How To Set Up A Livewell In A Bass Boat

Embarking on the journey of setting up a livewell in your bass boat opens the door to a world of angling success and responsible fish care. As any seasoned angler knows, the vitality of your catch hinges on the quality of their temporary aquatic abode.

Start by selecting a suitable location – ideally, a centrally located, aerated compartment. Ensure a steady flow of water and install a recirculation system for water exchange. Use marine-grade plumbing and install a reliable pump. Add a livewell treatment to reduce stress on the fish. 

But hark! The stage is set, yet the crescendo has just begun. Delve deeper to discover the alchemy of livewell treatments that caress the scales of your prized trophies, soothing their aquatic souls.

Join us on an expedition as we delve into temperature tending, oxygen orchestration, and the intricate ballet of water flow adjustment.

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What Is a Livewell And Why Do You Need One?

We are going to talk about something that might not be as exciting as the adrenaline-pumping fight with a bass on the line, but it’s just as crucial – livewells. You might wonder— what is a livewell, and why should I bother? So, let me break it down for you, my friends.

Unveiling the Mystery of Livewells

A livewell is essentially a water tank right there in your boat. It’s not just any tank; when you’ve brought your fish in, it serves as their temporary residence.

Fishing, you see, isn’t just about the thrill of the catch; it’s also about treating the fish with care and ensuring they have a chance when you release them back into their natural environment.

Why Do You Need a Livewell?

When you hook a bass, it goes through a real battle. Those bursts of energy, the leaps out of the water – it’s like a fishy MMA match. Imagine hauling that exhausted warrior out of the water and keeping it on your boat’s deck.

Trust me, that’s a recipe for disaster. Fish need water to breathe like we need air. A livewell provides a controlled environment with fresh water, giving the fish a breather (literally) before it’s time to send it back into the wild.

Hey, I’m all for catch-and-release; why should I care about a livewell, some of you may be asking. Catch-and-release fishing, my buddy, is about more than simply moral uplift; it’s also about fish conservation. Livewells play a starring role here.

A well-designed and properly maintained livewell can mean the difference between a fish that survives and thrives after release and one that doesn’t quite make it.

How Does Livewell Work?

Alright, folks, let’s dive into the meat of the matter – the nuts and bolts of how a livewell works. It’s like the engine of your fish care game, and you need to understand this to keep those bass thriving.

The Inner Workings:

You’ve just caught a feisty bass, and you want to keep it fresh and lively. That’s where the livewell comes into play. It’s like a mini aquatic paradise right there in your boat.

The magic starts with water circulation – a pump sucks in water from the lake and fills up the tank, keeping it flowing. But it’s not a one-way trip; there’s an escape hatch for the water, too, ensuring a constant cycle.

Aeration Agitation:

You need oxygen in that water for the fish to breathe. That’s where the aerator steps up. It churns and agitates the water like a fishy spa treatment. This agitation allows oxygen from the air to dissolve into the water, providing the fish with the air they need to keep their gills happy.

Flow Control and Overflow:

But hold on; we don’t want to overwhelm our aquatic guests. That’s where the flow adjustment tap comes in. It regulates how much water comes in, making sure it’s not too much but enough to keep things fresh.

And to prevent a watery mess, there’s an overflow drain – it’s like a safety valve to prevent overflow and maintain the water level.

The Power Factor:

Now, let’s talk power. Every Legend Boat console comes with an on/off toggle switch for your livewell. This switch gives you the power to keep your bass breathing comfortably and ensure their survival while they hang out in the livewell.

Oxygen Management: Ensuring Fish Survival

Oxygen – a critical player in the livewell arena. Just like we need air to breathe, our underwater buddies need oxygen to stay in the game.

The Oxygen Odyssey:

Your livewell in a bustling underwater city, and oxygen is the lifeblood that keeps it all ticking. Fish breathe through their gills, absorbing oxygen from the water. In the livewell, oxygen is like a VIP guest, and we’ve got to ensure there’s plenty of it to go around.

Balancing Act: Oxygen Saturation Levels:

Here’s the science bit: different water temperatures require different oxygen levels. Think of it as a balance between hot and cold. Warmer water holds less oxygen, while cooler water is a more generous host.

