Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dive N Dog celebrates six year anniversary

Dive N Dog celebrates six year anniversary

September 23, 2009 – Dive N Dog is thrilled to celebrate its six year anniversary. The progress Dive N Dog has made over the past six years has been remarkable. From a single ladder to nearly 400 items in the product line, Dive N Dog has expanded extensively. Our square footage has doubled and will double again within the next 6 months. We continue to enhance our capabilities by increasing the breadth of our machinery, our technology utilization and the quality of our people.

"Who knew six years later we would be making marine, automotive, alternative energy and industrial parts on three continents. As a technology guy, I wasn’t sure how this was going to work. But six years later, we are probably the most automated; software integrated and controlled stainless fabrication company in the USA. Because I have always known that technology will drive progress in any business, DND has applied it to everything we do!" - Scott Rowles, President, Dive N Dog

Dive N Dog is a fully capable stainless steel fabricator located in Naples, Florida. We proudly manufacture an extensive selection of stainless steel marine accessories including: ladders, steering wheels, rod holders, grab rails, cleats, anchor rollers and more. Our team is skilled in the manufacture of custom parts. We utilize Fanuc robotic welding, CNC cutting, machining, bending and high quality electro-polishing to ensure that your parts will be completed in a consistent, high quality fashion.

At Dive N Dog we pride ourselves on delivering extraordinary customer service. To find out more about Dive N Dog visit

