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I don’t keep bass but I’d like to keep red ear and crappie to eat. Seems most people suggest putting them on ice. So is a bag cooler with frozen water bottles or the blue ice stuff work or is loose ice needed? Stopping to get a bag of ice each time is a bit of a hassle. I’d love to keep them alive somehow but I’ve not seen a good option yet. 

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A five gallon bucket with an aerator seems the logical choice to keep them alive.

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This time of year you can simply hang a stringer over the side. Once it starts warming up, those cooler bags would be a good idea. You can use ice packs. Doesn’t have to he loose ice. 

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Old school fish basket can be had on ebay for $5-$20.  If there are turtles in the lake you are fishing, they will often eat fish off a stringer. 

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If it was me I'd look towards a floating fish basket. At least you'd have the option of showing mercy and releasing them if you don't catch enough to eat. 

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I saw a guy made a live well from a laundry basket and a pool noodle. Not a bad idea, use the lake as the live well. Drag it along behind you.

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I fish Barkley lake in Kentucky and may peddle a few miles so the drag behind thing may be too much to handle. Putting them on ice is the downfall of turning them back though but probably the best option. I looked at this today and it looks close to a Yeti but a much cheaper price. 

 

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/magellan-outdoors-frosty-vault-36-can-cooler

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I prefer a fish basket, non floating.  The floating lid creates drag with moving and opens the door... I have had crappie leave the basket.  

 

What I do is cut a pool noodle and then put it on the basket handle.  The basket now sinks deeper for the fish and has little drags other than the weight of the fish.  

 

I tie the basket on a clear and when I really need to move, I take the whole basket out of the water, put in in the kayak or on my legs.

 

Alternative to the the basket is a plain old stringer.  The fish might startle when they try to swim off, lol!  

 

I fish some Waters with predators like snapping turtles, gar, bowfin, snakes... In places like these, I really prefer the basket or will have a place near short I will periodically drop my fish off.  I have seen those creatures steal people s stringer and don't want anything that big tipping me over, u expectedly.

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You wont have room for a huge, heavy, aerated cooler in a kayak.  I don't like fish baskets at all.  No matter what, if there's fish in there, they create drag, and you'd still have to buy ice and a cooler to transport the fish home.  Seems like on extra step.  The best option for me is a flexible cooler.  I'm using one made for my Hobie Compass, but any decent soft sided cooler will do.  Buying ice isn't a big deal, since I stop at a convenience store before just about every trip for snacks and drinks.  Ice also keeps them as fresh as possible on the ride home, and you'd need to buy some if you use a basket.

 

IMG_1232-X2.jpg

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I use a stringer at my buddy's pond because he likes for me to keep everything and put in his basket. I have yet to have a turtle eat any off the stringer, though i've heard of it happening. My buddy used to give me his basket to use, but it put a lot of drag on the kayak. It felt like I was paddling twice as much on one side. And when i would paddle, the door would open from the drag of the water and fish would escape. The stringer is less cumbersome. 

 

I would add that I usually only drag fish around his pond once before i take them off the stringer and put in the basket, especially in summer. When i've returned a few days later, they're almost always still alive.

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