8.9 oxygen parts per million (ppm) are saturable at roughly 70 °F. The oxygen saturation, however, falls to 8.0 and 7.3 ppm at 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.

Heat Waves and Oxygen Woes:

When the summer sun is blazing and the water temperatures rise, our aquatic friends could use a little extra oxygen TLC. Remember, they’re breathing more, and the water’s giving them less, so you might want to up the oxygen game.

Adding some aeration can be a game-changer, ensuring those fish get the oxygen they need to keep on truckin’.

Extreme Conditions, Extreme Care:

In the heat of competition, when you’re aiming for that record catches, things can get intense – for both you and the fish. High fish weights and soaring temperatures can create a perfect storm for oxygen depletion.

That’s when your Livewell’s oxygen management skills really come into play. Consider investing in oxygen injection systems or other advanced technologies to keep the oxygen levels in check, especially in those extreme conditions.

What Are the Essential Tools Required for Livewell Installation?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of setting up that awesome livewell in your bass boat, let’s talk about the tools you’re going to need to make this thing happen. We’re not messing around here – we’re talking serious fishing gear optimization.

  • Hole Saws: When it comes to cutting those perfect holes for your fittings, you must have hole saws in your arsenal. These bad boys make clean, accurate cuts in your boat’s hull. No room for guesswork, my friends.
  • PVC Cutter: Now, let’s talk about that hosing. You could use a razor, sure, but why make it harder on yourself? A PVC cutter is going to give you those clean, even cuts on that hosing. It’s like butter, man.
  • Marine Sealant: Listen, the water’s going to be flowin’, and we don’t want it flowin’ where it hasn’t supposed to. Marine sealant is your go-to to keep those connections watertight and avoid any leaks. Seal it up; seal it well.
  • Clamps: We’re talkin’ hose clamps here, folks. These babies are going to keep your hoses secure and snug on those fittings. You don’t want things wigglin’ loose out there, trust me.
  • Heat Gun: Now, for some real finesse, you’ll need a heat gun. Ever seen those pipes bend like they’re in a yoga class? Yeah, that’s what the heat gun does – shapes that hosing to fit those tight spots like a glove.

Exploring the Flow-Rite Premium Kit

Now that you’ve got your tools locked and loaded let’s dive into the heart of the matter – the Flow-Rite Premium Kit. This thing’s like the secret sauce to your Livewell setup, and we’re going to break it down for you.

Pumping Power: 800 GPH of Flow

First up, we’ve got the star of the show – the 800 GPH pump. This bad boy’s going to keep that water circulating like a champ, making sure your fish stay in tip-top condition—no stagnant water here, my friends.

Cable Connection: Making the Right Choice

Pay attention to this one – we’ve got a six-foot cable with an orange-knobbed three-way valve. That’s the magic piece that’s going to control the flow. No green-knobbed nonsense – we want that water flowin’ where we want it, right?

The Outlet: Where the Magic Happens

Ever wondered where the water actually comes out? Well, look no further than the outlet. This is the MVP that aerates your livewell, keeping your catch as lively as ever. Vents and all, this is where the action’s at.

Adapter and Fittings: It’s All About Compatibility

You’re going to need some buddies to keep this party going. That adapter’s going to make sure your pump and quick disconnects are playin’ nice. And speaking of quick disconnects, we got them in one and one-eighth inch for the overflow and three-quarter inch for the rest of the system. Size matters, folks.

Overflow and Drain: Keepin’ It Clean and Dry

Now, we’re talking about the overflow through-hole fittings and drain. This is where we’re makin’ sure no water’s hangin’ around where it shouldn’t be. Trust me; this is the key to a dry and happy livewell.

Livewell Timer: Timing is Everything

Last, we’ve got the livewell timer section. This is like the conductor of the orchestra, making sure that water’s flowin’ and aeratin’ just right. You’re going to be dialing in the perfect conditions for your finned friends.