Your One Source for Marine Stainless

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kodiak Bait Tanks

Here are some frequently asked questions about live bait tanks. These questions are asked by users across the country and apply to most bait fish in general.
Q. Why are round and oblong tanks best for keeping bait fish?
A. Fin fish used for bait naturally school in a circular pattern, so round and oblong tanks are the best choice. Sea World, The Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Scrips all design and build their tanks round or oblong. These shapes provide the most efficient use of space. Fish held in square or rectangular tanks will round off the corners when they school and swim in a round pattern in a square tank and oblong pattern in rectangular tank. At best the corners become wasted space unused by the fish, at worst the fish become trapped in the corners and suffer as a result.
Q.Will bait fish live longer in a tall tank or lower profile tank?
A. Both will keep your bait alive, and both have disadvantages. The tall tanks popular in California take up less deck space and slosh less. Although low profile tanks may be prone to sloshing, they provide more room for fish to school. Many species of bait fish will migrate to the bottom half of the tank despite its height, so a low profile tank will give the fish more area in which to swim. At Kodiak we make both. My suggestion is buy a tall tank if you fish in areas where sea conditions or the size of your boat would make a lower, longer tank slosh.
Q. I can’t seem to keep bait alive for very long, WHY?
A. This is probably the most frequently asked question I get from anglers from Maine to Florida to California. Although water flow, temperature, tank shape, ammonia buildup and other factors dictate how long bait will survive in captivity, the number one reason for premature death in bait fish is mechanical abrasion. Mechanical abrasion simply put, is anything that removes scales or slime from fish. Removal of this protective layer causes what Marine biologist call death due to "Osmotic regulation" more simply, the fish dies due to dehydration. When fish loose slime and scales they dehydrate thru their skin, to counteract the dehydration they take in more water, in the case of salt water species this includes salt. This unusually high intake of salt causes kidney failure and the fish die. That is why fish that don’t lose scales will last longer than fish that do.
Q. What can I do to prevent this?
A. There are many steps you can take to reduce mechanical abrasion:
1. Don’t overcrowd your tank. While you may start the trip with more bait, they will have a much higher collision rate against other fish and be forced against the walls thus losing more scales. What you will have to fish with will be disappointing.
2. Don’t mix species of bait. The larger hardy bait will impact the fragile bait that will lose scales, die and fall to the bottom of the tank. The scales free floating in the tank will get into the gills of the hardier bait killing them.
3. If cast netting bait or jigging try to avoid touching the bait with your hands. Using a cast net causes scale loss but emptying it onto the deck then picking up the bait to put it into the tank is even worse. Empty the net into the tank if possible. Use a butter knife to remove fish from bait jigs. Slip the dull side of the knife under the hook and shake the fish off into the tank avoiding contact.
4. When buying bait from a commercial bait provider ask him not to scoop too many fish at once. Crowding the net causes the bait at the bottom to be packed and loose scales. Ask how long he has had the bait, generally the bait he has had the longest will be in the best shape. This is called cured bait, the bait damaged when first caught will have died and the remaining will generally be in good shape.
5. Plumb your tank correctly. It is important to insure that the volume of water is sufficient to flush out impurities and keep the oxygen high. As to the question, "Do I put the water in at the top of the tank or bottom?". Both create problems. A powerful stream emitted by an undamped feed line below water level can strip scales, and cause bait to panic in an attempt to dodge the flow. Installing spray bars or 90 degree fittings to direct the water against a side wall causes problems with fish impacting the fittings. Water entering above the water line eliminates these problems, but if the drain is also at the top stagnant water and ammonia may build up at the bottom of the tank. The best way to introduce water is thru a water baffle plate that is flush to the tank wall, and introduces water thru slots evenly over the entire water column. It is important that there are enough slots to reduce turbulence and that the slots are cut at an angle to create a directional water flow inside the tank. Directional water flow tanks help the bait school while providing more oxygen over there gills. However you chose to plumb your tank, "Keep It Clean." Spray bars, exposed fitting, drains or other plumbing pipes that the fish will rub against all lead to scale loss and premature bait death.
6. Fill time, or the time it takes the tank to fill to the overflow fitting. A good starting fill time is 5 to 8 minutes, then adjust for conditions. Most attention to this subject has been directed at turbulence from too fast fill time. Although turbulence or too strong a current in a tank is not desirable, neither is depleted oxygen (O2) content nor the build up of ammonium from fish excretions. Cold water holds more O2 than warm water, so anglers that fish in warm water areas must increase flow to keep O2 levels up. If your bait fish are gasping for water, they need more O2, so you need to increase flow. Ammonium build up is another factor, the more bait and the type of bait you are using will effect the ammonium build up. It is imperative to keep the level low for healthy fish. Increase flow when carrying more bait. A tip for reducing ammonium. When you first fill the tank, the fish will excrete more from the stress. Open the bottom drain cap for a few minutes allowing the tank to drain from both the top and bottom to flush the tank out faster. Be sure to watch the water level.
7. Another important factor relating to water flow is keeping fresh water free of air bubbles. If you are getting cloudy water or see air bubbles coming in thru your intake line check to see if the intake strainer on the bottom of your boat is picking up turbulent water from a forward mounted transducer, a propeller, or hull chine.
8. Use a small light at night to illuminate your tank. This will prevent fish from crashing into the walls and each other. The light will also sooth the fish and make them less spooky at night. Large scale marine aquariums do not turn off all the lights at night for this reason. Look into the tank at night, if you can see the bait they can see each other and the walls. The light source can be built-in or a small deck light that will shine through the tank.
9. Don’t install the drain too far down from the top of the tank. This can cause excessive sloshing, which is hard on the bait. At Kodiak we install our drain fittings 2 3/4" down from the top of the tank.
