WELL DIVIDER didn't seem that practical in my Z7...

After witnessing a lot of weigh-ins in the West (especially with teams and shared-weight pro-ams) I’ve wondered why more anglers don’t remove the divider in their livewells. The fish count the same for both partners, so why squeeze somebody’s kicker into that shoebox that is half a livewell?

I’m sure there are reasons–and someone may want to chime in with their explanation–but my fishing is a lot more pragmatic. Not only do I want all the combined catch to have ample room in transit, what if I or a partner happen to bust one worthy of an official weight check at the dock?

PRETTY SIMPLE procedure...

Even back in the day of stringers, we lugged a big fish (one fish) in a 48-quart ice-chest. You think we would be even more conscious of those things in the modern era.

Anyway, I asked around, and got differing opinions, so I’m not trying to convince anyone to take a saw to their baby. But in my case, I really wanted my catch to be able to stretch out in the box, so today I removed the divider in my Nitro.

First, I used a hand mirror to examine the inside of the well. It appears that Nitro actually inserts the divider before they put the cap on the deck. By examining every corner, I discovered there was no permanent attachment in play for the divider, so I took the following steps.

THE WOOD SCRAP protected the lining of the box...

1. I masked (sealed up) the area around the drain, knowing that cutting the divider (made of fibreglass) would create lots of sawdust.

2. I started cutting, using a drywall hand saw, through the holes in the divider. However, when I got to the hole closest to the bottom of the well, I put in a piece of one-by pine (sheet metal, pie pan or plywood would have all done the job) to protect the lining of the box.

DIVIDER OUT, allows maximum space for the catch...

3. Using a short prybar (a heavy duty screwdriver would have done the same) I broke the divider free of its “slot,” which also broke the last section of the fiberglass. From there, I merely folded the divider over like a piece cardboard and pulled it out through lid opening.

4. I vacuumed out the boxes, removed the masking and cleaned out the divider slot. The short project gives me maximum space and actually makes it much easier to be “clean and dry” in there.


15 Responses to “Nitro livewell adjusted for ‘shared weight’”

Besides the fact that I fish tournaments with non-shared weights. I’d leave mine in to separate the kicker from the squeakers. If I catch a fish I don’t expect to cull I put it on one side with no clip and don’t disturb it while i’m fiddling with the others.

Also, I suppose maximum fish size isn’t a problem in the east. Especially with gigantic BassCat livewells.

by George Kramer

Legit comments, Jody…but stop me if you’ve heard this. You know what they say in California when a guy brings a 15-pounder through the weigh-in line?

Look! The guy behind him has a BIG ONE! 🙂

The divider in my Champion is on a hinge and is held in place at the top by two cotter pins. So I can pull those pins and it folds down, making one large livewell. In my old Skeeter it didn’t have a divided livewell, just one big livewell, so when I wasn’t fishing a shared weight format, I would use diaper pins to mark my fish from my non-boater’s fish. The diaper pins worked really well. I have a stash of them in my boat, just in case I need to mark fish.

That’s the thing. We don’t grow ’em like that.

Sorry, George; but the fish just aren’t that big at the US Open or Lake Elsinore. 😉

Hey George-

What I can’t figure out is why the knucklehead designers at Ranger, Nitro, Champ, Etc. don’t design a well without protruding fittings and sharp edges that damage the heck out of the fish! In looking at your Nitro well, I see protruding aerator fittings that are guaranteed to take chunks out of your livewell passengers. Talk about piss-poor engineering!

First thing I did when I bought my Champ was remove the divider and get rid of all the fittings and sharp edges from inside the well. I don’t fish derbys, but when I have a beast in the well for a short while before weights and pics., I want her released in pristine condition…just like when I caught her!

I agree with you, Greg. I have fittings and pvc pipe inside my livewell for the hydro/areator. What did you put in it’s place after you removed it? I would really like a bigger live well


I took a Dremel tool and smoothed all the sharp edges in the well. I also removed most of the fittings protruding into the tank and used a belt-sander to round all the edges. When I re-carpeted the boat I took out the seat pedestals, which protruded into the tank, and rounded all the sharp edges on the belt-sander.

Industrial supplier Mc Master-Carr sells vinyl edge protector channel which can be forced onto exposed fiberglass or metal edges which protrude into livewells. This stuff is widely used on boats to protect raw, sharp edges, and works great to soften the interior edges of the livewell to better protect the passengers.

Didn’t you take out the pvc pipes in the well? I thought that is what you meant by protruding fittings? I haven’t noticed any sharp edges in my livewell, but then again I wasn’t “looking” for them either. I will have to look closer. I might even look into taking the divider out of my livewell too, even though it folds down. Thanks for the information. I will look into getting some of the vinyl edge protector channel.

Yes,I removed all the sharp-cornered fittings in my well. There were a bunch of them which related to the aeration and recirculation functions of the well. I’m not a derby fisherman, and don’t care about keeping 5- 2-pounders in the well all day, so my needs may be different than most. I only care about moving plenty of water over a single large fish to keep her healthy until I move off a spot to take a quick pic and get an accurate weight.

I still beleive it is critical to protect any fish in the well from cuts and scrapes, regardless of size or duration in the well…if you care about their long-term survival!

The divider can be a usefull tool during shared weight tournaments. I try to use it to my advantage in an effort to make culling more efficient during shared weight tournaments. In my boat, we enter every day of competition with a target weight in mind. Every fish over that average weight gets to ride on the drivers side and smaller fish go on the passenger side. When it comes time to cull, we not only have fewer fish to sort through (hopefully) but they are easier to catch because they are in a limited space. Time is money and anything that can be done to maximize the amount of time I get to keep a lure wet translates into better odds of cashing a check. Of course, things get a litte more complicated when you get up to five on the drivers side but that is a good problem to have and I’d gladly spend the extra time to sort that issue out…

That’s easy for you to say, Tom, as a top guy. But in my case, my smaller fish are the same as my larger fish–so one well size fits all. 😉

LOL George!

Great read George. I have been removing my live well dividers for about ten years now for many of the same reasons you mentioned. I just put cull tags on all the fish. In non-shared derbies, I provide different style cull tags to my co’s if they don’t have their own. Never had a mix up and never been an issue at weigh in time, and I think the bigger bass stay “happier”.

I wondered what guys might do in a “co-angler” non-shared weight event. Makes sense to me.