TrophyCare Logo

 

QUICK LINKS:

Best Handling Practices

Holding Your Trophy Out of the Water

Weighing Your Trophy

Measuring Your Trophy

Hook Removal Techniques

 

Some description

  • Set the hook quickly to avoid deeply hooked fish.
  • Land the fish as quickly as possible.
  • Use a soft, knot-less landing net.
  • Wet all objects/surfaces that will be in contact with the fish including your hands, measuring board, or scale to protect the slime coat. (Slime coat is a protective barrier covering the entire fish’s body, like a suit of armor. Similar to a cut on a human, removal opens up the door for invasion of bacteria and parasites which can compromise the health of the fish.)
  • Remove hook while fish is in the water if possible.
  • Use de-hooking tools and heavy cutters to cut and remove hooks.
  • Learn new methods to back hooks out. Cut line, gently pull shank to reverse hook and remove with pliers.
  • Measure weight, and if possible length and girth, in a timely manner.
  • Measure length on a wet, cool surface. Do not place fish on hot, dry, or rough surfaces such as: metal boat floors, concrete, or grass.
  • Avoid keeping the fish out of water for more than 30 seconds at a time (approximately as long as you can hold your own breath).
  • Handle the fish only when measuring, weighing, photographing, and placing in the live well.
  • Use aerated live well.
  • Use 0.5% salt in live well if possible. (0.5 lbs. uniodized salt per 10 gals. water).
  • Do not place fish in chlorinated tap water.
  • Try not to place fish in colder or warmer water than the temperature the fish came from, although cooler is better than warmer.

Bass divider

Back to Top

 

Some description

  • A largemouth bass can live for weeks without food, but only seconds without oxygen. The most important thing to your fish is the ability to breathe.
  • Apply the 30 second rule: try not to keep your fish out of water longer than you can hold your breath.
  • It’s important to pay attention to the time you keep your fish out of water especially since the fish is already exhausted from being caught.

 

TIPS:

  • Keep the fish at the location where you caught it to assure a quick release after you document your catch.
  • Keep measuring and documenting tools (scale, camera, measuring board) readily available.
  • Wet all object that might touch the fish including hands, measuring board and scale (if applicable).
  • Consider using your live-well or leaving the fish in the net in the water. Keeping your fish in water while you prep your equipment will benefit the health of your fish.

 

BEST:

  • When you land your fish, remove the hook, place it on the scale and take some pictures. Then quickly release the fish back into the water from where you caught it. All of this should be completed within 30 seconds. Perhaps hold your own breath while weighing, measuring and taking pictures and you will know when it has been too long!

 

OKAY:

  • If photos cannot be completed within 30 seconds, perhaps fill your live-well and put the fish in it while you prepare for the photo session. Once ready, you can take your photos and release the fish within the ideal timeframe. In the absence of a live-well (e.g. canoe/kayak, jon boat without any plumbing, etc.) keep the fish in the water by any means possible (e.g. leave fish on the hook temporarily, leave fish in a submersed landing net, place fish in a large enough water-filled cooler, etc.) until you are ready.
  • Holding the fish out of the water for up to one minute.

 

AVOID:

  • Holding your fish out of the water for longer than one minute.

Bass divider

Back to Top

 

 

Some description

  • Be prepared
    - Have a functional scale on your person or handy in the boat and be familiar with its operation.
    - Keep your fish in a live-well or water while you get your scale ready to weigh the fish.
  • There are several types of weighing scales available to anglers, and within those common styles of scales there are potentially hundreds of different models.