Setting Up Your Livewell: A Step-by-Step Masterclass

Alright, my fellow fishing aficionados, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and dive headfirst into the step-by-step installation process. We’re taking your boat from good to legendary with this livewell setup, so let’s get down to business.

Step 1: Through-Hole Fittings

First things first, those through-hole fittings. These are your gateway for water in and out of your livewell. Take that drain screen and attach it to the fitting – this ensures your water’s clean and debris-free. Now, snugly fit that fitting into the bottom of your livewell. You want a good seal here, people.

Step 2: Pump Mounting

Let’s talk about mounting that 800 GPH pump. It’s the heart of the operation, after all. You’ve got options – mount it vertically or horizontally, depending on your boat’s setup. Either way, make sure it’s secure and won’t go wandering off during rough waters.

Step 3: Quick Disconnects

Get those quick disconnects in the mix. Remember, one and one-eighth inch for the overflow and three-quarter inch for the rest. Connect these to the through-hole fittings and the pump outlet. It’s like hooking up a high-tech water highway, man.

Step 4: Overflow Hose

Time to bring in the overflow hose. Attach one end to the overflow quick disconnect and the other to the overflow through-hole fitting. This ensures any excess water finds its way out of your boat – you don’t want to be sloshing around out there, do you?

Step 5: Main Hose

This is the big one, people – the main hose. Connect it to the pump outlet and the livewell inlet. This is where the real magic happens – water gets circulated, and fish stay happy. Make sure it’s snug and secure with those clamps. No wiggle room, okay?

Step 6:  Livewell Timer

Don’t forget about that livewell timer, folks. This is the conductor of the operation, making sure water’s coming in and going out at just the right times. Connect the wires, set the intervals, and let that timer do its thing.

Step 7: Test Run

Now, before you unleash this livewell beast on your next fishing adventure, give it a test run. Make sure that the pump’s humming, the water’s flowing, and the timer’s doing its job. Better to catch any hiccups now than out on the water, trust me.

Step 8: Accessibility

Last, think about where you’re installing all of this. You want easy access in case you need to make adjustments or replacements down the line. Pro tip: keep that pump area accessible, just in case it needs some care.

The Importance of Proper Wiring

We’re going to talk about diving into a critical aspect of your livewell setup: proper wiring. You might think it’s just a bunch of wires, but trust me, this is where the real magic happens.

Livewell Timer: Master of Time

Your livewell timer is like the conductor of an orchestra, keeping everything in rhythm. Proper wiring ensures that this bad boy is communicating with the pump, telling it when to kick in and when to take a breather. Get those wires connected right, and your fish will be swimmin’ in luxury.

Secure Connections: No Loose Ends

When working with electricity, you take no chances. Ensure that your connections are solid and tight. Nobody wants a loose wire messin’ up the whole operation. Crimp those connections, use proper connectors, and tape them up for that added security.

Voltage: Don’t Overdo It

Now, let’s talk about voltage. Your Livewell system runs on a specific voltage, and you better believe you must stick to it. Don’t go overboard with the juice, or you might end up fryin’ more than just fish.

Fuse Protection: Safety First

Ever heard of a blown fuse? It’s like your system’s safety net. Make sure the proper fuse is installed to avoid any electrical accidents. Despite being a minor part, it can save you a lot of hassle.

Waterproofing: Keep It Dry and Safe

Fishing means water, but your wiring should stay high and dry. Use waterproof connectors and enclosures to shield those wires from the elements. Keep water and electricity away because they don’t get along.


Once you’ve hooked up your wires, it’s time for a test run. Ensure that the livewell timer communicates with the pump, and everything works like a well-oiled machine. If something’s off, don’t panic –double-check those connections.

Cost Considerations and Budget-Friendly Alternatives

Alright, my angler buddies, let’s talk business – or should I say, let’s talk dollars and cents when it comes to setting up your livewell. We know fishing can be a pricey passion, so let’s break down the costs and explore some wallet-friendly alternatives.

The Flow-Rite Premium Kit: What’s It Gonna Cost You?

So, you’ve got your eye on the Flow-Rite Premium Kit – that’s a solid choice. But hey, quality comes at a price. You’re looking at an investment here, covering everything from the pump to fittings and all the nifty components. It’s like building a high-tech fish spa for your catch.

