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Peta's robofish. The waves that repel the fish will also drive a fish mentaly crazy and have it kill itself. To bad peta has not realised that yet.

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Looks like we may be hereing more about this one.Looks like FLW needs to stay away from there if that many of those fish have LBV.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

I'm not an opponent of tournament fishing, but I'm highly irritated over denials from tournament leadership. There you see a clear cut example of a large tournament at the root of immediate and delayed stress mortality, and immediate denial of tournament involvement. It's very likely all the bass there are infected with LMBV, which does reduce their vigor, but if that's what caused the die-off there should be daily die-offs until weather/water conditions change favorably. Instead the die-offs are directly related to large tournaments, that one identical to one like it last year.

I've been sent out no telling how many times to log die-off incidents. There's nothing to do about it except show concern before the public. Somebody has to admit there is a problem, so government workers end up holding the bag, while tournament anglers are safely returned home and to their jobs.

There are better solutions other than what's promoted by BASS, rules that could help dramatically. Keeping a bass in a livewell until culled is NOT truly catch & release.  In fact some states require on certain lakes no culling because of the certified waste of too many culled fish and or spread of disease or parasites. Every minute a bass stays in there is another closer to immediate or delayed death. If it is LMBV free it won't be if sharing the box with a bass that has LMBV. I'd like to see an end to culling. I'd also prefer to see tournaments reward anglers with really significant hourly weigh-ins so that an angler coming in frequently could get extra points toward the day rather than staying out all day holding bass.

It seems to me it would be far better for the sport to reward largest bass of the hour rather than encourage culling all day to accumulate 60# of fish. A fellow coming in with the biggest bass a couple of times a day is to me a much better angler than one who has sifted through a couple schools of bass, culling out the runts. True C&R would not result in elevated mortality rates we're seeing all over the country in warm water months.  It also seems to me say 80% of winnings ought to be for hourly big bass. An angler could then opt to skip an hour or two, culling up toward the 20% pot, or going in with what he thinks would be a competitive fish for a share of 80% of the pot. What would ya'll say to the top angler be the one with the most accumulated hourly weight? At the speeds modern boats can achieve each can be on 'good enough' water within 10 minutes. Let the guys who can't deliver Big Bass spend all day culling to fight it out over a couple of ounces among smaller bass. It all just seems to have gone completely backwards over the past 20 years.

Jim

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Some good points, Jim.  When I read the comments in the article about having no finger pointing, etc. I was a bit taken aback.  FLW should respond quickly to this in a manner that isn't defensive, but that shows the spirit of wildlife conservation.  Otherwise, all of angling suffers.  Contrary to what some believe, some bass do die from the stress of being held all day during a tournament, even when LMBV isn't involved.  I have seen a combination of heavy tournament pressure, heavy pleasure fishing, and LMBV nearly wipe out a wonderful bass population at Smithville Lake in Missouri during the 90s.  The last couple of years the population is really starting to come back with tournament stringers over 20 lbs again.  As anglers, we need to be aware of how our own behavior affects the health of bass.  

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All of you have made good points. We all realize there is a very large problem that does not have an easy solution.

Jim, one problem with the frequent weigh-ins is the consuption of fuel. On some lakes the weigh in area may be 25-50 miles from a preferred fishing area. On smaller lakes this may be viable solution, but on lakes large enough to support an FLW event I don't believe so.

I don't believe there is one solution to this complex problem. However one partial solution may be adding oxygen injection systems to bassboats. Research I have read indicate this would help, although not solve this problem. An oxygen injection system can be added to a tournament bassboat for a few hundred dollars. It could be a factory option on new boat for far less. These systems will increase the disolved oxygen in the livewells and at least increase the chance of survival for bass. I believe you will see these systems on higher end boats in the near future.

Most bass fishermen do not see the problem. After their tournament they see the fish swim off and assume the survive. Local Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency officers tell me many bass are dead within hours after being released alive and that all dead bass do not float to the surface as I would expect. They told me that they have sent divers down after major tournament fish releases to discover large numbers of dead fish on the bottom. I suspect that may be the reason B.A.S.S. started using a release boat some years ago after their tournaments to release the fish in other areas of the lake rather than at the weigh in site (only a guess).

I believe the use of these systems in bassboats at least may help with the problem. Just my opnion............................Al

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FLWs weighin takes like 3 hours to complete. That is just stupid as well. I know the damage might already be done but  I dont think they need to drive to the nearest Walmart and take all the money making time for Walmart and suspense to complete. Just weigh the fish and release. I like the hourly weigh in but also agree with Al. Lots of running and fuel usage for big tournaments.

