* Handling Fish|
* At the Tournament
* Air Bladder Relief
* Personal Notes
* Trouble Shooting
Bass placed in livewells become stressed due to a number of factors. Improper livewell handling, being caught in deep water, or shock from being "played" for a long period of time can all affect fish. This information outlines livewell operation and the care and handling of stressed fish. Occasionally fish will die regardless of how they are handled, but with a little extra care on the part of anglers and tournament directors more fish can be saved. Survival of fish begins with their care in your possession.
____________ IN THE LIVEWELL ____________
Keep the water in your livewell cool. Five degrees cooler than the lake is preferable during hot months. Ice blocks, made with hot water or water that has had the chlorine removed, one-half gallon in size, will cool water approximately 8 degrees. Put the ice in the livewell as you begin to fill it or as water is replaced with fresh from the lake. Small (one quart) plastic soda bottles are best. If using larger bottles simply remove after well is full, replace ice bottle in well as water is changed or for short periods of time. An inexpensive thermometer can be purchased at aquarium shops to check the temperature in the livewell.
Aeration and fresh water are imperative. Make sure your livewell is functioning properly. Don't simply trust your automatic livewell timers. For less than seven pounds of fish in the livewell aerate every eight minutes, supply fresh water from the lake every three hours. For more than seven pounds of fish aerate constantly and supply fresh water every three hours. Cool water slightly as it comes into the livewell, but do not overuse ice. Only use ice if surface temps are above 70 degrees.
Livewell additives are a must. Catch and Release by SureLife is best. DO NOT OVERDOSE, follow directions on package. Keep water treated throughout the period fish are held in livewell. Replace Catch and Release as new water is added. This product also removes chlorine if you use ice that has been made from water without the chlorine removed. Check the temperature again after changing and re-treating water.
Lack of oxygen and the presence of carbon dioxide and ammonia are deadly. Oxygen is added and carbon dioxide is removed by aeration, ammonia can be lessened by supplying fresh water to the livewell or by using Catch & Release. Check the fish in your livewell regularly to see how they're doing, if not looking well supply fresh water and Catch & Release and aerate constantly. Fish excrete ammonia from both gills and in urine and it builds up very quickly in the livewell.
Some tips from Steve Magnelia, Texas Parks & Wildlife biologist include adding a recirculating system to older boats. For $10 a 350 gallon per hour bilge pump hooked to a piece of automobile heater hose and a homemade PVC spray bar can be easily mounted in the livewell. This pump can also be used to drain the livewell by pulling the hose off the spray bar and putting it in the overflow.
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