If you’re looking at a new fishing boat, you should know what to look for in a livewell. Livewells are more important to some anglers than others, and they’re also more or less important to different boat-builders. Where the boats are built and what types of anglers they cater to makes a big difference in just how much emphasis a builder puts into designing and building a livewell. SeaVee boats, based in Miami, Florida, builds a number of models which are used for techniques like kite fishing, slow-trolling live bait, and live bait chumming. In all of these cases, having top-notch livewells is imperative. Join us for a look at the livewells in a new SeaVee 390Z Center Console, and we’ll find out what makes them great.


So, was there any imperfection in the SeaVee’s livewell design? The only thing we might change is coloring the interior baby-blue. Studies done in conjunction with Mote Marine Laboratory have shown that the a blue interior does help keep baitfish calmer, since it’s more natural to their eyes. We note, however, that SeaVee builds to order—if you want a colored livewell interior, it’s not going to be a problem. And some anglers may want more capacity, even though the transom well holds a whopping 65 gallons and the bowdeck well holds 70 gallons. This is another thing SeaVee can accommodate; there’s a third livewell with an amazing 140-gallon capacity available in the cockpit sole.

Now that you know a few of the important items to look for in a livewell, let’s point out some common pitfalls. While remembering that in some cases (like fishing for flounder with bull minnow) any old livewell including a five-gallon bucket will do the trick, if you plan to keep delicate baits alive for long hauls, look out for:

  • Sharp corners and angles. The fish will bash themselves silly, swimming into them.

  • Pump-share arrangements. Many boats have a single pump use to power both the raw water washdown and the livewell. The reduces both water flow and the pump’s lifespan.

  • Insufficient pumps. A 500 GPH pump simply doesn’t move much water, especially when you’re trying to keep a well full of bunker alive.

  • Lids that don’t dog down securely, and are not gasketed. These wells not only allow water to slosh around, in many cases it’ll slosh right out and get anyone standing near-by wet.

  • Stand-pipes. These get in the way when you’re trying to net bait, and some can fall out when the boat’s running through rough water. Then the well drains, and all your bait dies.