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Jim...

I am a bit confused at what the difference would be between weighing in every hour as far as fish contact with each other. If there are two fish in a live well one with LMBV and one without...does it matter that they have been exposed to each other for an hour or eight hours?

I supposed it is more likely that there would be just one fish in the livewell that hour...but that certianly would not always be the case.

and from what I have been told it is not so much the stay in the livewell that causes the stress as it is the struggle and the original capture that produces the stress.

Is it not true that the LMBV is transmitted through the mucus the fish produce as protection? Perhaps the FLW and large tourney's use of salt solutions to stimulate this protective mucus secreation is actually hurting them in instances like these. I will have to look that up now.

I agree that fish do die from stress. I have myself released sluggish acting keeper fish at a tournament hoping to spare them rather than keep them and have them die (not that it was any guarantee they did survive)...and yes we DO need to be aware of how our behavior effects the fish AND we need to do everything we can to ensure fish survival...from careful handling ( I hate it when I see the pro bring the fish into thier boat and let it flop around on the carpet etc etc) and livewell improvements ( recirculating pump and oxygen pumps as mentioned by AL)and additives...Proper cleaning and sanitation of both boat and livewell after each lake.

I think for the most part tournament fisherman...at least the ones I know...do have concern for the survival of the fish and do include conservation in their thinking. I agree there are problems...and it is not perfect.

Anyone with any suggestions on improving fish survival speak up...I am ALWAYS willing to listen to good ideas.

Now that the tournament fisherman have been criticized( perhaps questioned is a better term)...I will make a point on the performance of both Indiana and Illinios DNR near me...

While for the most part the officers are always VERY professional and a pleasure...I have been repeatedly stopped, checked, and otherwise "hassled" ( not a good word but it all I got right now) during tournaments...in FULL VIEW of shore fisherman keeping undersized fish by the dozens. I have made repeated calls...even told one officer that if he were to check one guys bucket just a hundred yards from where he stopped me he would find at least a dozens or so undersized fish... I was told he did not have time to check every bucket...yet he had time to check each and every tournament fisherman on the lake ( and found not a single violation I might add)

So niether system is perfect...not the DNR's enforcement nor the tournament clubs.

though I will say anytime I have had a question about this or other fish survival topics, both DNR's fish biology departments have been very forth coming and helpful.

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somebody mentioned the long weigh ins at FLW tourneys...I agree...freaking stupid. But then if you ask me, anything to do with wal mart will involve a certian amount of idiocy. I am not at all a fan of Wal Mart!

I have long said...stop with the show and big production and just weigh the fish in already. I sat through two or three of these and thought to myslef...good lord guys get the heck on with it already! They need to do staggered weigh ins...go out and return in more staggered flights so that the fish do not have wieght in the live wells for all the hupla and goofiness.

and the driving to the nearest Wal Mart parking lot is a stupid thing...show Wal Mart cares about their PR more than the fish or conservation...it is all business with them.

I also think that if this was a BASS tourney there might be a better response about this ad occurance...but since Wal Mart is involved and apparently they can do no wrong...

well anyway I am ranting and my dislike of Wal Mart is not really the issue....

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I'm not an opponent of tournament fishing, but I'm highly irritated over denials from tournament leadership. There you see a clear cut example of a large tournament at the root of immediate and delayed stress mortality, and immediate denial of tournament involvement. It's very likely all the bass there are infected with LMBV, which does reduce their vigor, but if that's what caused the die-off there should be daily die-offs until weather/water conditions change favorably. Instead the die-offs are directly related to large tournaments, that one identical to one like it last year.

I've been sent out no telling how many times to log die-off incidents. There's nothing to do about it except show concern before the public. Somebody has to admit there is a problem, so government workers end up holding the bag, while tournament anglers are safely returned home and to their jobs.

There are better solutions other than what's promoted by BASS, rules that could help dramatically. Keeping a bass in a livewell until culled is NOT truly catch & release. In fact some states require on certain lakes no culling because of the certified waste of too many culled fish and or spread of disease or parasites. Every minute a bass stays in there is another closer to immediate or delayed death. If it is LMBV free it won't be if sharing the box with a bass that has LMBV. I'd like to see an end to culling. I'd also prefer to see tournaments reward anglers with really significant hourly weigh-ins so that an angler coming in frequently could get extra points toward the day rather than staying out all day holding bass.

