How to Keep Fish Alive While Fishing

How to Keep Fish Alive While Fishing

If you own a fish boat, then it is important to make an effort to keep your fish alive in tournament conditions. You need to understand how to keep fish alive while fishing specially in the games.

Most tournament organizers will actually penalize you for weighing in dead fish by deducting a prescribed amount of weight from your total catch for each dead bass brought to the scales.

In bass fishing or trout fishing, you need different techniques and use of fishing equipment for proper outcomes. Keeping the fish alive can happen using tools and guides.

Outside of making sure that your live well pumps work, there are a couple of other things you can do to ensure the safety of your catch.

Keep Fish Alive While Fishing

If you want to keep the fish alive after catching it, then you need to understand some guides and then apply it during the fishing tournaments. Here are the tips and guides on keeping fish alive while fishing.

Catch and Release with Jar

First, keep a jar of “Catch’n Release,” a special crystalline chemical added to the live well water. Follow the instructions as to how much to add based on good size. This chemical does two things to maintain healthy bass in the live well.

It will tranquilize the fish to keep them from thrashing around in the well. But, interestingly, it will also help to regenerate the protective slime layer on the outside skin of the bass.

Catch and Release Fish

Lipping the fish

Secondly, learn to “lip your fish as much as possible, Grasp the bass by the lower lip and try not to handle them any further if you can help it. If you have to touch the bass, wet your hands to keep that protective slime coat from coming off.

This layer of slime serves as an antifungal barrier that wards off infection and keeps the fish healthy. Avoid letting the bass make contact with the boat’s rough carpeted surfaces as this too will strip off this layer.

Checking the Bass Teeth for Safely Unlock Pike

Here’s another tip worth noting. Make it a habit to examine the contents of your boat’s live well during the course of the day. Check the bass themselves. If their teeth seem intact, many pros feel that this is an indication that they are feeding on soft, threadfin shad.

If the teeth appear somewhat mashed down, they most likely have been crunching hard shell crawdads. Also, look at the bottom of the live well.

Sometimes bass will regurgitate pieces of forage bait after they have been caught and placed in the well. This can be a real windfall.

For example, you may have lucked into catching a bass on a shad-style lure when the contents in the live well indicate they are actually feeding on dads. By then switching to a crawdad pattern bait, you may start catching even more fish.

What to Do in Warm Water to Keep Fish Alive

In extremely warm weather, keep your live well water constantly circulating. You can also add a little ice to the wells from your ice chest to cool the water down.

If you want to get an accurate reading of the water temperature where your fish are being kept, add an inexpensive pool thermometer to the live well.

“Will-E-Go” Board for Measuring Which One to Take

Should you decide to fish tournaments, you will need a measuring device to determine if your bass is a “keeper” fish based on either a 12 or 13-inch size limit for most California events.

"Will-E-Go" Board for Measuring Which One to Take

The most commonly sanctioned device is Jimmy Houston’s “Will-E-Go” board. This is basically a ruled, plastic board with a cupped trough at one end.

The bass has to be placed; mouth closed. against the cupped end. Then you measure from nose to tail to see if it will keep. “Just as with weighing in a dead fish, bringing a “short” bass to the scales can also be costly with similar weight deduction penalties resulting.

Keep in mind that many bass contests are decided by mere ounces!

Two tips that the pros use to maximize their catch involve this measurement process. Before you measure your fish, wet the Will-E-Go board with water.

On hot days, especially, the fish may actually shrink up” from the shock of being laid out on the hot plastic surface. Wetting the board minimizes this in addition to protecting that important slime layer.

Live Well for Short Bass

Next, if the bass seems just “short” (e.g. 1 7/8 inches), the pros will often put them into the live well anyway, add Catching Release, and remeasure the fish later in the day Bass are often traumatized in the fight and will sometimes have a tendency to shrink up as they are boated.

The chemicals will calm the fish down and give it a chance to relax its muscles. Often a short” becomes a bonafide “keeper” if handled carefully in this manner. And then you can unlock the hook safely.

Turn Your Fish Immediately

One final point: if you are just fishing recreationally and want to practice catch’n release, then turn your fish back immediately after you catch them.

Unless they are being caught in water over 35 Teet deep (whereby the fish may be killed from the bends anyway), there is nothing better than to release bass right after you catch them.

Last Few Words

A live well is not an alternative to putting the fish back into their natural habitat. If you are fishing for fun, try to “lip” your bass, and get them back into the lake as quickly as possible.

Also, treat them with T.L.C. Don’t toss them back, case them into the water gently. The bass you preserve today may be your tournament-winning fish tomorrow!

About the Author Alex N. Ferroni

About me: Hi, I'm Alex N. Ferroni, One of the creators of The Safariors blog and former camping trainer at Tripspot Magazine. I wish some other outdoor, hiking, hunting, fishing and camping enthusiasts have made this blog to share our thought. We are learning a lot through each trip, and we want you to learn that too!

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