Fish health more important than ever

The Bassmaster Elite Series pros are professionally trained in the best practices of fish care, and their high-tech bass boats are rigged with the very latest in livewell aeration systems.

Dead fish are a rarity. Even so, the anglers are not leaving anything to chance. On the dock this morning I watched many of them walk over to the live release boat and retrieve bags of livewell treatment from a container.

"Maintaining fish health is a top priority, even though we are in cooler temperatures," said Bryan Schmitt. "Losing just one ounce can mean a difference of 10 places in the standings."

The dreaded dead fish penalty deducts four ounces for every dead fish weighed.