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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13248399 08/15/19 04:01 AM
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An oval tank is going to matter. The square corners of cooler-tank (conversion?) will beat up your shad (they're not very bright and seems they don't turn well either).


1987 Whaler Super Sport 17, Yamaha 90
1981 Whaler Sport 13, Johnson 50
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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13270043 09/04/19 02:51 PM
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Thought I would do an update on the bait tank build, Just in case anyone wants to learn from my mistakes, and there are a great many of them. I source plastics in 1/2 1/4 and 1/8 by the sheet. For the tank the plastics ran about 230 or so, but I had to buy enough to build 2 tanks with some to spare.
For the top an bottom I used 1/2 marine board. Cut on my CNC router to 26x31 which should fit my boat well.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


I used 1/4 white marine board for the outer tank sides and 1/8 HDPE for the inner tank lining with a 1/2 inch air gap for insulation. I may latter foam fill that. Bending the 1/4 marine board was difficult requiring an elaborate form, space heaters, ratchet straps and some texas sun to help soften it up. I also required a a generous serving of adult beverages to keep the whole process tolerable. Getting these things aligned proved to be very difficult I should have used bigger groves in the top and bottom and 1/8 material on the outside.

[Linked Image]

Got part of the top on, but the internal divider would not cooperate, so it will be screwed in later to some braces that I am fabricating

[Linked Image]

The inside of the tank won`t see any UV light to eat up the plastic so I can use cheap HDPE cutting boards from SAM's to fabricate internal parts.
[Linked Image]

I welded everything with a cheap plastic air welder from Harbor Freight, it works but difficult to control the temperature and prevent smoking the plastic. Another note, probably should use a respirator when welding that stuff with you head in a tank.

I plan to work on it some more this weekend, since the fish in Belton lake don`t seem to be biting.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13270116 09/04/19 04:17 PM
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Unless you are a professional guide with 4-6 fisherman on a boat I do not think you need a tank this large. I fished last night with my 17 gallon Grayline bait tank and never lost single shad. I caught 50-60 or so and threw a few back nice and lively at the end of the night. I did change out the charcoal filter for one with charcoal and zeolite, which I think helps a lot. I also used a 1/4 cup of shad keeper and a full cup of pool salt. Still had the filter full of shad scales and I think that is just part of fishing with shad. If I was fishing during the day I might drop a few frozen plastic water bottles in from time to time to keep the water cool.


Last edited by PKfishin; 09/04/19 04:18 PM.

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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: PKfishin] #13270253 09/04/19 06:47 PM
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It wound up being a bit larger than I had intended, it is probably close to 40 gallons. I do want to try and keep some shad from day to day during the spring. If it does get unwieldy on the boat, I may build a smaller one and keep this one at the house to overnight them in. I already have the material and learned a lot about what not to do. I will definitely be using some zeolite and charcoal.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13270352 09/04/19 08:36 PM
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Man that is cool but what a project! I applaud you for attempting/doing that....but also glad I just bought one for $550 plus shipping from blue water lol. Sounds like a bunch of work and a bit of a nightmare.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: RespectTheFish] #13270785 09/05/19 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by RespectTheFish
Man that is cool but what a project! I applaud you for attempting/doing that....but also glad I just bought one for $550 plus shipping from blue water lol. Sounds like a bunch of work and a bit of a nightmare.

I looked closely at the bluewaters, look like great tanks. This build turned into more of a project than I intended, but I learned a lot about working with marine plastic. Lots of ways to use that stuff on the boat. I would not recommend building over buying unless you in it for the experience. The cost is not much different.


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Helix 10, Helix 9 mega SI x2, Garmin 9sv + livescope
Terrova Ipilot Link 36v 105ah Lithium, 12v 160a Lithium Aux
Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13275193 09/09/19 02:38 PM
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Another update on the bait tank build. This weekend I got the top cut and the internal divider and filter system mostly in place. The top is a three piece set. I cut in some graphics and a ruler to measure. I may fill the cut with colored epoxy for contrast before it fills up with fish dirt. It took 2 hours of CNC time to cut this with the 0.055 bit I was using.
[Linked Image]

I got the internal divider in to separate the compartments. I put the water return pretty low in the tank so I won`t have to fill it as much when I only have a few in there. I have it pointed to hopefully generate a slow whirlpool action.

[Linked Image]

The filter system probably got me thinking more than anything, and I am not sure that what I have so far will work out. I looked at what a lot of tank builders are doing and I like the filter sock approach the most. Having multiple redundant filters that are removable for cleaning seems like a good idea. Because this tank is pretty big and I want it to filter when it is half full, I can not use a filter where water enters the top. These filters receive flow from the bottom and contain about 12*15 inches of filter floss material used in aquariums. They are made from 1/8 hdpe and thousands of 1/8 holes. There are 2 main filters and I am planning a seperate pump for aeration. A third small filter box is there for carbon and such.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

A few more hours should have it finished...hopefully.


