Americana Outdoors E-Magazine - August 2022

Bass Care Guide: How to Take Care of Your Catch Prior to Release

Catch and release can have minimal effect on bass survival if fish are landed quickly, carefully, and held in livewells with sufficient oxygen and temperatures at or below 84 degrees. Keep these 5 helpful points in mind. 1. Water temperature is the most important factor in largemouth survival. Maintain water temperaturesofnomore than84degrees inyour livewell.Keepfrozenwaterbottlesinyouricechest to use for cooling your livewell water as needed. 2. Fish need oxygen. Maximize aeration and flush the livewell with fresh water periodically to insure you have adequate oxygen levels. 3. Land your fish as quickly as possible and keep them in the air for as little time as possible. 4. When handling the fish be careful not to remove the protective slime or damage the gills. Wet your hands before handling, and don’t “boat flip” your bass onto the deck. 5. Proper positioning when handling fish is important. Hold bass horizontally with two hands, or fully vertical with one hand. Do not put the weight of the fish on the jaw, or the jaw could be damaged.

largemouth bass resource. Starting with Ray Scott and his creation of B.A.S.S. and the catch and release ethic in bass fishing, anglers and bass tournaments have been and continue to be protective of this valuable resource. An important key to a future healthy resource, and continually growing bass fishing opportunities is how anglers care for the bass we catch. The purpose of this guide is to help educate anglers on the basics of how to best care for largemouth bass. The increasing number of largemouth bass anglers and tournaments at all levels makes this information more important now than ever. Many tournaments provide live-release boats and good weigh-in conditions that help survival of fish, but they cannot save injured or severely stressed fish. It is essential that every angler understands that the conditions during capture, handling, and livewell confinement are critical in determining whether a bass ultimately survives after release. Over the years there have been several valuable studies and publications on bass care. One of the best and most detailed resources continues to be Keeping Bass Alive: A Guidebook for Tournament Anglers & Organizers by B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliard and Hal Schramm. Another excellent study was done in partnership with Phil Morlock, Director, Environmental Affairs at Shimano and Dr. Bruce Tufts and his team at

We are fortunate here in the U.S. to have a healthy

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