As a regular guy with a rod and reel that enjoys fishing with live bait, I hate it when my bait dies. The hot heat just takes them from me and it seems to be on purpose some days. I hate it because my hands start to smell like rotten fish only after a few minutes of their passing and that isn’t even the worst part.
I cannot stand it because they rarely catch me any fish. For fish that like prey that moves, wiggles, and swims, having dead bait just frustrates me more than I would like to mention.
I vividly remember days in the past where I wouldn’t catch a fish, the bait would rip apart, or I could not save them for my next fishing trip without making my house smell like canned sardines. Nasty.
Does this sound similar to you? To purchase a plastic bag of minnows or shiners and they die within the first few hours? That is a pain. One day, I started wondering if there existed a problem to fix this.
You know, a way to keep my bait from dying in what actually was 90+ degree Alabama sunlight? Did it exist or was it too good to be true? So I searched, searched, and searched. I didn’t find it. At least not until one day. One day, I finally found what I was looking for albeit by complete chance.
After a while, I eventually came across another angler by the name of Robert who suggested a certain product to me that would forever change the way I kept my bait alive. Thanks to him, we have decided to put together an Engel live bait cooler review.
We are going to cover the features of this product and why we believe it to be one of the best investments a live bait fisherman can make. We think it has some amazing things to offer and benefit any live bait angler regardless if they use minnows, shiners, smelt, Goldfish, worms, leeches, crickets, or anything else.
Product: Engel Live Bait Cooler
Price: $ 79.99 (Retail)
Cheapest Place To Buy: Amazon.com
Size Of Container: 13 Quarts
Guarantee: 5 Year Warranty (30 Days on Pump)
Would I Recommend It? Yes
Product Overview – What Is Included?
Keeping live bait alive is one of the hardest challenges in the sport of fishing. When your bait dies, it can lead to a lot of problems. It can start to smell and become a pain for the angler to enjoy the fishing day. While many fish will bite dead and unresponsive prey, they just don’t have near as much drawing power than alive does, unless you are a catfish.
If you can keep your minnows at a constant temperature, you can catch much more fish on any given day. In this Engel live bait cooler review, we will look at the features of the product, cover the pros and cons, and look at how well it does its intended job. It doesn’t just work for small fish.
It also works for pretty much any other creature that will comfortably fit inside. Crickets, worms, Shad, Bluegill, Herring, Chubs, Suckers, Rough fish, and even saltwater species like anchovies. The 13-quart bait cooler from Engel is a great bait bucket with the design of a cooler, which is also a purpose it serves as.
Included with the cooler is the pump, a metal mount to set it on, an air hose, and a lid that is completely waterproof. The product comes with a durable, insulated, base for keeping little creatures at a constant temperature all day long. The lid has two solid steel latches that close down very firmly to the base like a suitcase.
Also like a suitcase, it has a durable plastic handle that allows you to carry the cooler easily. The inside of the lid has a lip that fits very tightly together with the rest of the unit, forming a very tough, watertight, seal. Also included is an Engel brand pump. Also called an aerator, this device pushes oxygen into the water so the minnows can breathe.
The pump rest on the side of the unit via a special holder. It is possible to remove the pump when you need to replace the batteries or if you need it out of the way for cleaning or maintenance.
Pros and Cons
Knowing the pros and cons of any product is important. There are some great things about this particular product that certainly piques some interest. This product has a lot of great features and some minor details that could be improved on.
Most of the features of the product in question are positive and the few negative things can help you decide on whether the product is for you or not. We will go over everything good about it and everything that could warrant a little improvement. We will cover the things that we love and then the issues that a very small amount of people have with it.
This product performs well for most anglers who use it. The quality of the piece is pretty good and it suits most anglers who need a way to store their shad, sunfish, or minnows effectively. Most fishermen boast at the performance of this cooler and for good reason.
It works well and the minor issues that it does have are just that. They are very minor and they don’t warrant a ton of concern at all. They can really be ignored.
What We Love About It:
13 Full Quarts (That’s a ton of bait!)
Can be used as a cooler as well as a bait tank
Very well insulated to prevent drastic temperature changes
Easy to Transport and take with you (has a great handle to help)
Great Aerator Pump
Stainless Steel Latches
Bait Net Included
Comes with a 12V Car and Boat Adapter
Waterproof Seal Around Inside Of Lid For A Tight Fit
What Could Be Improved:
Make The Pump Quieter (It’s a little bit loud)
Include The Pump Batteries (Two D Batteries Not Included)
Only One Pump (A Second One Would Be Even Better)
Guarantee applies only to their website
Out Of Some People’s Budget
What We Love About It
The cooler is a very rugged and effective piece of engineering. It can take loads of abuse from rough fishermen. Even if you are one that constantly drops their bait bucket for whatever reason, it is not an issue because it is built like a freight train. You will really have to be trying to get it any damage worthy of repair.