10. Rough tank interiors cause scale loss. Fiberglass tanks may look great from the outside but will injure bait fish that rub against their rough interiors. If you insist on fiberglass go to the additional expense of a double walled tank, in the long run it will be worth it.
11. When you remove bait from the tank don’t dig the net deep into the tank. This can injure the other fish. If your friends are diggers let them catch the bait by hand. Hand nets that fall into and are left in the tank are murder on bait fish, again causing scale loss.
12. Finally, don’t beat up your bait by going too fast. Pounding across waves or even small chop can cause sloshing in your tank that will rub scales off. You may get there first, with dead bait.
Q. Why a bait pump, don’t aerators work?
A. Aerators supply only a limited amount of O2 to the water. They cannot maintain the level of O2 saturation in the water that you can achieve by pumping in raw seawater. They do not remove harmful ammonium or foam from the water. Water temperature can rise thus reducing its O2 level further and the increased water temperature can cook your bait. When used for long periods nitrogen will also build up in the water, causing build up in the blood of the fish. Who needs these problems? Fresh water in, old water out, is much easier and better for your bait.
Q. Do I need to add chemical conditioners to my bait?
A. I have had little experience using these products since their main use is in closed aerator systems. If you are supplying fresh water all the time while constantly discharging the old, they won’t stay in the system very long and I feel they are not needed.
Q. What about bottom drain tanks (reverse flow)?
A. This type tank drains from the bottom, the water then goes up an exterior mounted stand pipe which establishes the water level. You will see this design used in the marine aquarium field. The name for this type of plumbing is called a "Hartford Loop." When designed properly they remove fecal matter and scales from the bottom of the tank. The problem with using this design on free standing live well is that in order for the system to work properly the bottom of the tank must be coned like a funnel and the drain at the bottom must be large enough to prevent clogging from dead fish that fall to the bottom. Coned bottoms do not sit flat and are therefore not feasible for free standing live wells. Attempts have been made to duplicate this self cleaning design using a flat bottom tank with the drain on the side wall, at the bottom. However to create the required suction and pull scales out a minimal amount of drain slots are used, and they tend to clog badly. If a few dead fish or squid eggs get sucked up against the drain the slots will clog and the tank will over flow out the top. If you are designing a tank that will be inside an enclosure the coned shaped bottom and Hartford Loop drain works well.
Q. What about hand wells, windows and tops?
A. Hand wells are common on larger tanks. They allow you to hold a few bait fish at a time instead of dipping the net in every time you need bait. Smaller tanks lack the room to adequately provide for a splash rim around them and the water and bait slosh out and end up on the deck. Windows are impressive, your guests can see the bait inside the tank but may harm the bait if they bump their noses trying to swim out. -- (I concur whole hartedly!) - CPM Tops or covers are a must for keeping birds out. They also help keep the water in the tank in rough seas. A poly board cover also makes a handy cutting surface.
Q. Do I need to mount my tank permanently? I hate drilling holes in my boat.
A. Holding a tank in place mechanically is preferred, you never know when you may run into bad weather and sea conditions. A tank containing several hundred pounds of water rolling around your boat is dangerous. But, if you insist on no holes, strap it in, or empty it when sea conditions warrant. Scoot Guard is a matting material available in most RV and boat stores that can be used to reduce sliding. When laid on a fiberglass deck under a full tank it will be almost impossible to slide. This material works best with low profile tanks with a low center of gravity that will not tip over. Another option for boats with a swim step or platform, is to use an extension board. Kodiak sells extension boards to fit its tanks that are designed to use a clamping arrangement requiring no drilled holes.
Q. Can I glue my polyethylene plastic tank?
A. NO, the polyethylene used for most plastic tanks cannot be glued. The base material contains paraffin or wax and nothing will stick. Fittings can be installed using a process called spin welding. A hole is drilled or routed in the tank and a pipe fitting of the same material is then spun in at high speed. The two objects melt together due to the heat generated by friction and become one. The only other way to mend polyethylene is a process called hot air welding. Marine sealants can be used to seal holes that have screws in them, from mounting rod holders or other add on’s. The sealant prevents the hole from leaking but does not bond to it.
Q. I own a plastic polyethylene tank, what maintenance does it require?
A. Another advantage of polyethylene over fiberglass is that it needs no waxing. Nor will it chip, rot, or get spider web cracks These tanks are impervious to gas and oil. The same material is used for making boat gas tanks. Washing with the same soap that you use on your boat is all that is needed. Stains can be removed using a non abrasive cleaner like Soft Scrub with bleach. If you notice algae starting to form on the inside of the tank, it can be removed by closing off the water intake hose, filling the tank with water and adding a ½ cup of household bleach. Let the tank stand over night and it will be algae free in the morning.
A good quality polyethylene tank should last 10 years or more, if the manufacturer uses material that has a high UV rating, also call "enviormental stress crack rating." At Kodiak we use the highest rated UV treated material available. UV, or sunlight is the only thing that is detrimental to polyethylene. Covering the tank when not in use can double its life. A simple cover can be a large size trash bag with a bungee cord to hold it on.
Q. Why should I buy a Kodiak Pro Flow when others are available for less money?
A. A product is worth what it does not what you pay for it. Pro Flow tanks were designed after years of research on what works for keeping small bait fish alive in captivity. We spent countless hours with the professionals in the marine aquarium industry and long range charter boat skippers asking for their ideas. The result was the development of a live well bait tank that does what no other can, provide the optimum captive environment for your bait fish. Our patented directional flow water inlet system, no clog drain, built in light dome and rounded shapes all combine to keep your bait alive. Providing the satisfaction of arriving at the fishing grounds with a tank full of hot bait and then watching line disappear from your reel as you hookup to the fish of a life time."

