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Engel Bait Coolers

2/2/18 @ 4:47 PM
User since 12/17/08

Does anyone have one of these?  I currently have the Frabill bait station, and it has not lived up to my expectations.  The lid leaks and spills water everywhere on the ride out, and then the lid is usually frozen shut when it is time to start baiting lines.  Other than the pump I see good reviews for the Engel offerings, but would like to hear the opinions of those that have one.  Does this product line fall victim to the same issues I currently experience?  Would like to hear what people think before dropping the extra cash.


2/16/18 @ 8:51 AM
Tim Zwieg
User since 1/10/12

I have a two of the Frabils and two of Engels.  I have both the 13 and 30 quart models.  The 30 gets a bit heavy when it is full of water.  They are awesome and don't leak like the Frabil's do.

2/14/18 @ 10:29 PM
User since 8/12/05

Yep, good coolers, but expensive and still not "The ultimate bait tank" in my opinion but definitely getting there.

I have the 13qt and it doubles nicely as a solid nightcrawler container for a long trip we do each year.

My main complaint is that despite the gasket and being vigilant to close it and snap it shut after each use, it still freezes up when its pretty cold out.

Perhaps I'll try some of the techniques others have mentioned here.

2/13/18 @ 1:53 PM
User since 1/6/16

I have the 30qt which is a beast. But we do a lot of fishing in northern MN out of sleeper houses or friends wheelhouses. For what we do the 30 is perfect because it can hold about 10 dozen fatheads and a couple dozen shiners. We also have the 13 which is what we take on the ice if we are day tripping outside of base camp. It can hold a day or twos worth of minnows without a problem. I would not buy any other minnow bucket again. It's a big ticket for a minnow bucket, but think of how many times you have to toss out your minnows because you know they won't make it until next weekend. With this they will last a couple weekends at least. 

 It's also nice to be able to pick up bait that you may not have access to where you are going.

2/11/18 @ 5:31 PM
MEMBER since 6/24/14

I have the 19 and love it, but not for ice fishing.  The lid freezes up and can't open it.  Last time I used it a sloshed water from the inside onto the top to open it.  Great for soft water fishing.

2/6/18 @ 5:33 PM
User since 12/12/10

Thanks for the size info guys. The 19 would be better for the boat and bigger shinner's. But the 13 sounds perfect for a day on the ice.

Decisions, decisions. I guess I will have to go check them out in the store. I don't really want to buy both sizes.

2/6/18 @ 4:59 PM
User since 1/22/15

After following this thread. I just ordered one from Amazon. 13 qt. Have a insulated clam bucket that's starting to leak. 

2/6/18 @ 1:23 PM
User since 12/19/11

After breaking my second cheap minnow bucket of the year a couple weeks back I had been considering getting the engel cooler. You guys talked me into it and I picked it up last night. Went with the 13Q as I don't use shiners much, if at all. Got a 5 day fishing trip to minnesota this weekend with temps down into the negative teens so we'll see how it holds up! I think I'm also gonna try the pam idea.

2/6/18 @ 11:27 AM
User since 7/20/09

I have the 19qt.  I wanted it to be able to keep bigger shiners for extended periods of time and thought by having more water I'd have to change it less.  So far its been working, I had minnows for 3 weeks, changing water once a week.

Mine never froze so much that it wouldn't open, even when below 0.  Much better than my old cooler that I'd have to kick or hit to get it open.

The aerator that comes with it is very loud, but works fine.  If I bring it inside for the night I switch to a different aerator that's quieter.  The 12 volt plug should work good in my boat this year, I ran an outlet just for this purpose.

The full size net is pretty cool too, makes getting a minnow out a lot easier.

2/6/18 @ 11:01 AM
User since 2/13/17

"I have also thought about buying one of these. What size do you guys recommend? "

I was going to go with the 19 until I felt how heavy one is once it's loaded with bait and water.

I usually walk out to my tip ups and didn't want to have to drag a sled 100-200 yards just for a minnow bucket, so I went with the 13.

I sprayed some PAM cooking oil on my finger and rubbed the lid and that seems to be working to keep it from freezing.

2/5/18 @ 10:04 AM
User since 12/17/08

Thanks for the comments explaining your different experiences.  After spending 10 minutes getting the lid open on the Frabill and spilling water everywhere in the process, I decided to stop on the way home from fishing Saturday to purchase a new bait cooler.  As this is primarily for ice fishing and will be sitting in the drop rack of the ATV I chose to go with the 13 quart to save some space.  I haven't used the new purchase yet, but like everything it appears to offer.  The ability to plug in the pump is a bonus vs. chewing through D cell batteries during long weekend excursions. 

Good luck in the fishing season everyone.

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