It really is that durable. Another great thing about it is the size of the container. This particular model houses 13 quarts of water comfortably. For tose who fish minnow, shiners, and anything similar in size, that is a ton of fresh bait for one trip. 13 quarts are more than enough to house anywhere from 200 or more minnows without overcrowding.
The real question has yet to be answered as the answer to this one may make or break your decision. How well does it prevent drastic changes in temperature? The short answer? Perfectly. It always stays at the same temperature on the inside. They designed it in such a way that the only thing that changes temperature is the outside.
Basically, the outside of the unit may fluctuate here and there but the inside is always a constant degree. The great handle associated with it is another nice feature to have. It will allow you to carry and easily transport the unit to your destination with just one hand. The handle is also extremely comfortable on the fingers with a gentle grip texture that allows for easy carrying.
They also included a pump that provides the oxygen source. It puts out a great amount of oxygen to keep the bait alive. It can be run on batteries or plugged into your car or boat via an included power adapter which ensures that your bait will not suffocate if your batteries go out on you. Lastly, it comes with a bait net that makes retrieving smaller fish a very simple task. All you have to do is lift the net out to retrieve a shiner or smelt.
All of these are what an angler is generally looking for when they are after a good, reliable, way to keep lively prey on their person. This is certainly a product that will do that for you and do it well. The price for what you get is also quite good. You get a great piece of equipment that does exactly what you want it to do, the quality is excellent, and it can hold hundreds of small fish all day without killing them.
The insulation on this box is just incredible. It can keep fish alive in very high as well as very low temperatures. The transport handle is also another nice feature. It lets you pick up the unit and carry it anywhere rather easily. It doesn’t weigh a lot even when full of water. The aerator puts out a lot of oxygen for the fish to use as well.
It will run for a while on a single set of two D batteries. The latches that it utilizes to keep the lid closed are also something special. They are built to last and since they are made out of stainless steel, they will not rust or lose functionality, even if you fish saltwater
Another nice thing is the inclusion of a bait net. The bait net is the exact same shape as the cooler itself. The net has a handle built into it so you can just lift up and separate the minnows from the water. It makes retrieving them fast and easy. This also reduces the stress associated with grabbing them.
What Could Be Improved
There are also some minor things about this product that could warrant some improvement. Even so, we highly believe that improving these things would make an excellent product better. Not a mediocre product good. The first and probably the most noticeable is the pump.
While it is a good pump and keeps fish alive for a very long time, it is a little bit loud. The pump on this cooler makes a fair amount of noise. This is a problem if you are after finicky fish that spook easily or if you are sensitive to loud noises. Loud noises affect some people differently and it can even be hazardous to your health if you have certain medical conditions.
Also, the average angler might get tired of it after awhile. Being on a boat all day with it on can irritate you when you are trying to catch fish. Also, I believe one side looks empty. I really wanted there to be another pump on the right side like there is on the left. This would give you twice as much potential than you previously had.
Although not extremely terrible, they also don’t include the batteries that run the pump either. The pump is powered by two D batteries but they are not included. Again, this is not a very terrible trait because many products do this as well, but it is kind of annoying to purchase a product and then have to purchase the batteries separately.
There have been a very minuscule amount of people that have claimed that it isn’t entirely waterproof. The top critical reviews on Amazon point out that water leaks out the aerator hole as well as the lid. It has never happened to me, yet I guess it has for a very small amount of people. A very small amount of users have complained that the plastic hinges are not meant to last.
Again, the number who make that claim is so small that I don’t believe it can be applied to most models. The hinges for my model have held up tremendously, and at the time of this post, they are still going strong. I really don’t know the truth to this because mine has held up to much-repeated abuse from intense fishing trips and what would have been damage to other containers.
The last major thing about the product that could warrant improvement is the warranty. The warranty on the cooler is 5 years for manufacturer’s defects and 30 days for the pump. The cheapest place to buy the product is Amazon.com, and the official website for the product’s manufacturer says that the warranty does not apply to third-party sellers. This means you are covered by Amazon’s warranty instead.
