by Bret Amundson |
It’s a system designed to keep bait, and water, fresh for longer periods of time. But its real benefit is its innovative process of making those minnows easier to access with your hands.
“I dumped out those minnows in the bucket for you.”
During a recent trip back home, I spent an afternoon fishing with some family, and despite a small amount of success getting fish to bite, we left the ice with a healthy number of live minnows. Wintertime allows for cooler garage temperatures, giving you more time to keep minnows alive. Unfortunately, that also allows for freezing opportunities.
I was working the freezing-and-thaw cycle—bringing the bucket inside every so often—to try and stay ahead of the game and keep the bait alive for our trip planned for the next day. That’s when my dad uttered those fateful words that brought my plan crashing down. Apparently, the bucket had overstayed its welcome during the “inside” part of the cycle.
The struggle that is the “bait lifespan” has been a problem for some time. I’ve had smelly buckets full of dead bait in the basement, and I’ve had frozen buckets that needed to be thawed out, thus becoming a smelly bucket full of dead bait later. It was time to try something new.
The Bait Butler from Flambeau Outdoors seemed perfect. It’s a system designed to keep bait, and water, fresh for longer periods of time. But its real benefit is its innovative process of making those minnows easier to access with your hands.
The way it works is simple: You snap it on your 5-gallon bucket, add water add bait, and go fishing. A net is attached to the cover and engineered so your bait swims inside the net, inside the bucket. When you’re ready for that shiner, you unclasp the secondary lid and pull up on the rod sticking out from the top. The first function of this rod is to open the lid to the bait with one hand. Secondly, the bottom of the rod has a scoop attached to the net that lifts out of the water, leaving minnows within easy reach. This keeps you from having to go wrist deep in the water as your hand chases minnows around the sides before they wiggle out between your fingers. Now, you’re able to grab a minnow, hook it up and close that lid, which puts your bait back down in the water, all with only one hand.
The Bait Butler comes with a number of accessories on the lid including hooks for hooks, a rod holder, a place to hang your aerator, and even a spot to put a glow stick on the inside to give you the ability to see your bait when you’re fishing after sunset.
While those accessories are nice and will take some of the hassle out of live bait fishing, I found the ease in which water can be changed to be one of the best features. Because the bait stays in the net, which is attached to the lid, you can just lift the lid off the bucket, dump the water, add new water, and reattach the li-net-bait combination and be back in business within seconds.
While this application will help in the inside and outside cycle of keeping your bait alive during the winter, it will actually be more effective in keeping your bait alive in the warm weather months as water will be kept cooler, fresher, and cleaner.
The Bait Butler is universal, so as buckets wear out, you can just snap it on a different bucket. The online price is $44.99 at www.Flambeauoutdoors.com, and when you consider the price of bait and having to replace it, the Bait Butler can pay for itself quickly.