It seems to me it would be far better for the sport to reward largest bass of the hour rather than encourage culling all day to accumulate 60# of fish. A fellow coming in with the biggest bass a couple of times a day is to me a much better angler than one who has sifted through a couple schools of bass, culling out the runts. True C&R would not result in elevated mortality rates we're seeing all over the country in warm water months. It also seems to me say 80% of winnings ought to be for hourly big bass. An angler could then opt to skip an hour or two, culling up toward the 20% pot, or going in with what he thinks would be a competitive fish for a share of 80% of the pot. What would ya'll say to the top angler be the one with the most accumulated hourly weight? At the speeds modern boats can achieve each can be on 'good enough' water within 10 minutes. Let the guys who can't deliver Big Bass spend all day culling to fight it out over a couple of ounces among smaller bass. It all just seems to have gone completely backwards over the past 20 years.

Jim

Best thread in this whole topic I agree 100%

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Guest ouachitabassangler

Bass tournaments are increasingly become the focus of a large number of researchers, and out of that comes mostly bad news, confirming a direct link between the current prevailing form of "C&R" having hours of delay between catching and releasing. For a couple of decades I've been among those left behind to deal with the people coming out to witness the advanced mortality, taking photos, videos, samples of dead fish, not for research seeking answers, but ammunition to stop all forms of hunting and fishing. I've posted this before and maybe it's best to repost this.

As a result of a really tough year for tournament bass PETA, Earth First, and other aggressive "environmentalists", a large campaign was launched including very troubling billboards along the highways here. That was in advance of a general election having a bill up for vote intended to ban the sports completely. It was defeated by less than 100 votes, with some dispute over the count, and I have no idea what the final tally was. It was way too close for a region with a huge percentage of outdoor sportsmen.

Most anglers I've talked to about it didn't know a thing about that, many taking advantage of a day off work for voting, going fishing instead. If we fail to face up to the problem it won't take much to end fishing and hunting at least until we could rally and out vote those folks and gain support of so many gullible voters not able to process the issue in a logical manner. Emotional appeals concerning "poor helpless dumb animals being ravaged by insensitive uncaring fishermen and hunters" find an ever-increasing open ear. It could come down to every angler and hunter being forced to plow a huge sum of money and work into keeping the sport we love, without end, the issue coming back up every year or two. We're already seeing more speed limits, banning of motors, restricted areas, and many forms of appeasing a very large voting block that's growing larger.

Jim

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Guest ouachitabassangler

I'll comment on some points ya'll made.

The issue of using more fuel due to running back & forth to a weigh-in could be settled by an eventual banning of outboards, or limiting horsepower. I'd think most anglers would be wiser to accept the possibility the 50-100 mile river runs could become a thing of the past. Many tournaments are won within a couple of miles of a launch area anyway. Maybe we'd appear to be better stewards by keeping an event limited to 10 miles out. That would reduce noxious emissions, conserve fuel, and appeal to the majority of anglers not involved in tournaments. If bass die-offs only occurred in that reduced area then everyone would know the truth of whether tournaments cause those or the die-offs are part of something bigger lake-wide. Would most of us be willing to risk that? Well, if we don't deal with it in a very definite manner it might be decided for us by a world of non-fishermen aided by disgruntled non-tournament fishermen willing to cut their own activities to preserve the sport. How many weekend fishermen might be willing to fish with 50 HP or less, operate at less than 30 mph, and agree to keep fish without culling? You can ski at only 30 mph ya know, so recreational boaters could adapt too to keep their own sports.

DElee, I rarely see bank fishermen catching bass. There isn't as much pressure on DNR enforcers to guard non-game and small game species which tend to reproduce far better than bass. Bluegills spawn several times a year, while bass spawn during a small window of one season. Law is law and if they keep illegal game that's a bad thing, but abusing bass carries a higher priority.

As for bass innoculating other bass, there is a significant difference in infection probability given sufficient time to make enough physical contact, assured within a livewell for half a day. It might be looked at as like you being coughed on once by someone with a communicable disease compared to spending 3 days in their home caring for them. Livewell living conditions can never be as good as free range, no doubt increasing stress begun with the catching of a bass.