Is the Engel Live Bait Cooler Worth The Price?
Depending on how often you use Shad or any other prey, this investment can be a pretty helpful one. It may seem expensive to purchase at first, but you can say no to dead floaters forever with this gem. If you consider the amount of fish you can keep alive in just 13 quarts of water, it is quite a lot.
You will save a ton of money in the long run by using this product and it will pay for itself eventually. Live baits will catch you a lot more fish than dead ones will. If you have to ask the question about it being worth it or not, the answer for many many anglers would be yes. For a few anglers, it may not be.
Ultimately, it depends on how often you use live bait and whether you consider a one time somewhat expensive investment to be a positive or negative one. Considering you will never have to buy another one (unless you just want to), the one-time purchase may be an easy choice for some people to make and for others, it might not be.
It is especially worth the price for people who fish with minnows or shiners for a living or to somebody who is a professional Crappie angler. For the average weekend angler who also just wants a good and reliable way to keep lively fish with them, it might be worth the purchase so they can always have fun whenever they feel like it.
This product will let them do just that. For myself as an angler, I love this product and it works well for what I want to use it for. All in all, I cannot make this decision for you. I just can’t. I can only explain what has been my experience in using it for a very long time. My investment was worth it because it is just great in my opinion.
Also, I don’t just use this for my minnows. I use this to house my worms, leeches, hellgramites, crickets, and even my salamanders and frogs. Although it may seem odd, all I do is just keep them inside with a little water if they require it and leave it out if they don’t need it. I let the pump run and it still allows them to breathe.
I will open the lid every 10 to 20 minutes for a few seconds just to let the amphibians vent and release carbon dioxide. I even house my sandwiches in here, as odd as that sounds. It is still a cooler. If I know I will not be using any bait, I will just give it a good cleaning, throw in some ice packs and store my lunches inside. The investment for me was worth it because of its versatility.
My Experience With the Product
My experience with this product has always been nothing but positive. I just never came across any of the problems that were mentioned about it. The one I own like most other ones, just doesn’t leak at all. My experience has been that this is the ultimate bait tank and livewell for just about any angler who enjoys fishing of any kind.
It has done everything I wanted it to do. It keeps them nice and fresh and makes them have a lot of energy. Even when it hits the deck of the boat, no water seems to find a way through. The aerator has kept cool all day long in temperatures as high as 90+ degrees in the hot sun and has remained the same to the touch in temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
The lid just never opens until you want it to. The package is so well insulated that you can even take it with you when there is snow on the ground without the fear of the inside of the tank turning into a fish popsicle.
I find it very easy to just fill with water, grab some swimmers, shut the lid, latch it down, turn the aerator on, and carry it with me knowing that my fish are doing fine. It is not too heavy to carry and it doesn’t tend to wear out your muscles. The aerator I got with my model does not bother me at all and I don’t personally consider it to be very loud for my ears.
My unit is showing absolutely no signs of wear and tear after much-extended use and I highly recommend it if you are after a good tank. You can also use it for a cooler to keep your food and drinks in without them spoiling.
Final Thoughts – Positive and Recommended
My conclusion about this product is pretty simple and straightforward. It is amazing! It provides everything a person could want or need in a live bait tank and cooler. It combines both durability and effectiveness at a great price point.
In an attempt to create a great Engel live bait cooler review, for what you get, it will certainly be the last one that you will need to own. It holds a ton, it keeps them alive through constant temperature, it will last forever and it doesn’t cost near as much as most commercial tanks. This cooler provides a great and efficient way to fish by harnessing the ability to keep your fish at a constant temperature.
Not only does it do this and also do this extremely well, but it also has a lot of little extras that really add more to the value of the product considering the price. Keeping your creatures alive? Invaluable. A good solid, durable, design? Also a great option. Steel latches that do not rust? ? Another nice feature to have. How about the handle on the unit? It will let you carry it anywhere.
That is important especially if you have certain physical limitations. The aerator is almost flawless and if you do not like the one it comes with, you can even replace it with another, should you already have one just laying around. It will let you do that rather easily.
Having a bait net will let you change baits quickly and effectively without drastically hurting the health of the minnows. All in all, this is a great device that will do exactly what you want it to do without breaking the bank. I highly recommend this box to anybody who fishes live bait at all. Say goodbye to plastic bags and dead bait forever. You won’t need them anymore if you purchase one of these!
Do you have one of these? Leave a comment below so we can hear how it worked for you!