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Tuna Tank in the Keys holding shrimp/crabsOne of the features that the Big Tuna is getting a lot of attention for is the “tuna tank” which is a hatch that is in the center of the boat, is virtually flush with the deck and is inserted into a large opening in the boat that allows access to the water below.  The tank (insert tub) is shipped with your Big Tuna as a solid structure at first (which you can use as dry storage).  However, to simply turn it into a live bait well all you’ll need is a drill and a drill bit.  Many of our dealers will have this if you want to have them make this modification before you leave their shop.  Once holes are drilled into the tank the water will fill up to the water line and you have your live bait well!  Simple!  No plumbing, no electricity and no hassle!

So, I bet your wondering things like, “Where should I drill the holes?” or “How big should the holes be?”  All good questions and you’ll be happy to know that we’ll be coming out with a video user manual for all our boats that help explain things like this, as well as the promo video that covers it as well.  There really isn’t a right or wrong way to make your Tuna Tank, but there certainly are more effective ways to do it based on what kind of live bait you intend to put in the tank and the size of them. 

If you are using smaller live bait, such as small minnows or shrimp then you may want to drill holes that are in the 1/4 size range, but you’ll need to drill about 15-30 of these size holes to be most effective.  However, if you are using your bait well to keep larger pin fish, shad, trout, bream or mullet etc alive then maybe drill fewer holes, but in the 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inch size allowing more water to flow through the well giving your larger bait plenty of fresh oxygen.  The 1 1/2 to 2 inch holes could be drilled if you intend to only use it to keep fish or other creatures (crabs, lobsters etc) you’ve caught alive.  I use my Tuna Tank to keep the fish alive and healthy until I meet up with my fishing partner to get some photos, I wanted to get one of the best Pond Liners to keep the fish, this way there would be much more space.  This is clearly better for the fish than keeping it on a stringer or having to keep it out of the water while you paddle over to your fellow anglers.  Then, the fish is photographed and Closeup of tuna tank with crab/shrimpreleased in good health.  Here is a picture of a large bass that the tank was used in this manner for.

One other cool idea we tried with success is drilling large holes in the 1 1/2 inch range and adding some simple mesh screen to it. This allows for fewer holes, maximum circulation, but yet makes it where bait of any size can live in the tank.


The next question is about “where” to drill the holes.  The only real mistake you can make on the “where” is if you drill the holes on the bottom and you happen to be fishing in brushy, rocky or heavily marsh grass environments where these such items could puncture through the holes and into your tank.  Keep the holes on the sides of the tank only.  I prefer to place at least some holes on either end to allow for water to flow through most effectively and then the majority of the holes I place on the sides.  Again, no right or wrong here but I also place the holes fairly close to the bottom of the tank so that when I take the boat out of the water, the water flows out of the tank completely.  You may however, not want that to happen!  You may want a few inches of water to stay in the tank when you remove the tank or drag your Big Tuna onto the shore.  If so, place your holes about 3 inches above the bottom of the tank and of course water will only go out to the level of the holes.

Another creative option you can do is drill just a few large holes and then get some cork and plug those holes.  This way, you walk into the bait shop, have them drop your live bait into your insert and walk out with your bait to put it into the tank.  Then, upon arrival to the water you just have to put your kayak in the water and now you can unplug the holes to ensure maximum oxygen and circulation for your bait.

Also, feel free to paint your tuna tank with a lighter color so that it is a little easier to see your bait.  Due to the fact that the tank comes in black really is not much of an issue as far as the fish’s health is concerned because water is constantly moving through the tank, but some people do feel that a lighter color is better for them.  I like to paint mine just so I can see them a little easier!

Also, notice on this last photo we’ve got the tuna tank in its recessed position. Due to the fact that the water line determines the level in your tank, when fishing in the boat solo (if you’re smaller like I am) you may need to push the tank down into its recessed position to allow for enough water to effectively keep larger fish alive.  This big bass was much better off in about 8 or 9 gallons of water in the recessed position than it was in about 3.5 gallons in the raised position.

As you can see, with so many different uses for the tank we wanted to leave the simple hole customization to you, the consumer, because each of you may want to do it a different way based on your needs!  Now, go fill your tuna tank!