Bass Anglers eyeball their catches after the bass are placed into a special live release tank
Photo by Ed Snyder
Lunker bass, such as this 12 pounder, must be protected by improved handling and releases techniques
Photo by Ed Snyder
(Aug. 05, 2004 - Lake Sam Rayburn, TX.)
In a positive effort to establish a "state of the art" fish recovery system at the Umphrey Family Pavilion, the LSRPA (Lake Sam Rayburn Pavilion Association) Board of Directors has assigned a special committee the task of designing, developing, and installing a working live release system at the Pavilion to be used by Tournament organizations who schedule their events during the hot summer months.
"We've had several lake area residents and visiting fishermen voice their concerns about recent bass kills that have occurred around Pavilion waters during tournaments held these past two months, stated LSRPA member, Mary Taylor, and the LSRPA is reacting to those concerns by forming a special committee to look into this matter. The committee is also assigned the task of researching and developing a "Class-A" live release system to be installed at the Umphrey Pavilion site for the purpose of improving the live release percentages. Presently, Mrs. Taylor informed, we've seen an estimated 60% bass kill rate during tournaments these past months, and that's not acceptable to us, or anybody else! We hope to put together a live release system that will lower that 60% bass kill to a more tolerable 10%, or less as we'll put every effort into protecting our lakes #1 resource of importance, the black bass. Because if we don't do this, Mary Taylor advised, the only other option will be to stop holding summer bass tournaments at the Pavilion altogether!"
"Texas Parks & Wildlife Fisheries Biologist, Todd Driscoll will chair this committee, Mrs. Taylor stated, adding that Bob Sealy of Sealy Outdoors, Carl Wright of Rayburn Tackle, Nelson Burton of the LSRPA, Pavilion G/M Ed Snyder, and bass tournament angler, Rodney Dotson, will team the committee. These appointed board members will represent an overall view of industry concerns for the development of a live-release system that will hopefully become an efficient alternative to current weigh-in systems.
Research studies found that while some bass tournaments have high live-release survival rates of nearly 100 percent, others have recorded 60% mortality rates. Almost all studies found that tournaments held during summer months kill more fish than during any other time of year. Fishery Biologists recommend shorter tournament hours, reduced limits, and total aeration of live-wells. Studies also show that live-wells in tournaments can become death traps when live-well water isn't changed or treated. But when using ice to cool live-well water temps by at least 10 degrees F when water temperatures exceed 75 degrees F, along with changing half of the live-well water every 3 hours, and the use of rock salt (or un-iodized salt) to aid in healing the fish by replacing its protective coat of fish slime, goes a long way in keeping live-welled tournament bass alive and 100% releasable. But what happens after those releasable bass are brought in for weigh-in can completely neutralize the concerned anglers best conservation efforts if the weigh-in handling procedures aren't up to snuff.
To help avoid these problems the LSRPA live release committee will study bass tournaments that will be held at the Pavilion for the remaining hot weather months to gather information about summertime weigh-in procedures and percentages of bass kills --vs- percentages of live release successes. Then, this information will be studied to table recommendations for improving the tournament weigh-in procedures that will be coordinated with the use of our new live-release system.
"Our goal, stated Mrs. Taylor, will be to hopefully see a 100% live release success rate from our summer tournament events, or to get as close as possible to that positive result as we can. This will be a "win-win" situation for all concerns and we plan to have our new live release system installed and fully operational before next years summer season, which starts June-15th and ends September-15th.
For More Information On This Project Contact Ed Snyder At (409)-382-5478 -or- e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This 11 lb bass was rushed to the weigh-in stage for quick tabulation before being recovered for quick release
Photo by Ed Snyder
Air bladder release techniques may be studied to re-evaluate their importance for live release