2013 Glasstream 221 Center Console 150 Merc.
Helix 10, Helix 9 mega SI x2, Garmin 9sv + livescope
Terrova Ipilot Link 36v 105ah Lithium, 12v 160a Lithium Aux
Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13275221 09/09/19 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Boomerbrewer
Another update on the bait tank build. This weekend I got the top cut and the internal divider and filter system mostly in place. The top is a three piece set. I cut in some graphics and a ruler to measure. I may fill the cut with colored epoxy for contrast before it fills up with fish dirt. It took 2 hours of CNC time to cut this with the 0.055 bit I was using.
[Linked Image]

I got the internal divider in to separate the compartments. I put the water return pretty low in the tank so I won`t have to fill it as much when I only have a few in there. I have it pointed to hopefully generate a slow whirlpool action.

[Linked Image]

The filter system probably got me thinking more than anything, and I am not sure that what I have so far will work out. I looked at what a lot of tank builders are doing and I like the filter sock approach the most. Having multiple redundant filters that are removable for cleaning seems like a good idea. Because this tank is pretty big and I want it to filter when it is half full, I can not use a filter where water enters the top. These filters receive flow from the bottom and contain about 12*15 inches of filter floss material used in aquariums. They are made from 1/8 hdpe and thousands of 1/8 holes. There are 2 main filters and I am planning a seperate pump for aeration. A third small filter box is there for carbon and such.


[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

A few more hours should have it finished...hopefully.


Awesome looking tank. How much $ do you think you have invested ?


I am a Senager. (Senior teenager) I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 50 years later. I get an allowance every month. I have PU truck and a bass boat, I am blessed.
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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13275235 09/09/19 03:11 PM
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Really nice work there. thumb


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1981 Whaler Sport 13, Johnson 50
Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: GIG'EM AGGIES] #13275261 09/09/19 03:42 PM
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Total investment is tough to pin down, I had to buy more of everything that I used on this project. The biggest cost is the plastic and I bought 4 sheets for $430. This tank used less than half of what I purchased, but I have plans for the rest. Spent $50 on two part foam, $50 on HDPE welding rods (enough to to 10 tanks probably) , $25 on hinges and probably another $50 on odds and ends.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13275282 09/09/19 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Boomerbrewer
Total investment is tough to pin down, I had to buy more of everything that I used on this project. The biggest cost is the plastic and I bought 4 sheets for $430. This tank used less than half of what I purchased, but I have plans for the rest. Spent $50 on two part foam, $50 on HDPE welding rods (enough to to 10 tanks probably) , $25 on hinges and probably another $50 on odds and ends.

You obviously know what you're doing and the work is impressive. I'd like to have/make one but don't have the tools needed. Probably end up buying one that fits my needs. Look forward to seeing the finished product.


I am a Senager. (Senior teenager) I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 50 years later. I get an allowance every month. I have PU truck and a bass boat, I am blessed.
Conscience never acquits, it either accuses or excuses.
Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13281599 09/15/19 05:09 PM
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Boomer you did a great job on the tank. Sounds like my luck going to save money and end up coasting more than a new one. Remember if you tank holds more than 30 gallons you have to have a bait license. Not sure how a warden will determine if it over 30 gallons, but I go by laws

Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: TGalyon1] #13282833 09/16/19 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by TGalyon1
Boomer you did a great job on the tank. Sounds like my luck going to save money and end up coasting more than a new one. Remember if you tank holds more than 30 gallons you have to have a bait license. Not sure how a warden will determine if it over 30 gallons, but I go by laws


I was not aware of that restriction, and want to keep legal. Anyone know how you go about measuring this? I ran volume calculations on tanks by various manufactures before I built mine and advertised 30 gallon tanks by bluewater and shadshack look to hold much more than 30 gallons if you include filter compartments (7-10 gallons) and fill them to the top. I assume that manufactures are going by usable volume. Even a 5 gallon bucket holds about 5.75 gallons filled to the top.

Is the TPWD regulation based on usable volume? I built mine to have 29.5 gallons usable volume when filled to 5 inches from the top. If filled much more than that I would slosh water and bait all over the boat.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13282914 09/16/19 07:32 PM
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Only have to have a bait license if you are planning on selling bait and your tank holds more than 82 quarts, or transporting bait from 1 place to another. If you are catching bait at the same lake you are fishing and its just for personal use then no bait license is required.

This is the way I understand the law. Hopefully someone else will chime in.

Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13282919 09/16/19 07:38 PM
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