In an ideal world, the bite would always be red hot and you’d be catching so many dang fish that you’d never have a need to store any of your baits overnight. Reality check… we know that this scenario isn’t usually the case. Not sure about you, but after scooping up pass crabs for a couple of hours or spending the cash on dozens of live shrimp, we’d prefer to see them preserved alive to be used another day.
One of the most important tips for storing crabs or shrimp overnight is to limit the amount of water on the baits since more water on the baits equals more pressure on the baits. The second is to keep them out of the sunlight. We suggest filling a 5 gallon bucket with just enough water to cover the tops of the crustaceans (a couple of inches) and then using a battery-operated aerator to consistently drive oxygen into the water. Garages are good places to store a bucket of baits since the cement floor will help keep the water cool while keeping the bucket out of the sunlight.
If you don’t own a portable aerator or baitwell, you can also keep crustaceans alive by heavily soaking a towel in saltwater, then wrapping the baits in the towel and setting them in a cooler on top of a frozen reusable cooler pack. The cooler pack will lower the crustacean’s metabolism while the saltwater soaked towel will allow them to breathe. These techniques can keep shrimp, crabs and sand fleas alive for 2 to 3 days.