LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – It is a simple hot weather fishing strategy, but many anglers don't follow the logical plan.
Keep your bait cool, advise anglers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Minnows, worms, nightcrawlers, crickets, meal worms, wax worms all cannot take the kind of heat Arkansas is experiencing. Even if you go out at daybreak, the bait will suffer unless some cooling is used.
Many fishermen simply put the bait in the cooler that has their drinks and some ice. Ugh, you say? OK, use a separate cooler.
With minnows in a metal or plastic foam bucket, a handy cooling agent can be a plastic drink or water bottle filled about three-fourths full with water and frozen. Drop it in with the minnows, and they'll be fresh and lively for most of the day – or as long as you can stand the heat.
That frozen plastic bottle or several of them can keep containers of worms in good shape for hours. The cricket container can fit in a cooler with ice bottles around it.
If you use a separate cooler for the bait, it can do double-duty holding the fish you catch, fish like bream and crappie. Bigger fish, of course, need a larger cooler. If your boat has a live well, a bag of ice purchased on the way to the lake or river can keep it cool for several hours. Block ice lasts longer, too.