Bait Tank Basics

One thing anglers can’t get past if they want to use live bait is they have to be able to keep the little fish alive.
That sounds pretty basic, but as I examine more baitwells, I’m continually bombarded by the fact that not all manufacturers devote much time or effort to getting this crucial component correct.No doubt that opening paragraph will have some folks believing I’m off my rocker, but if the shoe fits, no amount of spin doctoring will solve the problem. It’s probably caused because many baitwells are a last thought and often become merely a place to hold water in boat and are shaped or plumbed in a way that doesn’t function well.Recently I overheard a salesman at a boat dealership telling a potential customer the baitwell in his boat held hardtails (blue-runners) well. I waited until they’d moved away and stepped into the boat to look at the baitwell. It might, and the key word is might, keep hardtails alive, but in North Carolina, we fish with menhaden. And pogies wouldn’t have lasted more than a few hours in that baitwell.It constantly amazes me so many boat manufacturers retool existing boats, introduce new models, and do all sort of things to attract customers but rarely install a well-designed baitwell. It can’t be prohibitively expensive. Many anglers buy boats then replace or re-work the baitwells before using them, so customers obviously will spend money to have a good bait-carrying system. Anglers almost always make necessary changes to get the results they want. We don’t want any compromises, just a baitwell that addresses all of our concerns and are capable of keeping bait fresh and lively all day. Doesn’t anyone remember “If you build it, they will come”?There are two basic types of baitwells — one recirculates the same water while the other provides a constant exchange of fresh water (a few are rigged to operate both ways). With my background as a live-bait king mackerel fisherman, let’s first discuss baitwells with a constant exchange of water. (I’ve been doing some testing of recirculating baitwells for a variety of saltwater baits that’ll be reviewed in a future column).Baitwell definitions begin with shapes. Sometimes shrimp and a few species of minnows will survive for a while in a square or rectangular baitwell, but round is the preferred shape. Oval is a reasonable second shape, but the corners must be well radiused and not short angles. Flowing water doesn’t turn corners well and, in short corners, the water flow misses some water deep in the corners and doesn’t get exchanged and re-oxygenated. Any bait that stays in this water will suffer a loss of oxygen, weaken and eventually die. Unfortunately, moreso than any other baitfish, menhaden have an amazing tendency to find their way into a corner and not be able to find their way out. In a baitwell with short corners, they “cornify” themselves until they weaken and eventually expire.For best results, water should enter a constant-exchange baitwell at or very near the bottom, so it’s angled to flow around the baitwell, circulate several times and exit at the top. I’m not an engineer, but even I understand this routing procedure introduces cooler, better oxygenated water at the bottom of the baitwell, allows it to circulate several times as it warms and releases oxygen before being removed at the top. The rising and warming water in a baitwell also picks up some of the bodily excretions of the bait and removes them from the water. Ammonia and urine are a pair of the more common bait wastes the water can carry and remove.Another problematic waste is feces. Unfortunately, water that’s flowing fast enough to pick up and carry feces is often detrimental to the bait, so it must be removed otherwise.To remove feces and any other solid or heavier-than-water waste, a small drain in the center of the bottom of the baitwell works well. Many baitwells have a large drain in or near their center and using it for removing the solid waste can be as simple as making a reducing bushing or including a valve to slow the flow. This drain must have enough suction (flow) to help pull the waste out, but not be large enough to seriously interfere with filling the baitwell and disturb the circulation of the water while it’s full. Usually 3/8 to 1/2 inch is about right. The water in a constant-exchange baitwell should be completely exchanged numerous times every hour. Baitwell pumps are rated at zero head pressure and at open flow, which means their ratings are optimistic and rarely correct. Usually there are constrictions (hard bends, casting blocks, etc.) in