we’ll discuss the use, types, and other factors that you need to consider when choosing a bait tank.


The main purpose of bait tanks is to maintain a healthy and active environment for fishing baits such as; mackerels, sardines, squids, anchovies, etc. Most bait tanks are equipped with hoses, tanks, and are usually made from roto molded plastics.

But why do you need bait tanks on your boat?  Simply because using active fishing baits improves your chances for making a catch. 


Quality bait tanks generally come with a pump system that makes sure that oxygenated water flows consistently throughout the tank. This pump system is also responsible for controlling the flow speed of the water to prevent live baits from tiring.

Now that you know what bait tanks are and how it works, it’s time to know the factors that you need to consider when choosing a bait tank:

  • Bait tank sizes – the suggested size for bait tanks should hold a minimum of 25-30 gallons of water that can support 10 pounds of live bait.
  • Shape – when it comes to shapes, round and oblong tanks are more efficient than square/rectangular tanks since fish schools move in a circular pattern. By choosing round and oblong tanks, you can save more space and prevent fishes from becoming trapped in corners or bumping into the walls.
  • Portable or fixed – larger fishing boats normally have fixed bait tanks, especially if you’ll go fishing on a regular basis. You can mount your tanks inside your cockpit, deck, in front of the center console, or beside the swim step. But for boaters who own small vessels like fishing kayaks, flats boats, skiffs, etc., and only fish occasionally, having a portable fish tank is okay.



Most fish are attracted to the scent and movement of shrimps that’s why they’re considered as a go-to bait for saltwater fishers. Dead or alive, shrimps are good fishing baits to catch fish onshore or offshore. Through them, you can catch snapper, bass, redfish, or other larger fish.


Shellfish like crabs, mussels and clams, attract a lot of different species of fish. When using them as bait, you can catch groupers, snapper, blue moki, and trevally.

Though the clams are slippery and crabs need special handling (because of their claws), using them as fishing baits are really worth it.


Minnows are a type of fish related to the carp family that can also be used as baits. They’re quite difficult to catch because they aren’t easily visible given the fact they live mostly in weed-filled lakes and bogged ponds. However, they usually attract bigger fish and can be seen swimming in schools or in groups.

Their smaller species like the flatheads and creek chubs are really thin and small – only about 3” and 4” respectively.

Are there other fishing baits?
 Live Worms

Yes, you heard that right! Worms are one of the most common staples for fishing. The good thing about worms is you can get them in 2 ways – either buy them at a local bait shop/fishing store or you can just as easily dig in your home’s backyard.

They normally attract panfish and smaller sizes of bass species near the dock or shore. If you’re planning on catching a trout by the streams, the red worms are effective against them.

Cut Baits

If you’re planning to go on saltwater fishing, using a cut bait is recommended even if you’re offshore or onshore. Cut baits (chopped pieces of fish) have a strong aroma that attracts saltwater fishes like bluefish, sea bass, salmon and mahi-mahi. However, you don’t need a bait tank for this one.

Bait Fish

Ballyhoos, pinfish, and sardines, are the most common fish baits that you can use since they naturally attract prey such as; grouper, striped bass, salmon, catfish and amberjack, with their movement and scent. Though you can buy frozen packs at your local bait shop, some fishes still prefer and only eat live baits.


how to keep bait fish alive

Keeping live baits in good condition is tricky for many but maintaining a cool and clean water is the key.


Bait tanks are helpful, especially if you prefer using live baits. But for you to surely catch some fish, keep in mind that before handling baits, your hands should be clean and free from sunscreen or insect repellents, which can drive the fishes away.

Share us your other tips in selecting a bait tank for your boat by commenting below

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