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Homemade Bait Bucket

A homemade bait bucket converted from an empty 5 gallon plastic container, can be done easily. While vacationing at a family owned fish camp, I observed what appeared to be 5 gallon paint container floating just below the surface of the water in the flow current . “Oh that old thing,” David, the camp’s owner replied. “That’s my homemade bait bucket and it works great.”

submerged bait bucket


Upon farther examination the paint container had been, in fact, turned into a bait bucket that held some ten dozen black tip shiners alive, well and frisky. David remarked that the homemade bait bucket was self-aerating because the creek water current flow can easily filter through the bucket. This constant supply of clean flowing water enables the shiners to literally survive for weeks, even months. “Don’t the shiners have to be fed?” “No,” then David explained that when a shiner dies, it becomes nutrients for the others and once again the flow of current through the homemade bait bucket washes away any undesirable waste. So David was asked to illustrate how it was made.

Start with a 5 gallon plastic bucket (if it is a used bucket, clean thoroughly); a drill with a 1/4 bit, 5 foot section of nylon 3/16 rope, a small ruler is useful, and marker will complete the necessary items.

making bait bucket

Use the marker to draw a line 4 inches above the bottom of the bucket. This will allow the bottom of the bucket to retain water to keep the bait alive for a short period when the bucket is removed from the water.

Drill the first hole on the drawn line. Then space all other holes about 1 inch apart until the body of bucket is full of holes. Leave about 3 inches at the top of the bucket untouched to provide strength. The lid of the bucket must be drilled with holes also, in a similar matter. Once the holes are done, use the rope to attach the lid to the bucket by running the rope through existing holes.

homemade bait bucket

Now you have a strong homemade bait bucket that will keep bait alive in the river for a long time. One more tip. If the lid has a pouring sprout, simply remove the sprout and cover the hole with a piece of rudder (a section of tire inner tube work well) using tie wire.

old bait bucket

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