the hose and/or fittings, and the water has to be raised, which creates flow restrictions and head pressure. In a transom or leaning-post baitwell, most 800 GPH pumps work well enough to average 500 to 600 GPH. Add some water loss through the drain removing the solid waste and an 800 GPH pump may only turn over the water in a 50-gallon baitwell about eight times an hour, which is sufficient as long as the water is well oxygenated. Turnover rate can be checked by timing how many minutes it takes a baitwell to fill from empty to full overflow. (The actual rate of turnover will be slightly longer than the fill time because the pump won’t operate as efficiently with the pressure of a tank full of water holding it back as it does nearly empty, but this is a reasonably close measure). Simply divide the number of minutes to fill a baitwell into 60 to determine the number of times the water turns over in an hour. Water flow and pressure are somewhat related, but flow is good while pressure isn’t. Extra flow brings more fresh water and oxygen to the bait, but extra pressure can harm the bait by beating it up. An example: water flowing out of an open garden hose rarely has enough pressure to clean or hurt, but adding a nozzle to the hose increased the pressure to the point it’ll scour light residue and can hurt when pointed at bare skin from short distances. The same is true with the scales and flesh of baitfish and the shells of shrimp. One easy solution to keep good flow in a baitwell while reducing pressure is to increase the hose size between the pump and baitwell. I often use baitwell pumps with a 3/4-inch exhaust and increase this to 1 1/4- or 1 1/2-inch hose and fittings for the last few inches before the hose enters the baitwell. The amount of water flowing into the tank remains the same, but the pressure will be reduced by more than 50 percent.The amount of oxygen in the water is important. As we see when comparing the ability to hold bait during the heat of the summer with holding bait during the cooler spring and fall, warm water doesn’t hold oxygen as well as cooler water. Unfortunately, this isn’t a matter of cooling off the water after it is introduced into the baitwell—the water absorbs its oxygen well before then. Also, don’t be misled to believe any constant-exchange baitwell will bring enough oxygen to the bait simply because of constant flow. Many work well, but most can be improved. Water temperature is also important. As noted earlier, warm water doesn’t hold oxygen as well as cooler water. At first look, it appears cooling baitwell water will help as much as oxygenation. Unfortunately, putting bait caught in warm water into cool water often shocks them beyond recovery. Most anglers agree a difference of a couple of degrees can help hold bait, but at about 4 to 5 degrees the difference becomes a liability, not a plus. Besides, adding ice or a frozen water bottle to a complete exchange baitwell barely cools a little of the upper-level water before it’s drained by the overflow. Flow and pressure were mentioned earlier, but only in reference to baitfish. Shrimp are lighter than minnows, don’t swim particularly well, and are far more likely to be banged into something and injured in a baitwell with a highly pressurized flow. My recommendation for holding shrimp is to put something in the bottom of the baitwell for the shrimp to hold to and not get swept about by current. This isn’t as important in a baitwell that’s merely oxygenated and has no real water flow. But it can be crucial in a baitwell operating with complete exchanges multiple times each hour. Several anglers have said they drop their bait net into the baitwell and let the shrimp cling to it. This may work, but it seems strange to introduce a vertical obstruction to water circulation. I use several layers of plastic hardware cloth that are zip-tied together and held on the bottom by fishing weights. Mine is a non-corrosive solution and doesn’t stain the baitwell and contaminate it between uses. Some metals will do both if forgotten and left in the baitwell not being used. Plastic hardware cloth quickly can be inserted to hold shrimp or removed to hold fish, and it stores easily.Having an excellent baitwell isn’t difficult. If anglers are having problems keeping bait alive and healthy, these recommendations should help resolve those issues. Each tip will help to a limited degree and, when used in conjunction, they should combine to give anglers the healthiest and most-active baits.That often makes the difference between catching or merely going fishing.