Since I began kayak fishing, I have looked for ways to keep my bait alive (when I fish with live bait) without breaking the bank. I didn't want to invest in a live well for a kayak, or try to build my own. I also needed something that worked for me, unlike my Frabill “Flo Troll”.
The Flo Troll is fine for a short day of fishing, but I can’t keep my shrimp and mud minnows together (or whatever else I choose to put in there) without most of the shrimp dying. It’s also a pain for me trying to paddle a kayak with the extra drag of a Flo Troll.
In May of this year, I was fishing in the Jacksonville Kayak Fishing Classic when I saw a booth setup for the “Live Bait Mini Mate”. I had heard about them, but had never gotten an up-close look at the product. A few weeks after the tournament I decided I wanted one, and contacted Ron at LiveBaitMate.com, which is based in St. Augustine, FL. The Live Bait Mate comes in two different sizes, but the “mini” is the ideal size for us kayakers. It is about the same size as your standard Flo Troll. I received the Live Bait Mini Mate a few days later, and it was time to put it to the test.
The first thing you will notice about the Live Bait Mate is the open design. It was created in a way to reduce drag and keep water flowing around the bait. It also fits perfectly into a five-gallon bucket for easy transport. You will notice two separate compartments. This is a great idea when using more than one kind of bait - like shrimp and mud minnows; it will keep them separate, and your shrimp stay alive. When using a Flo Troll, or anything else with only one compartment, you risk having your minnows kill off all of your shrimp. The Live Bait Mate solves this issue.
I took the Live Bait Mate out for about six hours the first time on the water. I thought the product was great. The hardest thing for me to do was to figure out exactly where I wanted it to “troll.” I tested it to the immediate left of me, thinking this would make for easy access. It got in the way of paddling a little, and it didn’t seem to ride correctly. I tried it a little farther back, but had the same issue with the “ride.” Even though it has the open design, it tended to tilt down into the water and create a little drag. I ended up tying it off so that it would troll about two feet behind the kayak. This was the best place for it for me. While paddling, it flowed through the water with minimal drag, almost to the point where you didn’t know it was there. When it is time to get your bait, you just unlatch the lid, lift it up a little, and pick up what you want. There is no running your hand around trying to catch bait, or having to dump water out to get easier access - it’s all right there when you need it.
I would highly recommend The Live Bait Mate to anyone who fishes with live bait. It keeps your bait alive, easy to get to, and doesn’t break the bank. This is a U.S. made product, made in the oldest city, St. Augustine, FL. You can check out more information, pictures, and video at the website – LiveBaitMate.com.
About the Author: Brandon is a native of Jacksonville, FL and began kayak fishing in December of 2010. He had fished a little here and there, but didn't take it up seriously until this same time. With kayak in hand he began fishing the creeks of Jacksonville, and his addiction began.