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Entries in bass tournaments (18)

Sunday
Feb142016

New, