Fish Care for Catch and Release

Learn how to take care of fish while in your care, and what happens to bass during and after the fight that's critical for you to know.
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Catch and Release, and I wish I had Please Release Me but I left it at home, is something that you can add to your live well, add to your live well water that helps the fish to calm down, not beat the snot of itself while he's in your live-well while it's banging around. How many of us open up our live-well and fish are going everywhere? Okay, it keeps it from banging up, keeps themselves from banging up.

It's got a mild sedative, a natural mild sedative that calms them down okay, and it will also, it has a antibiotic in it. What the antibiotic does to it, if it has developed any kind of disease, parasite, whatever else it, correct me if I'm wrong Bob, it attaches itself to the gills and the slime coat and the antibiotic helps it to fight whatever diseases they might have at the time okay?

It has a chemical that takes chlorine out of the water so if you throw a bunch of ice in there you don't have to worry about it if it's in there. It'll remove your chlorine. I'm trying to think of anything else it does. It does a ton of other things. The Catch and Release like what Glenn has, what Lane and Tony recommend that we do with that, is use it for a bleeder. Sorry, Please Release Me. Use the Please Release Me for bleeders for fish that have sores on them so on and so forth.

What that does is it coagulates the blood. Did anybody see the Falcon Tournament on ESPN last year? Who won it, what was the guy's name? Paul Elias? See that big fish he caught? What he did was he caught a fish and it was bleeding, pretty bad. What'd he do? Took fish in the live well, in the right side of the live well all by itself, took a bag of ice, dumped the bag of ice in there, measured out some Please Release Me, dumped it in there and shut the livewell, turn the aerators on.

What happened was the Please Release Me helped the water because Bob Lusk informed me today that our blood coagulates in the air, theirs can't. The faster we get them back in the water, the faster that's going to happen. That product helps that to happen faster. So he opened it up 15, 20 minutes later Paul Elias did, looked down in it, the fish was looking up at him just fine as could be. Okay?

A lot of times, sometimes you'll hook a fish in the little vein that's inside their mouth and that son of a gun's bleeding something fierce and it's just a tiny little vein that I can't remember, it runs in the roof of the tongue. But what I'll do is get a little pinch of it, drop it down in there, rub it on there real quick, throw it in there, drop some more in there. It stops the coagulation and helps save a fish's life. Okay.

Bob Lusk: What he just told me is right on the money but what I thought I'd try to add to that is when you catch a fish, what happens to it? It's running, it's fighting, it's just like if you and I were to go run a quarter mile. So I don't know, when's the last time you ran a quarter mile?

I might make it 100 yards I have to stop and recover. So what happens is the fish builds up lactic acid in it's muscles because it's using every muscle it's got to get away from what you just offered it. So when you bring it in the boat what's actually happening to that fish is that it's expended it's energy so it's pretty much spent if you've played it for very long, so it's got to recover.

So in essence what's happened to that fish has had a moderate amount of stress happen to it. So typically when that happens, the very first thing the fish wants to do is slough off it's slime, get rid of it's slime, well the salt in that product drives the slime up and makes it more sticky. So it sticks to the fish. That's the fish's first line of defense is it's slime, and if it loses that slime, then bacteria can hit it from the outside that would, you know we're talking about bacteria and parasites.

Well, what the antibiotic does, is it kills any bacteria that's in the water in the livewell, so while that fish is recovering in the livewell and regaining its momentum and its equilibrium, the salts, doesn't really replace a lot of it's electrolytes, it'll replace a little bit but the salt is actually helping to give its shield on the outside more strength so it doesn't slough it off, and the antibiotics killing bacteria that's in the water.

And then the third thing is the sedative slows the fish down a touch just a little itty bit and allows its heart rate to slow down and allow it to get back to where it was before it got caught. That's why you want to use that product, that's what happens to the fish when you catch it. Does that bring up any more questions?

Questioner: Yeah. I work for three tournament trails, and they keep telling us the world's worst thing for your fish is these clear, plastic bags. A rough black rubber bag is, they claim they doesn't hurt the slime, but these clear plastic live bags, what we're told is those are the world's worst thing for a fish. What do you think about that?

Bob: Well, if it's abrasive, it is bad. If it's not abrasive it's not. The rubber bag, I like rubber. Yes, I like the rubber bags okay. The thing is if the fish was handled well in the livewell and then it's handled after it comes out of the bag right, before it gets put back in the lake it has a good chance of survival just as long as the water temperature is not excessively hot, so I don't think there's a big difference in the bags myself. I prefer the rubber bags more than the plastic bags simply because they can breathe a little bit more and they're a little bit more flexible and not quite as rigid but I don't necessarily think that plastic bag is going to hurt that fish anymore than it's already been through.

Questioner: The ones that I'm talking about has got the strings still.

Bob: Oh those are terrible. Throw them in the trash.

Questioner: Yeah. That's the one we're talking about.

Bob: I'm thinking clear plastic bags.

Questioner: No, no these are reinforced.

Bob: Those, if you feel inside those, they're ribbed, they're not smooth and that's abrasive to a fish enough that it can scrape some slime off. If the fish has a chance, it will regenerate its slime but it won't regenerate it in really cold water and it won't regenerate it in really hot water and what you're doing the way that you're handling it from the catch, to the live well to the bag, to the weigh in, to the tank under the weigh-in stand, back to the lake, that's what is going to determine how well that fish lives.

I've handled hundreds of thousands of fish in my business in stocking lakes and I always use salt and I always use an antibiotic, always. I've learned that if I don't there's consequences to that. But to answer your question, the ribbed bags I don't think they're good.

Man: Now does your tournament circuit move around?

Questioner: You've got them all over the country.

Man: Is there a way that you can have a holding tank to...

Questioner: We do.

Man: Okay.

Questioner: We do.

Man: Good.

Questioner: We're told do not use the ribbed bags. If you see a guy coming up to  those stands, to the weigh-in tank or to the sink or whatever.

Man: Right.

Questioner: Just come and drop him a word. Tell him to get rid of those bags don't use them.

Man: I like the black bags because you can't see what you've caught.

Questioner: Right, well that's, everybody likes that.

Man: Those holding tanks that you can sit there an eyeball a fish for a while after the weigh in are great because then you can address any problems that they might have. Whether they have a bladder issue or whatever you can address those problems as a tournament official or as just a fisherman that knows how to do this that we've been educated and we know it.

What we ask in Sure Life, what we ask you to do, is to watch the video and read about this stuff and then go tell and educate other people about it because the more tournament anglers that know about this, the more tournament directors that know about this and are able to educate these anglers, the better off our fish are going to be. Okay?

The better off that our tournaments are going to look to the outside world. We've got these tournaments, these big tournaments that have high amounts of post-release death. We've seen pictures of fish floating the day, or we've seen them ourselves, going out fishing two days, three days after a tournament and the back of the creek where they released all the fish, a lot of floaters. Those will drop if we just educate our fellow fishermen on how to take care of their fish, whether they use this product or not.

You know, cool down your livewell. Monitor your water. Keep it clean. Keep it recirculating if you're not going to use it but if you use this, this is more beneficial than just plain water. Okay? More beneficial if you do it right with plain water, you can keep your fish alive, but you're more likely to keep them alive for longer after they've been released if you use this stuff. Any questions? Okay. That's all I have, thanks guys.

Glenn: We have some bottles up here I know each of you got some in your tackle bags but for those of you who fish a lot of tournaments and may need some more throughout the year, feel free to come up and grab yourself a bottle to supplement what you already have. I want to thank Gene for giving us a talk also Bob Lusk chief biologist basically, one of the best warm-water fisheries in the country. So, thanks a lot guys, appreciate it.

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