Bass Fishing in Southeast Louisiana
Read This And Thought I would Share It...
An Open Letter to Bass Fishermen
After attending dozens of weigh-ins, as a spectator, tournament participant, reporter, and occasionally as weigh-master, I have arrived at the point where it is very hard for me to be there. On most every occasion, I see a callous disregard for the well being of the fish displayed by many of the fishermen. Let me be clear. I am not talking about all fishermen.. I know many of them that take every precaution possible to give their fish the best possible chance at survival after being released. But I am going to put the number at about fifty percent.
I am not sure what the reason for this is. We all love to fish. (I think) We all think of ourselves as conservationists.
Maybe I am wrong.. Maybe a lot of people just donít really care. It appears that their attitude is ďI am just going fish the tournament and if my fish die I just donít really give a darn.Ē
I donít care that the water is hot, that my live wells are operating minimally, and Iím not gonna open the thing unless Iím gonna put another fish in there. Itís too much of a bother to add some ice to the water, and putting Catch and Release in the wells is a pain and the stuff is too expensive.
And If I forget to turn the pump on or to plug the wells before I head to the weigh-in itís no big deal.. I just forgot.. And my fish are dead so just dock me the weight.. I only come here once a year.. I just donít care.. Iím not in the hunt for the Top Six anyway.. Look at those two big ones I caught.. HeyÖ Who wants fish?? Whoís cleaning fish?
And anyone who knowingly throws dead fish back in the water should be fined.. Substantially..
Is it any wonder that tournament fishermen are held in such low regard? How are we (as a whole) any better than the guy who fillets everything he catches? We certainly contribute largely to the death rate..
And I canít tell you how many times I have seen fishermen bring their fish to the scale with one quart of water in the bag.. Or no water in the bag.. And stand in line yaking about the one that got away while the ones in the bag are getting deader by the second..
Pull your head out people.. Because if these fish were human they would be rushed to intensive care and all immediate family members called.. There is no emergency room in the water when you dump them in the muddy shallows. And returning them to the lake is not some instant cure all that restores their vitality and returns then to instant health.. The fact is that a very high percentage of fish die after being released, even when they are well cared for. And the way many fish are treated gives them a ZERO chance to live.
I know that zero mortality is not possible. I know that some fish die in the first thirty seconds after they come out of the water. I know it is a numbers game. But these are not the fish I am talking about.
I am talking about taking some personal responsibility for the well being of your fish, and the sport you love.. Allegedly.. Because if you donít weíll all suffer for it.. And already are..
These are issues that need to raised at Bass Club meetings. It should be priority one to prevent fish deaths. And a lot of it is so simple.. It starts with giving a darn.
Here are a few suggestions for better survival rates.. And one of them is guaranteed to reduce fish deaths by forty percent..
Install an oxygen system in your boat. It will virtually eliminate dead fish.
Go to a three fish limit. Or better yet, get every one in the club the same scale and weigh them in the boat and release emí on the spot. A paper tournament is fine as well, but this is much more accurate.
Shorten tournament hours in warm water months.
Do not allow trailering to weigh-ins.
Hold your weigh in as close to the water as possible, and if workable, take fish to weigh area directly from boat.
Put lots of well-oxygenated water in your weigh bag.. Get someone to help you carry it if needed.
Limit the amount of weigh bags used, and use bags with mesh liners that are removable. This requires much less handling of the fish.
Minimize picture time.
Minimize the weighing of Patch fish, as this can add minutes to the time fish are in the bags.
The Weigh Master MUST keep things moving. Have plenty help..
All these things can greatly help reduce fish mortalityÖ But not if the fish get there dead.. So it is up to you, the individual, to get them there alive..
The aforementioned precautions can greatly help in the survival rate. Please help us preserve our fish for our, and future generations.
So In the end it all comes down to ďDo you give a darn, or not?Ē
I originally posted this about three years ago.. But unfortunately it is just as relevant today..
Please do your part to save our fish.. And I do mean OUR fish.. I realize I don't own them.. And the law says we can kill five apiece a day if we wish. But if we want to keep Falcon as a fishery anywhere close to what it has been, we all need to start doing a better job of caring for our big fish.
I'll quit bitching now.. Well almost.. If you are just fun fishing, please do not carry around a bunch of big fish for a late day photo op of you holding up two hands full of big fish.. It is no different than subjecting them to the same hazards that were discussed above.
I have a bunch of photos to post.. And I am working on em.. And one day I want to post a pic of you with a monster.. Please help me try and protect them
See you on the water..