An hourly Big Bass sure seems better than 200 anglers bringing in 1500 pounds of bass in 3 days.  Most of the fish caught by those 200 would be immediately released without boating, knowing it will take a certain size to have a chance. If one guy is bringing in 7# bass everyone soon realizes they had better put something like that in that livewell and scedaddle over to the weigh-in before something happens to it.  I've always appreciated a big bass winner far mor than a guy that's really good at culling up from 15 to 30# of bass daily. That's more of a numbers game involving a lot of luck coming up on bigger bass. Someone will stumble on to them. You hardly ever hear an angler say he's found the biggest and will win an event, then do it. If he's found them probably someone else found the same ones. If it was mostly skill then the same highest skilled anglers would be winning most of the time. Winning Big Bass 1 time more than the next guy speaks to me of a more consistent skill. It would be a terrible decision to make in that hour. Assume you are only allowed to have one fish in the livewell at one time. Can I let this one go and catch one larger? I do believe it requires more total skill to confidently go after one large bass and take it in. The larger the bass the harder it is to catch, citing as proof the fact a bass gets large against all odds. They get large because they become better at feeding on the right stuff than their cousins while making the fewest errors of judgment.

Jim

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You all need to re-read the post by Hobbs. You focused on the opening paragraph it seems and forgot to read on:

"Stellner said the DNR's methods of conducting the study may have led to higher mortality rates.

The agency put about 100 fish a day in 8-by-8-foot holding pens near Northern States Power Co. on the Black River. An equal number of tournament-caught fish and fish the agency culled from the wild using electroshocking were kept there for a side-by-side comparison.

The pens didn't have proper current flow, which may lead to warmer water temperatures and poor oxygenation, Stellner said. In addition, the fish were held there for up to five days, another possible source of stress, he said.

But Hobbs, while confirming Stellner's account of the holding pens, said the electroshocked fish were not among those he collected because they did not have a clipped fin.

Longtime bass fisherman Bob Wateski, 59, said the die-off probably represents a typical summer kill due to low river flow and the recent higher-than-normal temperatures.

It's tragic that it happened, he said, but we need to learn from it. We can't point fingers.

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jim,

while i think everything you say is very interesting it seems very unlikely to be to be practical.  what your calling for is a complete change in the way fishing tournaments are run.  i dont think BASS would ever go for that as they have invested too much acclimating people to their style of tournaments.  also, from a tv perspective that sort of weigh in could be very confusing and not make the kind of dramatic television they are looking for.

is this a good reason not to go to this format if it would dramatically help fish populations?  no in my opinion.  Is it at all likely to happen?  again, not in my opinion.

the idea of taking away outboard motors and completely overhauling the way tournaments are run has a lot of merit in my eyes, but i just think that it is very unlikely to be taken seriously by tournament organizers.

therefore i think some other solution is needed.

just my opinion and not intended to disagree with what was an informative and thought provoking post from jim.

matt

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Long time Lurker first time poster here.

To me the massive die off only enforces what I have thought for years after seeing tournaments in the Potomac River and other local reservoirs during extremely hot months: tournaments kill fish. It is obvious to me that keeping a bass in a small container in extreme heat will harm the fish, even climate controlled live-wells with aerators are not natural environments for fish. We all spend hours on the water trying to figure out what these sensitive fish are biting at a specific depth/temperature/time and then we catch a big one and expect it to survive in a small cramped box with a vibrating gas engine a few feet from it so it can be weighed and eventually returned, it makes no sense. If the bass are that finicky about what they eat why would they be tough enough to survive hours in these conditions?

I understand the desire to make fishing competetive, it is in our nature; however, fishing should be relaxing. We shouldn't care about sponsors/prizes/exposure when the real reason we get on the water is to have fun and forget the rest of the world for a few hours. I hear people saying that the big weigh-ins are required in order to spread the popularity of the sport... well who wants more boats on their favorite water?!?! These tournaments are doing nothing to improve the fishing in our country, they only serve to stroke the egos of a select few and help the sales of the lure manufacturers.

If tournaments HAVE to continue, why not put an unbiased ref on each boat to weigh the fish with a certified scale and then have it returned immediately to the water?  No harm done to the fish and tournaments can continue.  The weigh-ins can still be done but with pictures/video of the fish and a scorecard.

Finally the results from tournaments not only affect the numbers of fish in the water, it affects the attitude of the anglers on the water. How many times have you seen guys fly in to one of your spots moments ahead of you only to "claim" it as their own? How many times have you seen guys with big bags of bass who refuse to tell you where or how they caught them? Fishing is a joy and we should share that joy with everyone angler on the water, we should not view them as someone who is trying to nab your fish.

Sorry if I am too opinionated for a first-time poster :-)

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RockvilleMDAngler,

Welcome aboard!

