When ACC Crappie Stix pro-staffers Jonathan and Alicia Phillips were fishing last weekend’s Crappie Masters Alabama State Championship, they lost a vital part of equipment, but that didn’t stop them from winning the Championship, and Jonathan Phillips said they owe a lot of their win to their ability to keep their bait fresh.

After their depth finder lost its side imaging ability, the couple decided they weren’t going to let that stop them from coming out on top. Luckily, their bait tank ran strong all weekend, which the team said was a big help in the win, which netted them over $5000 in prize money. With most of the crappie in post-spawn mode, Jonathan Phillips said it was more vital than ever to keep fresh, lively minnows in front of the crappie.

“We caught some on jigs and Road Runners, but honestly we caught most of them on live minnows, which is typical this time of year. Many of them are in post-spawn mode and wanting to get some weight back on, and it’s tough for them to resist live minnows,” he said.

Phillips said this time of year, and especially in the coming weeks and months, keeping your bait alive and well is very critical, and can often mean the difference between having a successful day and just riding around on the water.

A number of factors can spoil your bait, said Phillips, including letting the water in your bait bucket get too warm. Constantly putting your hands into the bait bucket’s water can also be detrimental to the baitfish, so anglers should avoid doing that too, he said.

So how does Team Phillips keep their bait alive? Phillips offers his tips in the included video.