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Bait Care Tips

Two basic guidelines that will help keep your bait healthy:

  1. Always make slow gradual temperature changes to the bait.
  2. Always handle the bait gently and as little as possible.


(These bait care tips are recommended for larger quantities of bait, 1/2 pound or more. For smaller quantities leeches the only change to these instructions would be the container requirements, in this case they can be piled up less than 1" or not piled at all.)

Keep leeches refrigerated, 38-40 degrees is just fine. Nice cool fresh water really is the key for keeping leeches healthy. Never use chlorinated water (city water) on any type of live bait. Best choices of water are well water or chilled lake water. Just a tip if you plan on using water from a lake, pond, stream or river. The plastic gallon milk jugs work very well because they fit so nice in your refrigerator. After you collect the water bring it home and put it in the same refrigerator you are keeping your leeches. By the next morning the water will be chilled down to about the same temperature as your leeches so you can then change the water. We recommend that you change your leech water every day or at least ever other day for best leech health.

When choosing a container to store your leeches, choose a container that will keep the pile of leeches about 1" to 2" deep when in the water. Leeches like to be a little crowded but not too crowded so don't allow the leeches to be piled up more than about 2". The container should also hold atleast 4" to 8" of water above the leeches.

So to recap, change the water every day or every other day with well water or chilled down lake water. Keep the leeches in a container that holds enough water and does not over crowd the bait. As you are changing the water also pick out any sick or dead leeches and throw them away. Keep leeches refrigerated during storage and also keep them nice and cool when traveling and fishing.

Night Crawlers and Angleworms

Not only are night crawlers a good live bait but they are also pretty easy to take care of and keep. Just like leeches, store your crawlers in the refrigerator. Once again about 38-40 degrees is just fine for a temperature. It is important to check your crawlers every other day. As you look through your crawlers and while you re-bed the bait always try to avoid pulling and stretching out the bait, just be as gentle as possible. Be sure to remove and throw away any sick or dead crawlers. It is also a good idea to flip the container over every time you check the bait because it will force the crawlers to crawl back through the bedding. When the bedding gets soiled or wet it is time to change it with a good artificial bedding that has been chilled down to the same temperature as the crawlers. This could be as often as every 10-14 days or as seldom as once a month.

Keep the bait cool when you are traveling and fishing. When you get home from fishing do not put the crawlers you had fishing back into you bulk supply of crawlers. Keep that bait in a separate container and just add to it from your bulk supply when you go fishing again. When you are out fishing things can happen to your bait that may stress it out and weaken it so we don't want to mix that bait back into your bulk supply.

There are many other things fishermen will do to crawlers, some things will plump them up and others are intended to try and farm them. We are just making recommendations to help you keep the bait you buy healthy with the least amount of effort and time.

Wax Worms

Check and remove any dead every other day at a minimum. We recommend storing your waxies at about 43-49 degrees. When fishing try to keep them about the same temp and out of the direct sun light.

Maggots,Mealworms and Mousies

Very easy to keep. Refrigerate at about 33-35 degrees. In general this might be a little cooler than most people keep their home refrigerator so you may want to use another refrigerator that you can dial down a little colder. Check the bait every two to three days, pick out and throw away any dead.

Fresh Water Shrimp

Cool fresh well water, cooled down lake water, pond water and or river or stream water will all work just fine. Do not use chlorinated water (city water). Check your bait every 3-4 days and remove any dead and change water at that time.