MCQUEENEY, Texas — If all goes as planned, the Texas BASS Federation Nation will use its own live-release trailer at major tournaments during 2010. Additionally, members who operate the trailer will be utilizing and publicizing the fish care principles outlined in Keeping Bass Alive, a BASS publication.
"The most important message I want to get out there about the trailer is its educational component," said Tim Cook, Texas conservation director. "We're going to raise awareness and provide literature about proper fish care."
Those who will raise awareness first will be trained and certified in operation of the trailer. Some of those will be regional conservation directors who, in turn, will train other BASS members. "We hope to have 20 to 30 people who can handle the trailer," Cook said.
With one person in charge and two or three assistants, the trailer probably will be used at BASS events of 50 participants or more. It also will be available to other tournament organizations.
"The trailer won't be loaned, but we can be hired," Cook said. "We hope to teach about fish care all across Texas."
Purchased from Gary's Marine with funds from a $13,400 fish-care grant from BASS, the facility is constructed of stainless steel and rides on a heavy-duty tandem axle trailer. Its oxygen and aeration systems were designed with assistance from Texas Parks and Wildlife and can comfortably accommodate up to 800 pounds of bass.
It has windows on the sides, so, theoretically, it's a rolling aquarium," added Cook.
"We originally had intended to buy a live-release boat, but we couldn't get one. And, as it turned out, this makes a lot more sense. It requires less maintenance and is easier to operate. Plus, our insurance and liability costs will be lower."