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Caring for Your Catch
Fish Care Guidelines for Tournament Anglers
Keeping fish healthy in the livewell is important
for tournament anglers and those not practicing catch and release.
Several things can be done to help your fish remain healthy.
Tournament organization has some hints they recommend to their
anglers. They will work for everyone.
Operation Bass is extremely vigilant when it comes
to protecting the very resource that our business is built upon,
namely bass. All of our tournaments are, of course, catch-and-release.
As a company, Operation Bass maintains a 98 percent live-release
There are two sides of the coin when it comes to
keeping fish healthy in a tournament. All of the procedures centering
around the weigh-in are important. However, the bass spend a
much greater amount of time in the livewells of anglers than
they do during a weigh-in. So, we're providing this comprehensive
list of steps you can take to keep your catch alive and healthy.
I. Fill your livewell early in the day.
Fill your livewell at your first stop. It will be cooler and
better aerated than later on. Use water from open lake areas
with good water quality.
II. Turn on the recirculating aerator immediately.
Set your aerator switch to manual (continuous operation).
Run the aerator all day. If your pump only runs on a timer, run
it as frequently as possible.
III. Land fish quickly and handle them as little
as possible. Grasp fish by the lower jaw and hold them vertically.
Bend the jaw as little as possible. Wet your hands before touching
fish. Support large fish with a wet hand under the belly. Use
soft, knotless nylon or rubber landing nets. Don't allow fish
to touch boat carpet When deep hooks cannot be removed, cut line
five or six inches above the hook Don't keep fish out of water
longer than you can hold your breath
IV. Care for fish while in livewells. Fish
in forward livewells are more likely to be injured from bouncing
while travelling in rough water. Monitor livewell temperatures.
When water temperatures are below 75 degrees, pump fresh water
as often as your system will allow. When water temperatures are
above 75 degrees, recirculate live well water rather than pumping
in hot lake water.
Use ice to cool water and slow your fishs' metabolisms
One eight pound block of ice (one gallon plastic jug) cools water
in a 30-gallon live well about 10 degrees for three hours. Block
ice melts more slowly.
Add one-thrid cup of non-iodized salt per five
gallons. It helps maintain electrolyte balance and reduces the
effects of stress. Use 'Live N Well' or 'Catch & Release'
products to maintain metabolism.
Drain half of the livewell water every three hours
and refill with fresh water to remove waste byproducts like carbon
dioxide and ammonia.
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