Frabill Magnum Bait Station (Tested & Reviewed)

Frabill Magnum Bait Station review

Tough as nails, keeps bait alive and healthy for hours.

When it comes to fishing, having leverage is key to increasing your chances of catching fish. These leverages come in many areas.

Lures get nearly all of the press, magazine articles, TV shows and all of the tournament coverage. This would lead one to believe that almost everyone uses artificial lures and flies to fish. In truth, like in Washington’s day, more people use live bait to catch their fish. Modern fishermen use live bait nearly 65 percent of the time. Forty-nine million people fish in America.

Midwest Outdoors

smelt in magnum bait station

We all have those days where lures and dead bait aren’t hitting.

Sometimes all it takes is using fresh live bait to get things going but buying bait is expensive and nearly impossible depending on where you live.

Keeping them vigorous and healthy is the other challenge.

Back in the day, we used a regular 5-gallon bucket from Home Depot, but after an hour, the bait fish were all sluggish due to rising water temperature and lack of oxygen.

The Frabill Magnum Bait Station is a well-designed, portable live bait station that will keep your live bait healthy for hours.

The team tested the 13-quart model on multiple pier fishing trips over the last few weeks.

We caught live bait using an umbrella net and a few slices of regular sandwich bread.

We were looking for something that would hold the water temperature inside stable for hours while providing enough oxygen via an aerator.

We also wanted something to load up and take in the car without worrying about water sloshing all over the place.

Here are our thoughts so far.


First, we want to say that this bait station comes with a high price tag. With that said, this thing is as durable as it gets. If Yeti came out with a live bait station, this would be it.

With a heavy-duty, injection-molded exterior and 1-inch commercial grade foam insulation in between the walls, this is built like a tank.

The inside of the lid is lined with a gasket to ensure a water-tight seal when the lid is closed. And to help keep the lid shut are two heavy-duty composite latches.

And on top of all that, a nice sturdy handle to easily carry your bait station with you on the pier, fishing kayak, or boat. Although it gets heavy when filled with water, rest assured in knowing that the handle can take that load.


If you fish a lot, having quality bait is imperative.

And if you’re spending more than other cheaper alternatives on the market, you’d want to know if it’s worth paying that much extra.


We wanted to test and see how well the Frabill Magnum Bait Station holds the water temperature inside.

We added chilled water inside the bait station and left it outside, directly in the sun. The weather that day was around 80-82F.

We used our trusty Thermapen meat thermometer and checked the water temperature at the start and then after 2 hours.

testing how well the magnum bait station retains water temperature inside the well

After 2 hours of direct sunlight, the water temperature only rose 1 degree, pretty happy with that.

Pro Tip: Fill one of those half-size plastic water bottles and freeze it. Place the frozen water bottle inside the bait station if you’re fishing on a hot day for hours and want to regulate the water temperature.

Bait Fish Health

The bait station did well in maintaining the health of the bait fish.

In fact, that day, we caught a barred sand bass before we could rest our fishing pole against the pier.

barred sand bass caught off the pier

Does it perform better in keeping the bait fish alive than other cheaper alternatives? That depends.

Most live bait buckets aren’t insulated, so in that case, we believe the Magnum Bait Station would outperform.

Key Features

integrate Frabill aerator

In our opinion, one of the best features is the integrated aerator pump on the lid.

It’s a clean setup, no more tripping over the air tube and risk losing oxygen.

Built with a water-resistant housing, the integrated aerator also comes with two speeds:

Low Speed: whenever you have only a few bait fish left and want to save battery.

High Speed: whenever you have a lot of bait fish and need to inject more oxygen to keep them alive.

The air tube is connected to the underside of the lid and is connected to an airstone, much like the ones you would use in a fish tank. When the lid’s closed, the air tube is out of site.

There are multiple ways to power the aerator:

  • Two D-cell batteries when you’re on the go
  • 12v power cigarette adapter for the car (included)
  • 110v adapter port (not included)

Net Liner

lift-out net liner with bent corners for air hose.

Inside the bait well is a lift-out net liner that you can use to easily grab a bait fish.

Some people will find this handy, while others will remove it altogether.

The 13-quart size was small enough for us to grab the smelt without issue. Plus, it’s one less thing to wash and dry after the trip.

Shoulder Strap

removable Frabill padded shoulder strap

The Magnum Bait Station 13q also comes with a removable, padded shoulder strap.

We find this only useful if you plan on carrying the bait station empty and you need to free up your hand.

We don’t advise using this strap if the bait station is filled with water. It’ll be too heavy to carry that load on your shoulder.


  • Rugged
  • Integrated aerator – no loose hose visible
  • Retains water temperature well
  • Dual speed aerator pump
  • Quiet pump
  • Keeps bait fish healthy for hours


  • Expensive
  • The on/off switch on the pump can be turned on accidentally when transporting. In our opinion, it would be great to have a cover or locking mechanism because the pump is too quiet to notice that it’s on.

Who’s It For

We understand the Magnum Bait Station isn’t for everyone. If you’re one of these people below, it just might fit your needs:

  • If you frequently fish using live bait and plan to catch your own
  • If you’re looking for an insulated, durable, and portable bait well with an aerator for your kayak, small boat, pier, or fishing inshore.
  • If you like to catch your live bait off the pier and want to head to a different location to fish (i.e., surf fishing or jetty).

Cleaning And Maintenance

After every trip, we quickly rinsed the bait station with fresh water and let it air dry outside. Nothing on this product looks like it will rust, but it’s always good to give it a rinse after each use.

Final Thoughts

While there might be other alternatives on the market to keep your bait alive, we are very happy with our purchase.

The Frabill Magnum Bait Station comes in multiple sizes to meet your needs.

The aerator, when on, is very quiet, and the provided airstone produces plenty of bubbles.

If you primarily use lures and only do live bait fishing once in a while, we suggest finding a cheaper brand for your needs.

If you frequently use live bait and need something portable and rugged, the Frabill Magnum Bait Station will serve you for many, many years.

Frabill Magnum Bait Station 13
  • Durability - 9.5/10
  • Performance - 9.2/10
  • Features - 9/10


The Frabill Magnum Bait Station® provides so much more than transportation. With an injection-molded base, commercial grade foam insulation and an integrated aerator, it creates the perfect internal environment to keep bait healthy – regardless of the weather.


  • Rugged
  • Integrated aerator – no loose hose visible when lid is closed
  • Retains water temperature well
  • Dual speed aerator pump
  • Quiet pump
  • Keeps bait fish healthy for hours


  • Expensive
  • The on/off switch on the pump can be turned on accidentally when transporting. In our opinion, it would be great to have a cover or locking mechanism because the pump is too quiet to notice that it’s on.

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