Fits Bait Bucket to a Tee

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When castnetting for finger mullet I use a five- or seven-gallon utility bucket to hold and transfer my catch to and from the holding pen and to the live well on my boat. Mullet always look for - and find - any daylight you leave them and jump like mad. I used to use a wet dishtowel or rag draped over the top of the bucket. Any mullet trying to leap to freedom merely hit the soft, wet fabric and fell back into the bucket unharmed. One day I used a rag made from an old, cut-up tee-shirt. The tee-shirt had been cut in such a way that the sleeve and the fabric around it were still intact. I wet the rag and found the sleeve dangled into the bucket with the rest of the shirt draping over the bucket lip. To my pleasure and surprise, I found that the tee-shirt sleeve acted as a funnel for the bucket to accept mullet from the castnet or a hand dipnet. The sleeve tapered and folded up a bit at the cuff, creating an anti-jump barrier. The rag also helps keep bait from being injured on a hard plastic lid.

- Chris Tilghman, Ocean City, Maryland