Fishing Live Bait & Aeration Coolers

Are you someone who loves to spend the weekend out on the water fishing? Do you use artificial lures and bait or are you a bigger fan of live bait fishing? When bait fishing, it is important to remember that fish prefer things that move in the water. It is what will capture their attention best. Many artificial companies claim to “out fishlive bait, but we’ll leave this to you to decide. Many true fisherman prefer a bait cooler if they want to use live bait.

Jump To> Bait Cooler Reviews & Kits

Frabil Live Bait Cooler
Engel Live Bait Cooler
Frabil Kit
Live Bait Aeration Kit
MM Kit
Live Bait Aerator Kit





Cost: $$
Cost: $$$$
Cost: $$$
Cost: $$$
Size: 8 Q
Size: 13, 19, 30 Q
Size: Many
Size: Many
Rating: 4.6
Rating: 4.5
Rating: 3.8
Rating: 4.5

What are Live Bait Coolers?

Live bait coolers are the secret weapon of professional fishermen. They are specifically designed coolers that have an aerator. These are different from fishing bags or even marine coolers. The aerator provides valuable oxygen to fish and bait that are in the cooler and helps them to live longer than they would normally. This means, when it is time for your next weekend long fishing trip, you can stock up on bait and they will still be living when you are ready to cast your last throw on Sunday evening.

Why You Need a Bait Cooler?

Anyone can go fishing for an afternoon and use live bait from start to finish. However, if you are an avid fishing fan, you may want to fish until the last little piece of bait is gone. Whether you are using minnows, fiddlers, pin fish or any other type of bait that may be popular in your area, live bait works best. Every time. Do you want to have to make up fishing tales because your shrimp died prematurely?

Investing Wisely in a Live Bait Cooler Will Cut Cost

How many times have you have to run back to shore to get more live bait from the marina? Each trip to and from your favorite fishing spot, cost you not only time, but gas. All those dead shrimp that you tossed overboard, those were a waste of your money. Admittedly, they may have chummed up your favorite spot, but what did you gain? You were hauling butt to the nearest marina.

If you spend a year’s worth of weekend trips running to and from the marina or the bait and tackle shop that you visit to buy your bait, how much money will you spend? Is that more wasted bait and gas than a decent aerator will cost? Was it worth it to you?

DIY-Build Live Bait Coolers, Cheap Option

If you are worried about your budget for a live bait cooler, you can create one for yourself. However, you need a cooler that is at least 48 gallons and you need an aerator with the proper hoses. Many anglers prefer to create their own, so supplies for it are easy to come by and most do not cost very much.

Your cooler should be plastic with hard sides. We don’t suggest using a high end cooler for this, rather a cheaper outdoor cooler will work just fine. You will need to clean it well and keep it in an area that does not get direct sunlight. Hot water will also kill your bait, and the sunlight will, overtime, damage your cooler.

From there, you will need to use distilled water or water from the area your bait came from naturally. Fill your cooler to within a couple inches of the top.

Connect the hoses to your aerator and plug it into a power source. Block one end of the hoses with your finger to see if there is suction and pull. Attach the aerator to the side of the cooler, ensuring that your hoses are in the water and creating bubbles. Let it run like this for a few hours to make sure that it will work properly for an extended period of time before you add the live bait. Otherwise, you are still wasting money.

If you have a large enough cooler (check our favorite coolers here), you can keep your bait alive from one weekend to the next without any real issues, as long as you keep them fed and of course check on them to add more water if necessary every few days. You also need to keep in mind that your bait needs to be able to move freely within the water, so try to avoid overcrowding.

Here is a DIY video:

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 To Help You Get Started

Whether you are considering your option to buy bait coolers or you want to try creating your own, here are a few products to help you get started on the road to successful fishing trips. Are you ready to save your bait for the fish?

Engel Live Bait Cooler W/ Battery Powered Air Pump

Engel Live Bait CoolerThis 13 quart battery powered bait cooler is ideal for anyone who loves to fish. It has a locking lid, the aerator is attached to it and it is available in three different sizes; 13qt, 19qt and 30qt. Many users say that it can keep minnows alive for days and shrimp also stay alive during the heat of a summer fishing trip. The only potential problem with it is that it may not work well for small bait fish.


Frabill Personal Bait Station

Frabil Live Bait CoolerThis 8qt cooler and aerator system is a longer life bait cooler than most. It is fully insulated to keep bait cool and the water well oxygenized. It comes with a lift out net liner, the Frabill 1423 aerator, and a lid that will lock securely in place to prevent spills even if the water is rough. You will also get the hoses that you need. All you have to provide is the bait and 2 D sized batteries. Read More Here⇒

Frabill Aqua-Life Cooler Modification Aerator Kit

Live Bait Aeration KitIf you would prefer to DIY, this could be the kit for you. It comes with everything that you need to convert your average hard shelled cooler into a live bait tank. It has the aerator, the air hose, a micro bubble diffuser, and all the fittings and brackets necessary. The housing for the aerator is gasketed to ensure that it will not leak. You can then power it using 2 D sized batteries, a 12 volt adapter, or a 110 volt adapter. Read More On The Aeration Kit Here⇒


Marine Metal Super Saver 12-Volt Aeration Kit

Live Bait Aerator KitThis is also another aerator that all you have to provide is the cooler or bait well. It will fit both round or rectangular shaped live wells and works best on live well systems that are on a boat that is less than 21 feet. However, it can provide a backup aerating source for larger boats in case of breakage. This kit provides everything you need and can produce 99.5% saturation of dissolved oxygen. More On Marine Metal Aeration Kit⇒