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The Reel Deal: Check live wells before tournaments

Posted on Friday, July 1, 2016 at 6:20 pm

The team of Cody Detweiler and Andrew Jason with their five-fish limit  after day one of the BassCat Owners Bass Tournament. They finished fifth overall at 28.1 pounds. Submitted Photo

The team of Cody Detweiler and Andrew Jason with their five-fish limit after day one of the BassCat Owners Bass Tournament. They finished fifth overall at 28.1 pounds. Submitted Photo

By Cindy Joint

Tournament anglers know that to win a tournament you need a five fish limit and it is their responsibility to keep five alive to avoid penalties!
Nothing is more devastating then seeing a fish not survive a long day in the fisherman’s livewell. When fish die, they loose weight too! A dead or stressed fish releases ammonia that can effect the rest of the fish in the livewell.
Keeping bass alive after being caught can be a challenge in the summer heat. During the summer, dissolved oxygen levels drop when the water temperature soars, causing the fish to stress. The summer heat can kill livewell-kept bass especially if caught from deeper cooler water and placed into hot livewells.
Most tournaments start at sunrise and last until 3 p.m. and there is a good chance you are going to catch you limit or trophy bass before midmorning. Here are a few tips to help keep your prized catch healthy for the weigh-in and for the release.
To minimize stress on the fish, anglers should handle them as little a possible, including removing the hook from the fish’s mouth while it is still in the water if possible. This limited handling helps to reduce the loss of slime coat, which is the fish’s main defense against infection and disease.
Maintain healthy oxygen and water quality in the livewells. Know the capacity and don’t exceed the ration of more than 1 pound of bass per gallon of water. Make sure your recirculating
pump works before you arrive at the tournament and use it continuously if you have more than 5 pounds of bass in the livewell.
Know your tournament rules as to the amount of bass allowed to be held at any time. Keep the livewell water about 5 to 10 degrees below the lake surface temperature by adding block ice. Ice cools the water, which slows down the metabolism of the
bass. You can also include some livewell additives. Some depth finders now allow for an additional temperature sensor to be added to the livewell to be displayed on the monitor.
It’s all up to us to conserve the bass. Be an angler who cares. Make smart decisions to keep your fish alive and keep our lakes productive for years to come.

The Wednesday night tournament held June 22 attracted 17 teams. Taking home the money that night was the team of Tane Croseley and Billy Myers with 20.05 pounds and the big fish of the night of 9.38 pounds.
The BassCat Owners held a two-day tournament last weekend out of the lakefront ramp. Coming in first with 44.03 pounds for two days was the team of Terry McCamis and Bob Barzelay. They also had the big fish for the weekend, a nice 9.56 pounds.
Coming in second place was the team of Thaddeus Reagan and Rachel Gertz with 41.51 pounds. I sure do like seeing the ladies having an interest in tournament fishing. You go girl!

West Lake Toho Report: Water temperatures are holding between 86 and 90 degrees. The lake water level is at 52.77 feet and the locks are open running 4 feet.

It’s the Fourth of July Holiday weekend. Stay safe and enjoy boating with your family and friends.
Please practice safe boating. If you will be fishing or launching your boat at the Kissimmee Lakefront ramps please note that Big Toho Marina will be closed July 4th.
Tight Lines my friends!