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Captain's corner


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 24, 2000

If you fish with live bait, what would you rather have: a live well full of bait or just enough bait to get the job done? If you're like me, you'll take the latter.

Even if you have a 50-gallon live-well system, you can overload it. All the bait seems fine swimming with the water flow and looks great -- no red noses or surface-gulpers, and when you nab one with the dip net, it flops around a little.

However, the bait more than likely is not swimming unrestricted. Not only are the fish cramped, they aren't getting the oxygen necessary to keep them frisky. For frisky bait that darts and dives around the well so fast you can barely catch it, gold hook rigs are the way to go. With a small dehooker, you don't even have to touch the bait to take it off the hook.

Bait nets also are great for catching bait, especially if you're looking to get the job done quickly. The only problem is the mesh knocks off slime and scales and takes the life out of the bait. Use nets if you plan on using fresh dead bait, such as shad or tarpon.

So remember, don't overload the well and take care of your bait. It might mean the difference between success and failure.

- Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters in St. Petersburg. Call (727) 448-3817.

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