In 2017 we tried to cover more conservation-related topics on Bassmaster.com and on our B.A.S.S. Conservation Facebook page to help educate and inform bass anglers about current events and the threats to aquatic resources and the sport of bass fishing. These topics are not always high profile, not always top-of-mind with anglers - but they are still important. We covered articles on fighting the epidemic of invasive species, preventing the loss of boating and fishing access to public waters, improving fish habitat in our lakes and reservoirs and working with state agencies to insure fishing regulations are science-based and fair for everyone.
Tournament fish care is another area that we put a spotlight on several times during the year. From the challenge of getting fish from the Houston Astro's ball park back home to Lake Conroe during the Bassmaster Classic, to the catch-weigh-and-release format of the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest on Lake Sam Rayburn, B.A.S.S. prides itself on having taken the lead for many years in promoting best practices to insure that fish released after tournaments survive to be caught again.
As the 2017 Elite Tour swung north to the smallmouth bass waters of New York, one of the issues we dealt with is providing first-aid to fish that have lost equilibrium from swim bladder over-inflation (resulting from being caught from very deep water and brought to the surface and held in a livewell). "Fizzing" is a term we use to describe a procedure that we use to help those fish recover more quickly. At the St. Lawrence River Bassmaster Elite tournament in July, we invited pro anglers to come down to the live-release boat and get hands-on training in fizzing smallmouth bass. Barb Elliott, our New York B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Director was on board as the fizzing instructor and John Crews, among several other pros, took a few minutes to learn the proper technique.
John took it a step further and shot this Facebook video and posted it on his page. The video got an incredible 191,000 views, showing the power of social media and the connection Bassmaster Elite pros have with their fans. We hope to have more video posted on Bassmaster.com in 2018 and work with more of our pro anglers as spokesmen on conservation issues that affect bass fishing across the country.
B.A.S.S. asked contributors, staff and anglers to reflect on their favorite moments of 2017. You can read more of them here.