 

BEST:

  • It is preferred that no additional holes are punched in the fish’s mouth membranes. Multiple types of hanging scales achieve this by gripping the bass’s jaw for a quick weighing.
Lip gripper scale

 

  • Pan scales do not require any perforations and support the weight of the bass across a larger area. These are the type of scale that FWC biologist use. Be sure to wet and cool the surface before weighing the bass.
Pan scale


OKAY:

  • “Hook-style” hanging scales have been the mainstay for recreational anglers weighing bass for years. They generally require suspending a bass from the isthmus (the "V" under the jaw) or by punching a small hole in the mouth membranes. Anglers should minimize the size of the hole if using this method and avoid puncturing locations that will further tear when the weight of the bass is fully supported. If suspending a bass from the isthmus, anglers should be careful not to hook and support a bass from its gill arch.
Hook scale

 

  • Many hook-style scales can easily be modified with the addition of a lip-gripper, which eliminates the need to punch holes or suspend fish from sensitive locations near the gill arches. These modifications bump the equipment to the “preferred” category.
Grip scale


AVOID:

  • Suspending bass from oversized hooks guarantees that a large hole has been created in the mouth membranes. These wounds compromise a bass’s ability to feed and open the door for pathogen infection.
Hook scale 2

Bass divider

Back to Top

 

 

Some description

  • With the fish’s mouth closed, make sure the tip of the fish’s nose is touching the end of the measuring board or on the “0” mark on a tape measure.
  • Lay fish flat and straight on the measuring board or tape.
  • Pinch the fish’s tail (aka, caudal fin) to get an accurate total length.
  • Double check your length photos to make sure the length readings are easily legible.
  • If measuring girth, run a soft tape measure around the widest point of the fish (perpendicular to the length). Keep the tape snug against the fish’s body. Note: that point at which the tape overlaps itself is the girth measurement.
  • Other items (e.g., string or fishing line) maybe used to measure girth. If using a piece of string, note the point of overlap and measure the distance between the two points on a ruler.
How to measure a fish

 

BEST:

  • Use a cool, wet, smooth surface to support your fish while measuring. Good measuring boards come in a variety of materials (e.g., plastic, plexiglass, wood).
  • Make sure to wet your hands and the measuring board with water to help cool the measuring surface and help minimize loss of slime coat while handing the fish.
  • Use your hands to gently secure the fish on the board to prevent the fish from flopping around and potentially off the board.
  • Store measuring board in an easily accessible location out of the sun (i.e., storage hatch) to keep cool.
Measuring board

 

OKAY:

  • If a smooth surface is not available for measuring your fish, at least make sure that it is cool and wet.
  • If using a soft tape or metal ruler to measure:
    - Use a wet towel on which to lay your measuring device and fish.
    - Lay fish on top of the measuring device.
Measuring a fish

 

AVOID:

  • Never measure fish on hot and/or dry surfaces (i.e. pavement, metal boat floors, ground) since this will result in injury to the fish.
Bass on ground

Bass divider

Back to Top

 

 

Some description

  • When possible use circle or barbless hooks to limit deep hooking.
  • Hook removal:
    - Use de-hooking tools to avoid damaging gills or other parts of the fish’s mouth.
    - Hook location may vary, having several types of de-hooking tools handy will be useful.
Dehooking tools

 

  • Deep Hooked Bass:
    - Deep hooked bass often present a dilemma. Removal of a deep hook may require a lot of time out of water or cause further physical injury to the fish.
    - If the hook cannot be removed quickly and easily, leaving the hook in place and cutting the line as close to the hook as possible can give your bass a good chance at survival and may be the best option to reduce stress and injury to the fish. Studies have shown that bass can shed deep hooks through time.

 

  • Deep Hook Removal:
    - Cut the line and gently pull the shank to reverse the hook.
    - If the fish is large enough, maneuver the hook through the gill opening.
    - Using pliers or de-hookers, gently remove the hook.
    - The approach to deep hook removal may require more time than simply cutting the line close to the hook eye. Use your judgement prior to considering deep hook removal if you are not an expert.
Deep hook removal

 Graphic from B.A.S.S. “Keeping Bass Alive”. Used with permission.

 

Thank you for taking the time to take care of your bass, and thanks also to our conservation partners including Bass Pro Shops who make TrophyCatch possible!

Bass Pro Shops logo

 

Back to Top

 

Scale images are from TrophyCatch partner Rapala. Bass graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.