Frequently Asked Questions:
1) When should I pick up my bait?
Minnows are a perishable product. In order to sell baitfish profitably you have to plan efficiently. We suggest buying the bulk of your minnows right before your busiest time of the week. This allows you to have a large inventory for your highest sales period; as well as, lowering your inventory for your slow sales period.
2) How many fish can I keep in my container and how long will they live?
There are many ideas and guidelines available on this topic, but there is no set answer. The two most important factors are temperature and density. The cooler the water is, the longer you can keep fish alive. The warmer the water is, the shorter their “shelf life” is. The more fish you have in a container the shorter the “shelf life”; the less fish in a container, the longer the “shelf life”. With a little planning a person can use this information to formulate an efficient plan for your baitfish operation. The biggest key is the lower the fish density, the better quality. We feel 10 gallons of water to 1 lb. of fish is an optimum level for lengthy supplies.
3) My fish are “topping”, what can I do?
When a fish starts to top, it is a very bad sign. The best way to cure this problem is to prevent it from happening. This problem occurs when a fish has been kept in storage too long for conditions. At a high density this can happen within 24 hours, while at lower densities fish can often be kept for more than a week without this condition occurring. Normally, a fish that starts to “top” is past the point of “curing”. The best thing to do is replace your supply. It is in everyone’s best interest to rotate your inventory much like grocery stores do with vegetables. If there is ANY way possible do not mix fresh inventory with old inventory. Your bait supply is only as good as your weakest minnows. If you mix a fresh batch with an older batch, treat the entire batch as if they are the same age as the older batch.
4) How many fish should I buy?
This is a very important aspect of running an efficient and profitable baitfish operation. You should try to buy the amount which will last you until your next planned purchase. If you are picking fish up on a weekly basis, you should pick up an amount equal to what you hope to sell that week. Coming to that amount is a more of an art than a science. It depends on a variety of factors: weather, fishing success, and holidays are among the most important. If a person doesn’t purchase enough fish for a busy weekend and misses sales as a result this is a catastrophic mistake. Not only does your business miss that sale, it stands to lose valuable customers. On the other hand, if a person over orders and purchases too much inventory this has equally disastrous consequences. This normally results in a high mortality situation due to overcrowded holding facilities. If this situation arises, we suggest thinning your holding tanks as much as possible; as well as, changing the water out in those tanks often. This is called “flushing”. By changing the water out we are effectively lowering the ammonia in the fish’s environment hopefully increasing its’ shelf-life. Both of these situations are to be avoided. If either one happens on a regular basis it is impossible to make it in the baitfish business.