A good livewell is a must-have on a fishing boat, but just how good is yours, or the one on a boat you’re looking at? Check out these key features, to find out.
CORNERS are a big no-no. Baitfish will swim into them and bang the walls of the well, injuring themselves. They should at least be rounded, and an oval-shaped well is ideal.
WATER flow can be summed up thus: more is better. Wimpy wells rigged with 360-gph bilge pumps won’t deliver enough fresh water to the fish. Figure on needing about 500 gph per 10 gallons of capacity, if you want your baits to stay in tip-top shape. Same goes for overall capacity – more is better, period.
VIEWING PORTS or clear lids are a bonus, since they allow you to keep an eyeball on your baits even as you cruise.
STAND PIPES are the pits – they can come loose during long cruises, allowing the well to drain and your fish to die. If you must have a stand pipe, screw-ins are more secure than pop-ins, but fixed drains are far superior.
BLUE interiors are good; light reflects off of white gel coat, and can scare the baitfish. But a baby-blue interior has a calming effect on the fish. Calmer baits are better, since they don’t freak out and swim into the walls of the well, or expend too much energy.
RUBBER SEALS on the lid are a must-have. Wells that don’t close securely often allow water to spill out, and on rough days, may soak your passengers.