- Avoid using the net if possible, as it will rub off the fish's protective slime coating, increasing its chance of sickness and infections. If you must use a net, use a rubberized kind. These reduce the damage inflicted.
- If a bass weighs over 3 pounds, don't hold him up by his lip alone; you may break his jaw. Instead, support his weight with your other hand by cradling his belly.
- If you're having difficulty removing the lure, use needle nose pliers and gently pry the hooks free. Yanking and twisting the hooks only causes more damage.
- If the hook is embedded in the throat, cut the line instead of trying to get the hook out. Leave about 18" of line, and chances are the bass will dislodge the hook himself. Trying to pry the hook out of this delicate area can kill the bass.
- Before measuring your fish (especially on hot days), place the measuring board in the water to avoid damaging the fish's protective slime coating.
- Keep your livewell water temperature close to the lake temperature. A 5-degree difference is stressful to the bass; an 8-degree difference can be fatal. Use non-chlorinated block ice (in small quantities) if necessary.
- Keep your livewell aerator on. You can't over-aerate a fish! Pounds of bass, higher elevations, and higher water temperatures all deplete the oxygen levels of a livewell.
- Bass expel ammonia when they "breath," recirculating the water with your pump or use of livewell chemicals such as "Catch & Release" help reduce the ammonia content in the water.
Today, the emphasis among many bass fishermen is on quality fishing, which demands catch-and-release. We have come to realize that fishermen can no longer take from a resource without putting something back. Nobody can force you to return a bass you have caught legally and within the limit of your water; that decision is up to you.
With the advent of the modern-day aerated bass boat livewell, and through livewell chemicals designed to maintain the condition of the bass, catch-and-release is now possible for more people than ever before. In Europe, where pollution has destroyed many waters, catch-and-release is the expected norm among sport fishermen; in America, it's a choice you must make with every bass you catch.