Fish Care

Next, be sure that the bolts, screws or locking mechanisms on the underside of your livewell lids are protected. Adding rubber butt caps on them can help protect the fish from being injured especially in rough water. Lastly, be sure that you run your livewell on manual and that it’s bringing in fresh water all day. The only exception to this would be to run your livewell on recirculate when you are in a shallow or backwater type of area. Remember to switch it back to fresh water as soon as you leave that area.

When it comes to ice, I don't use it much anymore. Once I re-plumbed my livewells to bring the water in from the top I haven't needed much ice. However, I do use ice almost always when I am catching fish below 15 feet deep. Those fish are coming from cooler water and keeping them in similar temperature water is a good thing for their health.

Lastly, the tubs full of water and air stones in line for the weigh-in aren't there to help you hold the fish. They are there so you can give the fish fresh water. At B.A.S.S. tournaments, we have a double bagging system so once the fish get to the tanks they’re in mesh bags and getting completely fresh and well-oxygenated water, but other tournament circuits may not do this. If you’re fishing a circuit that forces you to keep your fish in solid bags in the weigh-in line, empty at least half the water from the bag and give them new water while you wait. If you’re there for more than 10 to 15 minutes, empty half the water and reload it again. This gives the fish fresh oxygen and takes very little effort.

Fish care really goes beyond the loss of weight for a penalty. We need to take care of what we catch so we can catch them again someday soon.

There’s a terrific page here on Bassmaster.com put together by the B.A.S.S. conservation team that will give you lots more great tips for keeping bass alive.

Good fishing to you all! Get 'em in the boat and take care of them.

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