Budget-Friendly DIY: Get Creative

Now, listen up if you’re watching those pennies. There’s always the option to go the DIY route. Hit up your local hardware store, source your fittings, hoses, and pumps individually. Sure, it’s going to take some legwork, but if you’re handy and want to save a few bucks, this could be your jam.

Balance and Priorities: Where to Cut Corners

Think about what matters most to you. If that Flow-Rite Premium Kit is calling your name, maybe you can cut back on those premium coffee runs for a while. Prioritize your Livewell setup and make it work with your budget.

Second-Hand Savings: One Man’s Trash

Hey, one angler’s used equipment is another angler’s treasure. Check out online forums, fishing clubs, or even Craigslist for pre-loved Livewell components. It might take some hunting, but you could snag a deal that leaves your wallet happy.

Be Resourceful: Repurpose and Reuse

You know that old tackle box you haven’t touched in years? Well, it might hold some parts you could repurpose for your Livewell setup. Get creative – sometimes, the best solutions are staring you right in the face.

DIY Innovation: The Ultimate Budget Hack

If you’re a real DIY wizard, consider crafting your own Livewell components. PVC pipes, connectors, and a bit of elbow grease might give you a setup that’s both budget-friendly and uniquely yours.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

You’ve got that livewell purring like a kitten, but the journey’s not over yet. Let’s dive into the world of maintenance and troubleshooting – because a well-maintained livewell means your catch stays healthy and happy.

Regular Care: A Little Goes a Long Way

Just like anything in life, your livewell needs some love too. Regular maintenance keeps things running smoothly. Clean out those filters, check for any debris clogs, and give the whole system a good rinse-down. Trust me; your fish will thank you.

Water Quality: The Key to Happy Fish

Water quality is everything. Keep an eye on those oxygen levels and water temperature. Make sure the water’s clean and aerated – your finned friends will thrive in these conditions. Consider investing in a water testing kit to stay on top of things.

Preventive Measures: Head Off Issues

Don’t wait for problems to arise – be proactive. Inspect those fittings, hoses, and connections regularly. Tighten any loose parts, replace worn-out components, and fix leaks before they become major headaches.

Troubleshooting: When Things Go South

Let’s now discuss those instances when things don’t go as planned. The water may not be flowing properly, or the pump may be acting strangely. Breathe deeply, keep your composure, and begin with the fundamentals. Check your connections, inspect for clogs, and test that livewell timer.

Pump Problems: The Usual Suspects

If your pump’s acting wonky, it could be a few things. Check for power – is it getting juice? Is the pump clogged with debris? Is the timer doing its job? Rule out the simple stuff before diving into more complex troubleshooting.

Leaks and Drips: Seal the Deal

Leaky connections are a livewell’s worst nightmare. If you’re spotting drips or puddles, it’s time to play detective. Double-check those clamps, tighten fittings, and don’t be shy with the marine sealant. A little extra sealing goes a long way.

Professional Help: When in Doubt

Hey, we’re all just people. Things can become complex at times. If you’re stumped or facing a livewell conundrum that’s beyond your DIY skills, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. It’s better to get it right than risk harming your livewell or your catch.

Final Say

There you have it, fellow anglers – from tools and installation to budget-friendly options, maintenance, and troubleshooting, you’re armed with the knowledge to set up and maintain a top-notch livewell in your bass boat.

Remember, a well-crafted livewell ensures your catch stays healthy, ready for release, or that trophy photo. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started, keep these insights in your fishing arsenal and keep that livewell game strong. Tight lines and happy fishing!

Jack K. Pride
Jack K. Pride

Jack K. Pride is an accomplished author and a prominent figure in the boating community. With a passion for boats and a deep understanding of the maritime industry, he has been sharing his expertise through his compelling articles on

Known for his insightful and informative writing style, Jack's articles provide valuable insights, tips, and knowledge to boat enthusiasts worldwide. His dedication to the subject matter and commitment to delivering high-quality content makes him a trusted voice in the boating world.

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