Bass tournaments still killing bass Outdoor News June 2012 – Lake Minnetonka, MN Bass tournaments still killing bass Outdoor News June 2012 – Lake Minnetonka, MN
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    Bass tournaments still killing bass Outdoor News June 2012 – Lake Minnetonka, MN
from Te #14139 #14139  
6/26/2012 6:48:53 AM


“Those tournaments are still killing fish”

Outdoor News June 22, 2012 by Tim Lesmeister>“All the fish died from delayed mortality.”

“I hate to see all those fish get wasted because competitive anglers and tournament organizers are too lazy, too cheap and too bone-headed to realize they are harming the resource by not taking the precautions required to keep the fish brought to the scales healthy.

… the events are still killing all the fish and claiming they are being released.

In conversations with tournament organizers I always get the same response when I question them on their inability to see that their program is causing a tremendous amount of delayed mortality.

They get extremely defensive and often belligerent when questioned about their program. Which leads me to believe they just don’t care about the resource.

They question the science.

They question my motives saying I’m nothing but a shill for The Oxygenator system.

This is not an uncommon occurrence. It’s a shame what they’re [bass tournaments] doing to the resource.”

All of this sounds so familiar. Lesmeister is not shy, he’s direct and to-the-point about tournament bass kills this summer which is a real problem. Factual information and opinions like this are seldom published, political correctness and all that jazz.

By the way, today 6-26-2012 Lake Minnetonka, MN water temperature is only 72 F which they say is largemouth bass prime water temperature range and air temperature is 63 F:
I bet the water temperature in Texas Lakes is in the high 80’s F to mid 90’s F in South Texas lakes today.

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   I agree with the causation from Buzz  6/26/2012 8:57:35 AM
Plastic bag weigh-ins have no place in today's tournaments, esp. during summer months. When Ray Scott first got the idea of C/R clubs and tourney's quickly went to wash tubs and plastic bags. But we know so much more now and have many alternatives. Time to move the needle ahead and into the this Century.

   Now this could be a good one from Hoot  6/26/2012 9:03:15 AM
as things have quieted down on the BASS vs The Wisconsin DNR Thread. This is a real problem and one the is often met with a barrage of denial and scenarios that can justify about anything that happens as a result of a Tournament.

If it gets more difficult to get Bass Tournament Permits in the state of Minnesota in the future don't blame the Minnesota DNR.

   My thoughts from Skipper  6/26/2012 9:44:12 AM
1. First and foremost if the DNR is doing their jobs and the creel limits and length limits are set right then it really shouldn't matter. Fishermen should be able to take that number of legally caught fish and kill 100% of them and it not hurt a thing. It just 10% survive, then I can't see how that's anything but a benefit.

2. Most of the time these tifts are brought up by 1 of 2 groups. Animal Rights activists or meat fishermen. If I'm releasing my bass and you are putting yours in the skillet, leave me alone. If you are an animal rights activist well I really don't care.

3. Our club went to a catch and release immediately format over 8 years ago and it's worked for us ever since. World Championship Fishing or whatever they call that has come up with a catch and release system on the pro level. My thought is that is something that is worth looking into for all tournaments somehow. I don't see why BASS and the FLW couldn't adopt it. It would likely be different for local tournaments due to costs but for the pros it shouldn't be a big deal at all.

4. The people in the Northern tier of states understand tournament bass fishing about like the people in New York City understand Nascar Racing. Their fisheries are much different. Unlike ours from Kentucky south theirs can not sustain the amount of pressure we put on our lakes and continue to produce. They have a shorter growing season, shorter spawn, and less fish in general. However, people in those states generally are meat fishermen. They do not understand catch and release and never will. They fish with live bait almost exclusively. They don't understand artificial only, culling, or anything else about competitive bass fishing.

I think for TV ratings and expansion of the enterprise BASS and FLW like Nascar is trying to force feed something on people that don't want to eat it in the first place. It's obviously not working.

   what a crock from Beartrap   6/26/2012 9:49:10 AM
and yes that guy is a shill for some sort of oxygen system....
no doubt that few fish are killed as result of tournaments but the overwhelming evidence is that touraments have been going for over 40 years and good lakes are producing as many or more fish than they ever have....
and evidence is pointing more and more toward lack of harvesting fish is a lot bigger problem than the tiny fraction of the population killed by tournaments....
a far bigger problem facing us is habitat(grass) being killed by chemicals and grass carp to please lakeside home owners....and I fault our DNR for not taking a stand against it....

   BT nailed it again from Jeff Hahn  6/26/2012 10:11:07 AM
BT said "...a far bigger problem facing us is habitat(grass) being killed by chemicals and grass carp to please lakeside home owners....and I fault our DNR for not taking a stand against it."

Habitat destruction in the form of killing weeds is, by far, a more serious threat to a fishery than any bass tournament kills. That's not to say we should do all we can to release our fish in as good of a condition as we can. But, compared to tournament fishermen, lakeside property owners harm the fishery significantly more when they demand destruction of weed growth. As I said elsewhere, these same lakeside property owners would be up in arms if the DNR clear-cut the forests, yet they see no harm in destroying fish habitat.

Jeff Hahn

   Rationaliztions from Buzz  6/26/2012 10:37:30 AM
Sure, we can always rationalize anything by pointing out a greater good or harm. So what? The topic is about holding up to eight large bass in a plastic bag with less then 1-2 gallons of water for an extended period of time (5-15 minutes).

And sure we can legal kill X number of fish. so what? The issue is C/R not catch and kill.

Yes, it's all about habitat, this however in my thinking doesn't mean we can scoff at everything else that doesn't do as much harm. Paper tournaments, water weigh-ins, bag aeration are all with-in even the smallest events ability.

   from an outside veiw from MikeF  6/26/2012 11:43:49 AM
The BIGGEST issue is perception. Bass do die and the number killed by tournaments is probably in an acceptable level. What these T's have to do is stop dumping dead and dying fish back in these lakes. It doesn't matter if nobody wants to be an evil fisherman and eat LMB's but someone should at least put the dead fish in the trash. Or take a boat ride an hour after the weigh-in and pick up the floaters.

   We have been thru this before..... IT IS SPAM!! from Hutch #10968 #10968  6/26/2012 11:46:53 AM
This is a posting by someone associated with an oxygenator system...... I should have kept the url to the link where the units were being supposedly being sold by the Texas Wildlife Department.........AND IT APPEARS NOW BECAUSE OF THE INCIDENT IN MD...... Hutch

   Buzz-I'm gonna type this real slow for you from Beartrap   6/26/2012 11:47:33 AM
and evidence is pointing more and more toward lack of harvesting fish is a lot bigger problem than the tiny fraction of the population killed by tournaments....

fish are a renewable resource....we are not talking about small lakes or ponds....every year in our larger reservoirs,thousands,probably millions of fish are hatched...far more than the reservoir can support.....far more fish die everyday from from natural causes than are ever killed by tournaments....
this agonizing over a tiny fraction of the fish population being killed makes no sense whatsoever....

   Beartrap from Buzz  6/26/2012 12:31:38 PM
Thanks for typing so slowly, I'm part Norwegian so it helps. Sure many studies are showing that selective harvest is needed in some watersheds. Mostly it's a need to harvest smaller fish. But your still bringing up unrelated issues which seem like attempts to minimize the point of the issue.

When folks see us holding bags of fish for 5-15 minutes, it isn't rocket science to assume that maybe it's not in their best interest. You can point to as many other fisheries management issues as you want, but would this be something you would commonly due yourself? Our would you have somebodies head for doing it?

I'm thinking your the kind of guy that if you saw someone running a bad weigh-in, you just might comment.

   The big thing a lot of people can't comprehend is from Skipper  6/26/2012 1:07:57 PM
Mother Nature is a bitch.

Things happen to fish it's that simple. As eggs fish start out from 1 sow in the thousands and by the time they get to adulthood there's probably not 2 or 3 of those thousands left. That's just the way it is.

People cry over a dead deer fawn. It may have been a big deal to that fawn but deer in this country are generally over populated. Does can have 1 to 4 fawns with 2 being pretty common. Right now in Kentucky we probably have close to a million deer. If you figure 60% are does we could theoretically be adding 1.2 million deer to the population in a year. If they weren't hunted, eat by coyotes, drowned in streams, chopped up in farm machines, ran over by vehicles, or died by natural selection we'd very quickly be over ran with deer.

We have more bass in most waters today (particularly in the Southeast where tournaments are prevalent) than at any time in my lifetime. I can remember bigger fish maybe but numbers today far exceed that of years past. If you drop back to the 50's and 60's when a lot of these impoundments were new it's probably different, however, today we are looking at bodies of water that are 40 and 50 years old. They aren't as fertile as they were, stumps and timber have rotted out, grass is being eradicated by water management to appease non-fishermen. These lakes do not have the capacity to support the numbers they could have in the past and Trap is right, like deer that time to time have a disease go through an area and kill off a bunch of them, in some cases that is happening with fish because there are too many.

   Bass T Mortality from BassBrain  6/26/2012 1:43:10 PM
Does anyone have any current scientific data on the subject??? It gets my blood boiling for a BASS sanctioned Elite event to allow bass over five pounds to be grabbed and waved around by their lower jaw when their magazine published an article warning about doing so!!! It is an established fact that warm weather T's are more prone to killing bass, therefore at these times larger bass must be released immediately to ensure their survival. The T directors should receive citations for every "floater" found subsequent to their events for "wanton waste" of game fish!

   Why not just donate from DaveT  6/26/2012 2:13:13 PM
the dead, or dying fish to a food bank. Or like Mike said, at least pick them up, so the tree huggers can't see them.

   Turtles gotta eat too from Harumph #11038 #11038  6/26/2012 3:35:17 PM
Just sayin...

Opps, "just sayin" might be a board foul.

   Dave has it from Gene  6/26/2012 3:49:59 PM
the dead may not hurt the lake much, but some groups may get too excited when they see them.

   The water from BCB #10868  6/27/2012 2:58:41 AM
The water in the Bayis not warm, nearing 65 degrees now and there is limited delayed mortality at these temperatures. We have done delayed mortality tests, with cooperation of fisheries, and the results were much better than expected until temps climbed. We could not release the fish to a natural environment as they were penned for observation.

Fish in the suspension pens at higher temps are not realistic as they could not seek the most preferred water column. One where temps, oxygen and other issues were higher quality.

   Why is it..... from Begafish  6/28/2012 6:11:53 AM
Why is it always the person that starts these post never post there names, I think they want to just cause trouble....I know of no law says we can't keep all tournament fish and have a fish fry. No thats not what I do and not what I want...But the amount that is turned loose is a plus, and we all try to save them the best we can...period...James Clark

   So from what has been posted on here there is no need from Hoot  6/28/2012 9:36:19 AM
to even consider trying to improve any of the weigh in and fish handling procedures at smaller tournaments as post release fish, mortality is perfectly acceptable?

I am amazed at the rationalizations and justifications on this thread thought maybe we had moved beyond this mindset and were a little more concerned about fish care.

There are too many bad situations out there being reported that get way too much publicity that isn't good PR for tournament fishing. Mike F said it pretty good if you are going to kill fish at least clean up the mess or enjoy a meal..

Buzz has paid his dues as a past conservation director for the federation in the state of Minnesota and never ever took his duties lightly. He has had to deal with the legislature, the DNR on issues that were frustrating and time consuming and they'd be the first to tell you he is a watch dog and calls them out on a regular basis. He's not pulling information out of thin air when discussing weigh in procedures and fish crammed into a weigh in bad with limited oxygen available. Buzz has walked the walk and sure doesn't need to hear anything spoken real slowly.

