Keep it cool

Tournament anglers get the face time, but the fish are the stars of the show.

After placing fifth on Day 1, Tommy Sendek said he and his partner Cal Culpepper have been following a regimen, no doubt, shared by all 105 teams competing in the Strike King Bassmaster College Series Wildcard on Logan Martin Lake.

“We definitely have a heat wave going through the Southeast right now, and that makes it tough to be out there,” Sendek said. “We just drink a bunch of water throughout the day.”

Sendek also expressed a deep concern for the guests in their boat: “The heat makes it tough on the fish, so we’re adding ice to our live wells to keep it a little cooler in there.”

Solid point. Even with modern aeration systems keeping the dissolved oxygen levels up, live wells can only pump in what that lake offers. With anglers reporting water temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s, keeping fish in confined spaces concentrates that heat.

B.A.S.S. stresses prudent fish care and competitors do their best to handle each one carefully and quickly get the fish into cooler, aerated water. In addition to ice, most will also add a chemical treatment formulated to keep the fish healthy.

One example, TH Marine’s G-Juice is said to remove harmful elements such as nitrites, ammonia, chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals from the livewell water, while adding essential electrolytes, replacing the fish’s slime coat and stopping any bleeding.

If you’re not sure about the water quality of your ice, laying frozen water bottles in your live well offers a good option. A reusable resource, refreezing in the evenings allows you to repeat the cycle without buying more.

The live release boat does a good job of giving tournament fish a nice swim in cool, aerated water prior to returning to the lake. Also, an aerated dunk tank awaits anglers at the weigh-in stage exit ramp. A quick dip in this cooled water gives the fish a shot of rejuvenation before a short trip to the release boat.

Tournament anglers get the face time, but the fish are the stars of the show. Good to see such a concerted effort to protect and preserve this natural resource.