The Arkansas DNR has addressed this issue as it applies to trout. If you bring it into your boat, you keep it!

I don't have an answer, catch-weigh-and-release isn't practical in competition.

I do think tournament fishing is detrimental to bass populations, probably more so than catch and eat.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

The article didn't indicate how many 8x8 pens nor how many fish per pen, only that 100 a day were added to the pens. Without knowing about that it's inappropriate for the anglers to comment on the way the study was run. The whole point is we have tournament anglers making statements in the face of scientific studies, whether flawed or not. That's been an ongoing problem all along, anglers arguing with biologists, researchers, and cold raw data. The fact the dead fish were from the 2,000 marked at the release site proves at least 25% of released bass died. IF the number of dead fish had included a significant percentage of unmarked bass THEN maybe a decent assumption could be made about a general fishery problem at the root of the die-off. But the fact is the problem was directly related to the tournaments. The word "assume" can be written "***-u-me". Speculative assumptions often can make an *** out of you & me both. The men making those comments about the study and the problem did no good for tournament bassers, msaking their guesses equal to scientific data. Absurd!

I agree, I doubt any of my ideas will be implemented voluntarily. It'll take laws being passed, which I predict will come sooner than later. It's unfortunate that our society still has to resort to law-making to make all things "right" when all it takes is for reasonable people to just do the right things. Every time an incident like that one at La Crosse happens the misguided 'friends of the fish' get another notch in their gunstock, and they have all the more to convince voters the fate of wildlife is in the hands of non-hunters/fishermen.

Jim

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I agree that it is a tough situation when we have a fish kill for any reason.

However, without making an assumption, it is difficult to give complete credence to the report.

One would have to assume that the media was factual, (By DAN SIMMONS | La Crosse Tribune) and that nothing was taken or reported out of context. This could be a text book first for the Media.

I found it interesting that when I did a bit of research that there are no DNR biologists with the name of David Hobbs working for the state of Wisconsin, or at least they aren't claiming him. Further, even though the Wisconsin DNR has a news page available to the public they have nothing on this event.

Thus, I have to assume that I shouldn't get all worked up over this unless I can come up with some biologically sound and validated reasons for this occurence.

Jim, your statements of "fact" are in fact quantum leap assumptions. I agree with your ferverant desire to improve on current systems, but I don't agree with your assessment of this incidence.

.

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RockvilleMDAngler,

Welcome aboard!

The Arkansas DNR has addressed this issue as it applies to trout. If you bring it into your boat, you keep it!

I don't have an answer, catch-weigh-and-release isn't practical in competition.

I do think tournament fishing is detrimental to bass populations, probably more so than catch and eat.

Why is catch-weigh-and-release not practical?  The tournament fisherman already have camera crews on their boats, why not add a ref and let the camera crews act as proof that the fish were actually caught and not hidden and picked up?  

In regards to catch-and-eat there is little doubt that selective harvest helps the size of fish population.  Tournaments cause far more damage then eating a few bass.

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Catch and release paper tournaments are very practical for clubs, however for those tournaments that are a business, they need the draw of the weighin to support their format.

Tournaments are all about money, and ironically, not money for the participants, but money for the organizers. As long as the cash flow is strong the organizers will keep organizing.

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It could be implemented at the professional level, but not in other "money" tournaments.

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I e-mailed the reporter about this thread, inviting him to read everyone's comments and address them, if he wishes.

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Catch and release paper tournaments are very practical for clubs, however for those tournaments that are a business, they need the draw of the weighin to support their format.

Tournaments are all about money, and ironically, not money for the participants, but money for the organizers. As long as the cash flow is strong the organizers will keep organizing.

I have watched my fair share of televised tournament fishing and rarely are there more than 200 people at the weigh in. At the Classic I have seen many more but that is a once-a-year evet.  I don't see why a montage of the fish BEING caught along with an official weight is any less appealing than some fat guy holding up some fish.

Anyway I could honestly care less about the success of the FLW organizers. Wal Mart needs the funds from the tour like they need a hole in the head. Bass fishing is a great activity and one of my favorite things to do, but it is not a competetive sport and should not be a money-maker for anyone except those that sell and manufacture the gear, especially if it means that hundreds of fish die for no reason.

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I agree somewhat with RockvilleMDAngler.  I always thought the team type coverage of the ELITE series was a little over the top.  Those classics where the pros enter the arena on their towed boat for the weigh-in seem ridiculous.

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