   Fish health from Ralph Manns  6/28/2012 2:31:37 PM
It seems a lot of "other Topics" posters don't include fish health, and fishery health, as part of their bass sport appreciation.

A fish biologist or sportsman-angler who doesn't appreciate the value of the fish themselves isn't worthy of the title.

   Ralph let us hear your opinion on the WI DNR from Hutch #10968 #10968  6/28/2012 3:55:13 PM
as you seem to be able to slide in little snippets of your obvious opinion when you can disguise it as "I love the fish" rhetoric.... I personally feel you would be very happy working for that crew..... and One more question..... Who does more to help/hurt a fishery and the people who use that fishery and make a living off that fishery .....(1) the fisherman who work tirelessly to provide habitat for the fish and make every effort to keep fish alive.....or ONE corrupt DNR department....... ?? Bet I already know the answer..... Hutch

   Hutch et al. from Ralph Manns  6/29/2012 2:40:55 PM
Getting into such arguments has always been lose-lose on this page: too many one-sided opinions for serious interactive discussion, IMHO.

Given that I don't have enough biological info/data and details about the WI DNR's decision, I tend to think they over-emphasize the threat of tournament fishing.

That said, many bass tournament supporters fail to acknowledge the adverse impacts of tournaments that are now a more serious percentage of total bass loses due to the widespread practice of C&R. In some states like TX, over 50% of all bass mortality is related to tournament angling. True, the mortality is still fairly low, but it does show that many tournament anglers still do not use optimal livewell and fish handling procedures.

Yes, B.A.S.S. Elite anglers likely use optimal livewell procedures and minimize delayed mortality. But they still overtly bounce bass on their decks, a clear disregard for the long-term health of the bass and their slime layer protection. They also will fish deep for maximum catch, and cull baro-stressed bass, because the lure of prize money is greater than concern for fish health. Smallmouth, particularly those in northern waters are more likely to be deeper than 20" and suffer sever barotrauma due to angling and culling.

I suspect, without further evidence, that WI DNR is more worried about follow-on tournaments and the loss of control down the line than they are/were about the B.A.S.S. event. A lot of other tournament groups that do not use optimal procedures would claim the door was now open if B.A.S.S. was given full rein. This is not a single event issue.

If you doubt my assertion that many tournament anglers, clubs, etc. don't emphasize optimal procedures, note that most small clubs and groups that know and trust their members, still insist on weigh-ins, even when valid fishing-for-inches procedures clearly improve survival of caught bass. Tournament anglers have a long way to go before they truly demonstrate concern for the resource.

No, I don't expect many Other Fishing Topics readers to fully agree. I just think it is important to have the big picture of both sides of any argument. And no, I don't agree with PETA or hate tournaments despite the likely rebuttals and accusations.

I fished and enjoyed tournaments for many years while a younger and more energetic angler. But my last clubs fished-for-inches out of real concern for fish health. I wasn't the only biologist in the membership. We also allowed slime-protective net use rather than bounce bass off our decks in haste.

   A history lesson from Ralph Manns  7/2/2012 11:42:17 PM
As no one has apparently even returned to this thread, this post is merely a clarification for historical purposes. I have a better answer about the thinking behind my observations in the above post. this is a repeat of a post made many years ago on these same pages.

The following lengthy post is offered because I’ve found so few of you actually read articles about and understand fisheries management or science, even though you care enough to complain if rules threaten your mode of fishing.

Regarding angler's right to kill bass. The right continues to exist, but it is important that bassing enthusiasts understand why it still exists.

Historically, the bass fisheries of the entire United States were seriously fished down under nation-wide liberal catch-and-keep harvest regulations. By the early 1970s. Bass anglers had to travel to the newest reservoirs to find good bass angling. In those days and still, B.A.S.S. only went to the largest and best waters, because catches were so meager at most other waters. In Texas, one of the better bassing states, bass clubs had to go to the largest and most isolated reservoirs like TB. Amistad, Falcon, etc, to make great catches. On local waters, catching a half-limit (5 of the then permitted 10) of 12-13-inch bass would place and occasionally win a small contest.

In Florida, famous in the 1960s for 8-10 pound lunkers, guides were run out of business and could no longer produce lunkers for clients in the 1970s. Florida bassing laterally started to “suck.”

The waters were fished-down. Only us old-timers apparently remember this sequence of events. Modern bassers apparently don’t know or understand why they have decent bassing now as they haven’t lived through the era of bad bassing caused by over-harvest.

Although preliminary research identified the over-harvest problem in the 1960s, fisheries managers finally recognized the over-harvest problem in the late 1970s. They started slapping five bass limits on most bassing waters and experimented with special, more restrictive limits. Bassing improved under the 5-fish limits but didn’t improve much. The special limits that reduced catches to three or even fewer keepers and slots worked much better at sustaining bassing quality, but tournament anglers objected. They believe it takes more than one or two bass to really determine who’s best. Most fisheries managers weren’t able or willing to fight with the organized bassing crowd and 5-fish limits remain the norm.

Fisheries managers had another option and they used it in the 1980s. Sell C&R with the help of tournament groups. As tournaments like the B.A.S.S. tours released fish, more and more anglers got the message. Fish in the water are the source of good fishing. Bass in the pan are not. Killing the big ones, in particular, has an immediate fishing-down effect on bass fisheries.

As more and more skilled anglers successfully practiced C&R on non-tournament days, the impact of catch-and-kill was significantly reduced. In combination with the five bass limits on many larger reservoirs, C&R actually built up bass populations and now sustains reasonable fishing quality. What’s more, an increasing the number of local, non-tournament waters now at least provide decent, if not great, bassing due to C&R.

But, with C&R in effect, catch data now show at an every increasing number of reservoirs where the tournament catch is becoming an ever larger and more significant portion of total mortality. Thus, if manager want to sustain existing levels of bass fishing quality, they must find ways to keep tournament mortality from increasing. Thus the recent emphasis on how to increase tournament fish survival.

Yes, it is still legal to kill catches, and in fact biologist often want bass anglers to kill more small 10–14 inch bass than most anglers are now willing to do. Too many bass angler's think erroneously that tossing back small fish is practicing C&R. Actually, only the releases of the rarer and larger fish is valid C&R in both the eyes of true sportsmen and biologists.

If every tournament killed its total catch, it would likely result in a rapid and significant decline in many frequently fished tournament waters. History has shown it very easy to fish-down bass populations by removing the largest fish. Tournament kills via delayed mortality potentially kill too many of the larger most valuable fish.

If you like catching 16-20 inch bass occasionally in contests, you can thank C&R, tournament live releases that worked, and restrictive limit regulations. It funny, almost too ironic, that the anglers who most want 5-bass limits on their tournament lakes are often the first to do their private fishing on the special limit lakes where the “best” local bassing often is found. Otherwise they must drive across the north to the Great lakes area, across Texas to Fork, Fayette County, TB, Rayburn, Falcon, or Amistad or down to selected waters in southern Florida , and then fish only in the right weeks in spring.

The attitude that killing tournament bass is really acceptable is potentially destructive to bass anglers'rs own self-interests. We know how to better handle and release bass and build truly effective, well oxygenated livewells. The information is available, but it is not used by all concerned. The need to actually practice improved fish handling and livewell procedures is real and not to be discounted by casually claiming mortality is acceptable because harvest is legal.

The need to stop killing bass in LMBV waters during mid-summer is also very real. It is the quality of your bass fishing that is at stake and continuance of the tournament sport itself. If you continue to argue as you have and go on as usual, state agencies will be forced to step in and tournaments will become a rigidly controlled event. Self-correction has always been the best path to take. So stop resisting and start doing.



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