How to Build a Bait Holding Pen
By Captain David Tilley
Keeping bait alive can be a frustrating thing both on the boat and in the pen. What? You don't use a pen? You go out that morning and bait fish then go fishing? No Way! Why? Oh, That live bait well has a hard time keeping your baits alive overnight. Drains your battery too? and the pens you have tried leave your baits damaged and bloody and less than fresh. OK , I got ya. Well I just so happen to know a way to solve your problem.
I have a friend at my local harbor that has got this great pen that keeps baits perfectly fresh for multiple days. I have seen him catch bait on Friday and fish that bait both Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday I looked at the remaining baits and they looked fresh. Now, water quality has a lot to do with how well your baits hold up over time. I keep mine near the month of the harbor where it can get plenty of flow. Heavy weight on the bottom keeps the netting upright.
Below are the drawings for The Top, The Lid and The Bottom of a live bait holding pen. It is made from PVC and net. A size and part list are included in the drawings. I have seen people use landscape net from Lowes and I have seen people use vinyl coated shrimp net and both work. Just make sure that the net is coated in some way and not rough and coarse. In the #1 position on the top and bottom diagram please note that PVC poles are needed. They are not included in the materials list. This is so that you can make the pen as tall as you like. IF you have any questions please let us know.
Tight Lines and Slight Seas