Your one stop source for Bass Tournament information!
Please Use Your Back Button to Return
Submit Your Article for Posting!
by Ralph B. Spoerl
The Catch and Release system has been in practice
for a long time. Yet now
the fish biologists and other experts are talking about “Delayed
exactly is “Delayed Mortality?”
A few years back our club was fishing a tournament on Lake
Geneva. As we ended the day and began releasing our fish, an older
gentlemen from the area had been watching our weigh in. As we finished
and I walked to the shore to release our fish he came up to me and
asked me what I was doing. I
proudly told him that our club just had a bass fishing tournament on
the lake and I was releasing the fish as per our clubs conservation
rules of release. To my
chagrin, he chuckled and informed me that in a day or two he’d be
back here to pick up the dead fish that he was sure he’d find along
the shore. He said that
this is a regular occurrence after all small tournaments.
I walked away feeling really bad and a little
confused. Isn’t that
what the catch and release formulas and practice is supposed to
prevent? Aren’t all bass tournament people using some type of catch
and release formula, or at the very least using the methods of storing
the fish in iced water to keep them alive?
Are we missing something? Hind site being what it is, I now
realize that the older gentleman was speaking of the “Delayed
Unfortunately, it seems clear that something is
going wrong. Apparently,
some people are not using the fish saving Catch and Release formulas
available to them for use in the live wells and, the fish are dying
soon after they’re back in to the water.
So, what’s really going on here?
If the delayed mortality factor is a reality then we as bass
people must face it and take responsibility for it.
Today’s tournament spotlight is now focusing on the issue of
delayed morality and studies are starting to factor this into
tournament statistics. Certainly,
this will put a less than positive face on our conservation attempts
and those with agendas to curtail tournament activity will likely find
a rational argument to support their case against us.
Assuming that we all as outdoorsmen and women care what happens
to those bass and their environment after we catch them, record them,
and then release them, I think we all agree that the goal is 100%
release and total survival of the fish.
So what do we need to do to help ensure that survival and
preserve our reputations as sportsmen and women and aggressive
These mortality studies are here and we as
anglers need to become part of the solution to this problem and not
permit ourselves to aggravate the situation or perpetuate it.
We must take the idea of Catch and Release very seriously and
we must use the tools available to us in order to achieve that goal.
Perhaps we all need to revisit out club tournament rules to be
sure that each and every one of us is participating appropriately by
those rules. Maybe the
rules themselves need to include a more disciplined approach to Catch
and Release. And
remember, the fish that survived did so, not just because we kept
water in our live well, and
were then set free. They survived primarily because we went the extra
mile and cared for them while they were stored in those live wells by
using the tools we have available to care for them before they were
released—a practice we all need to follow, to teach, and to preach.
So as I said in the beginning, being more careful
when you put your hand in your own tackle box might bring out
something other than an item that pokes and/or hurts.
The Tackle Box might also contain something that will
help—you, the fish, and the environment.