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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Bluegill for bait #12567604
01/07/18 07:07 PM
01/07/18 07:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 345
Fort Worth
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FireMedic486 Offline OP
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I know this area is more along the lines of catching them, which I enjoy thoroughly, but I also use smaller ones as catfish bait. Does anyone here have any experience keeping them alive at home as a bait supply by chance? I currently have a tank that I keep some in at the house for bait purposes (not taken from public waters) and they seem to be doing just fine. I feed them rosies and bloodworms a couple of times a week and have a good filtration system with crystal clear water. I have them in a 110 gallon tank and was wondering how many it would be ok to keep in there at a time without spiking ammonia, nitrates or nitrites. I'm only wondering because it appears that I may have involuntarily started a breeding operation as I have males fanning in the submerged clay pots that I put in for cover and I am considering removing them and isolating them to hatch them out and raise them. Any advice would be appreciated.

Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12567606
01/07/18 07:08 PM
01/07/18 07:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 345
Fort Worth
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FireMedic486 Offline OP
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And hopefully I am not breaking any game laws! From what I have read since I am not taking from public waters or selling them I am in the clear.

Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12567683
01/07/18 08:00 PM
01/07/18 08:00 PM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 45,763
Universal City Tx.
banker-always fishing Online content
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Sunfish make excellent bait. Friends of mine that keep them alive for bait purposes have a large tank inside their garage. There is an aerator attached. Depending how long they keep them they also feed them everything from fish pellets to cut up night crawlers. My friends always have live bait available. thumb



Side Note: When they catch them from water bodies they put them in a "live bucket" that has a small aerator attached. This keeps them alive till they put them in the larger tank at their residence. I have also seen sunfish put in a large ice chest filled with lake/river water and they have stayed alive for a couple of days until needed for bait. thumb




IGFA World Record Rio Grande Cichlid. Lake Dunlap.

John 3:16

Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12567955
01/07/18 11:14 PM
01/07/18 11:14 PM
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Fort Worth
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FireMedic486 Offline OP
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I appreciate it. That's pretty much what I do as well. I catch them and keep them in a bucket with an aerator until I get them home in a tank. They seem to be pretty tough little fish as I haven't had any die and they have been in the tank for about a month. Filtration and creating a good bacteria colony so the ammonia stays in check are my biggest concerns. I also have them outside and not in the garage so any recommendations on a decent pump that is good for outdoor use would be appreciated. I am using a little pond pump now and it seems to be doing fine but I need some kind of bio wheel like product that will work outdoors.

Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12568115
01/08/18 01:25 AM
01/08/18 01:25 AM
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La vernia tx
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Wildman of the navidad Offline
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So do you have only bluegill ?....Iíve had kinda hit and miss luck with trying to keep bluegill alive in a bait tank had a whole lot better luck with longear greens and goggle eyes also as far as staying alive and active on a hook bluegill will thrash on a bank pole for a few hours then die but get a goggle eye and put him out and itíll still be thrashing around 2 days later


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and squeeze the water out of rocks when he was thirsty"
Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12568571
01/08/18 02:17 PM
01/08/18 02:17 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12,847
San Antonio TX
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Laker One Offline
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Great Catfish and Gar bait! hooked

Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12568637
01/08/18 03:02 PM
01/08/18 03:02 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,311
Alvarado, Tx, Johnson
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rickt300 Offline
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I kept them in large trash cans. I kept two filled with water and when the one holding the fish got a bit murky I pumped it out and pumped the water from the other one in. I did have an aerator also but no filtration system.

Last edited by rickt300; 01/08/18 04:09 PM.
Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12568655
01/08/18 03:10 PM
01/08/18 03:10 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 12,389
San Antonio Tx.
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Gitter Done Offline
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Aerator on a tank is all I have seen by anglers who keep sunfish alive for bait. I have friends that use live sunfish a lot and none of them have a filter system. I do know they change out the water with fresh river/lake water frequently.



Side Note: Sunfish are a great Yellow Cat bait!

Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12570574
01/09/18 04:23 PM
01/09/18 04:23 PM
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Posts: 345
Fort Worth
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FireMedic486 Offline OP
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To be honest I'm not really sure that what I have are even bluegill. I am calling them that because that's what I assumed they are but the may very well be some other kind of sunfish. I have had great luck with whatever these little guys are. They stay alive plenty long for me. I don't know if I have actually had one die on the hook because typically where I am fishing every time we throw one out we are hooked up with a fish within 30 minutes or so. I only fish rod and reel which probably helps with the lifespan as I don't ever need one alive 2 days later. I put a couple of them in my 60 gallon aquarium with my Peacock bass and they seem to be thriving. They are pretty fun to watch as they are very aggressive feeders when I drop in the minnows and goldfish. I'll try to get a picture posted and see if someone can identify what they are.

Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12570755
01/09/18 05:46 PM
01/09/18 05:46 PM
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Did you have them outside last week when the high was 20 degrees? If so, that is one tough group of fish. A cheap sponge filter attached to your pump is one filtration option. Where's the current bacteria living? You probably know this but I'll say it in case other people reading decide to start a project similar, you do not want to remove your filter and clean it completely, that will wipe out your good bacteria and the water chemistry will get mucked up. Regarding the number of fish, there is not an exact number, but since you have aquarium experience I'm confident you will find the right number. But certainly less fish in the Summer than the other 3 seasons since it is outdoors.

Why do you have the Peacock in a 60gl and not the 110? Hope you can post a picture of the Peacock, they are beautiful fish. I'm going to try them once my stock gets lower or I set up another tank. I'd also like to see what kind of Sunfish? I have native aquariums and Sunfish make excellent options for hardy, colorful, entertaining fish to keep. A few well chosen Sunfish would compliment your Peacock tank nicely, not all Sunfish were created equal. Some just don't look good in an aquarium. Creek living Green Sunfish with their big mouthes and orange fins would look awesome and like a Peacocks cousin. Brightly colored Longear (Rainbow Sunfish) would be nice and are easy to find, and if you catch a Hybrid Sunfish, don't use it for bait, save it for the display, they grow big fast and have unique colors.


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Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12570927
01/09/18 07:02 PM
01/09/18 07:02 PM
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Posts: 345
Fort Worth
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FireMedic486 Offline OP
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The peacocks are currently in a 60 because theyíre about 3Ē long. They will be relocated when theyíre bigger into bigger water. I currently am running it like an aquarium basically with mechanical filtration, aeration and have a healthy bacteria colony by now Iím sure. I have filter media that I donít wash out and am considering adding a biowheel just for grins. The water is crystal clear and Iím not using any carbon or anything so Iím assuming the bacteria are doing it. I dipped an ammonia strip yesterday and it read 0. They were outside during the weather and there was about 1.5Ē of ice on top with the exception of a baseball sized hole that didnít freeze where the water is spraying into the tank from the recirculating pump and theyíre all good. Still look healthy and went crazy on the minnows yesterday when I fed them like they always do. I think Iím just going to add one at a time and keep an eye on ammonia to figure out what the magic number is. Iíd love to get some of the varieties you mentioned but it seems like I only catch one kind out of the pond at work. Iím going to start keeping the super small tackle with me and hit some local creeks and see if I can find a more colorful or interesting looking species. My 60 gallon will probably wind up being just a sunfish tank if I had to guess. Iíll take a picture tomorrow when I get off work and post it and maybe you can identify it. I appreciate all of the replies

Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12570980
01/09/18 07:33 PM
01/09/18 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted By: FireMedic486
Iíd love to get some of the varieties you mentioned but it seems like I only catch one kind out of the pond at work. Iím going to start keeping the super small tackle with me and hit some local creeks and see if I can find a more colorful or interesting looking species.

Starting around April, creek fishing gets good with sunnies colored up and aggressive. thumb


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Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12571267
01/09/18 10:40 PM
01/09/18 10:40 PM
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One thing would be to set up an aquaponics garden where the garden filters out the nitrogen and uses it as fertilizer. In Alabama it would be illegal to keep them like you are. I usually just salt my bluegill down and use the as bait that way.


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Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12571390
01/10/18 12:14 AM
01/10/18 12:14 AM
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Fort Worth
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I have a pontoon boat and a kayak and I think I am going to get up in the creeks and spend a little time in the kayak specifically targeting different sunfish. I have historically only used it for crappie fishing but I think I may change things up a little this year and add some variety. At least when the crappie aren't in there as thick anyway

Re: Bluegill for bait [Re: FireMedic486] #12574386
01/11/18 10:50 PM
01/11/18 10:50 PM
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Fort Worth
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