It is hot outside and getting hotter, depending on where you live in the country. Air temps are now reaching into the high 80s to 90s. That means the water is warming and it is going to be harder to keep fish alive in your livewell. Most tournaments either won’t allow dead fish or have a 1-pound penalty per dead fish, so it is imperative that you do what you can to keep them swimming.
Here are 7 tips to keep your catch alive this summer:
1. Pump in water early in the day. Once your livewell is at the level you want, don’t pump in hot surface water. After sun up, if you have a limit in your box, let it run constantly on recirculate. About halfway thru the day, pump out 1/4 to 1/3 of the water and add new water.
2. Add Ice. I will freeze 6-8 water bottles with tap water to put in my livewells during these hot summer months to cool the water and place less stress on the fish. I will try and put them in as needed and not all at once to try and keep the temperature down, but not too low as it will shock the fish as well. When the water has thawed out, I will remove the empty bottles. I don’t use bag ice as the smaller ice chips tend to melt very rapidly.
3. Add Bass Medics Rejuvenade. This product is not a gimmick and will absolutely help keep your fish alive. I will pour a cap full into each livewell. If a fish is bleeding or having trouble I will sprinkle some Rejuvenade directly into its mouth.
4. Lid Vents. If your boat doesn’t have a pro air system or other type of vent, install some lid vents to let out the C02 from the livewells. Or simply crack the lid every now and then to let some of the built up toxins vent out.
5. Get a good net. I use Frabil Conservation series nets exclusively that have a knotless design that won’t take the protective slime off your fish and resist hooks getting tangled in it as well.
6. Fizz deep-caught fish. Now that summer is here, that means deep offshore fishing. If you have fish that need fizzing due to an overinflated air bladder, they could die if you don’t deflate them. Fizz them out of the water, because if water gets in their air bladder, they will die soon.
7. Weigh in. When you are sacking up your catch, put plenty of water in your bag and try not to handle your fish until you are putting them on the scales. We set our thin bags down on 120-degree concrete or asphalt while we wait in line and this can really stress your fish you worked so hard for. I use a Frabil Mesh & Weigh in bag combo. It has the mesh bag that sits inside of the square bottom bag that can rest on the ground if need be and not tip over.
Well, there you have it. You have put a lot of time and money into the tournament, don’t let a dead fish cost you some cash because you were careless about how you handle your fish. We all know you will have an occasional fish die, whether it was hooked deep, in the gills or already sick. Sometimes fish die, period. But put the odds in you favor this summer.