Fish Care Guidelines for Tournament Anglers: Keeping bass healthy in the live well

 

1.  FILL YOUR LIVE WELL EARLY IN THE DAY!

  •    Fill live well at first fishing spot.
  •    Use water from open lake areas with good water quality.

2.  TURN ON THE RECIRCULATING AERATOR IMMEDIATELY!

  •    Set pump switch on manual (continuous operation)
  •    Run continuously all day.
  •    If aerator must run on a timer, run as often as possible.
  •    If boat does not have a recirculating aeration system, add one!
  •    This is a must to provide proper aeration while the boat is moving or on the trailer.

3.  LAND FISH QUICKLY, AVOIDING DAMAGE TO SLIME COATING!

  •    Grasp fish by lower jaw only, holding them vertically.
  •    Support large fish with a wet hand under the belly.
  •    Use soft, knotless nylon or rubber landing nets.
  •    Do not allow fish to touch boat carpet and rub off protective slime.
  •    Remove hooks quickly with as little tissue damage as possible.
  •    Remove deep hooks carefully.  When attempts fail, cut line five or six inches above the hook.
  •    Don't keep fish out of water longer than you can hold your breath.

4.  KEEP FISH IN REAR LIVE WELLS IF VOLUME IS SUFFICIENT!

  •    Fish in forward live wells are more likely to be injured from bouncing during rough water travel.
  •    Distribute fish evenly between rear live well compartments.

5.  PUMP FRESH WATER REGULARLY!

  •    When water temperatures are below 75 degrees, pump fresh water as often as possible.

6.  ADD ICE & SALT!

  •    When water temperatures are above 75 degrees, recirculate live well water.
  •    Do not pump in hot lake water.
  •    Ice cools the water and slows the fish' metabolism.
  •    One 8-pound block of ice cools water in a 30-gallon live well about 10 degrees for three hours.
  •    Adjust the amount of ice according to live well size.
  •    Block ice melts slower and can be stored for later use.
  •    Monitor live well water temperatures.
  •    Non-iodized salt (available from farm feed stores).
  •    Helps maintain electrolyte balance and reduces the effects of stress.
  •    Add 1/3 cup per five gallons.  Pre-measure salt into zip-lock bags.
  •   Drain half of the live well water every three hours.
  •    Refill with fresh water to remove toxic waste products (CO2 and ammonia).
  •    Add 1/2 the amount of ice, salt each time.

 

7.  OXYGEN DELIVERY SYSTEMS

  •    Oxygen from pressurized cylinder is delivered directly into live well through air-stone or hose.
  •    Must have regulator or pressure valve.  Pressurized tank must be securely mounted.
  •    Solves oxygen demand problems.
  •    Usually less need for water temperature adjustments but adding salt is still recommended.
  •    Periodic flushing (every two-three hours) with fresh water is also required.
  •    Better than simple aeration (air is only 21% oxygen)