Stanley Sevin pretty much grew up in the bait business — his family owns Bait House Seafood in Chauvin — so he knows a few tricks about how to maximize the lifespan of shrimp in your livewell.
“I’ve been in it since I was a little boy,” said Sevin, now 30, who works full-time offshore in the tugboat industry but still helps out at the bait shop located at 6003 Highway 56 on his days off. “You know how we do it down the bayou, growing up in the family business.”
With the help of his GoPro camera, Sevin decided to create a video and share some of his inside knowledge with anglers so they get the most bang for their buck when purchasing live shrimp.
Here are his Top 4 tips to keep bait shrimp alive, but be sure to check out the video for more details.
1. Your livewell matters.
Whether you’re using an ice-chest, your boat’s livewell or a 5-gallon bucket, the shape doesn’t matter much. But interestingly enough, Sevin suggests the inside of your livewell not be white. He actually recommends gray.
“The reason for the darker color is that shrimp in Louisiana are more used to muddy water, so you want to try to keep it natural for them,” he said.
He also recommends installing a divider mesh or screen to break the wave action in the livewell while the boat is in motion, and so that shrimp will have something to hold on to.
“I use a 5-gallon bucket, and on the inside all I did was put a rod going across with a piece of webbing hanging down with some weights at the bottom of it,” Sevin said. “I’ve seen guys use screens off of a house window, and that actually works real good for ice chests running across long-ways.”
2. Keep your water oxygenated.
A big mistake anglers make is constantly circulating new water into their livewell. Unfortunately, the water being pulled in might not be suitable for the shrimp, he said.
“You don’t want to do that because at the top of the canal (where water is being pulled), the oxygen level typically isn’t good, and it’s sucking in warmer water,” he said. “All your good oxygen is at the bottom of the canal.”
The best thing to do is recirculate the water in your livewell for best results. Be sure to check out the video for many more aeration tips.
3. Monitor the water temperature inside your livewell.
The cooler the shrimp stay, the better off — within limits, Sevin said. Ideally, the temperature in the livewell can be up to 15 degrees cooler than the water where you’re fishing.
“Take the temp of the outside water at the surface and take the temp of the livewell, and if you need it cooler you can put more ice,” Sevin said. “But don’t use regular ice out of the ice chest because it’s got chlorine in it. You want to freeze bottles of canal or bayou water the night before.”
4. Don’t crowd your livewell with shrimp.
Sevin’s tried and true calculation is to allow for about 10 shrimp per gallon of water in your livewell. If you’re using a 5-gallon bucket, that would be a maximum of 50 shrimp.
“That’s the safest number,” he said. “When the outside temperature of the water is cooler, you can put more live shrimp in.”