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With the start of the fall season I thought it would be a good reminder to everyone on the importance of keeping your bait as fresh as possible. There are a few simple methods to keeping bait fresher over a period of a few days to a week or so. Under no circumstance should you let the bait sit in melted ice (water). There is no quicker way to turn good bait bad then to let it sit in water especially fresh water. Unless you fish everyday by letting your bait go bad you can be dramatically reducing your odds of catching that prized fish.

Below is some information that I posted before and thought it might help some of the newer members.

No matter how much bait you bring up on the beach it’s more important to take care of it. In my bait cooler I have a rack that keeps the bunker out of the melting ice. Mine’s made out of yellow cedar (which does not rot quickly when exposed to water) 2X4's with at middle cross support. Which is notched on the bottom of the 2X4's to allow for the water to drain easier. The top is one of those flat plastic bread trays that they deliver stroman on. It was ripped it to fit with a table saw. It was made for me by a buddy of mine from so some scrap wood he had laying around. I got the trays from the guy that delivers the bread to our youth football team’s snack bar.

I put two big blocks of ice under this rack. I then place the bunker on there bellies alternating head and tail, this allows you to pack them tight. Next I place a burlap cover over the fish ice it well and add salt/baking soda to the ice. Place another piece of burlap over the ice and continue until done. It’s been my experience that if you keep the bunker out of direct contact with the water and ice it will last for days this way. I leave the drain plug of the cooler open on the rack and just add ice to the top. I’ve had the bunker stay firm enough to use the following weekend with this method. When fresh start to get scarce.

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Good gawd man!

Do you bring a walk-in cooler to the beach?

Sounds like a pretty big cooler.

I use a standard 80 qt with a plastic tray to keep the bunkah off the bottom. Alternate perpendicular rows with a line of salt and ice.

Keep the drain open.

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I tried this Flame and noticed that when I did it the bunkah got soft (after 18 hours) from where it was touching the other fish, so basically on the sides. Top was still nice and firm.

I had much more luck this spring on the 3-4 day trips when putting block in the bottom and then layering ice, salt, and bunker laying FLAT so all 4 sides of the fish get iced. This will just about freeze the bunks due to a rapid drop in temp but they stay really nice. No tray for me YET, I'm working on it but with my truck rack I just pull the plug anyhow.

So that is just the way I do it and my experience with it, so for me above all else is ice on 4 sides.

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I drill holes in the bottom of my bait cooler since it sits on my back rack I just let it drain on the ground and keep it packed with ice. This work for a few days for me.

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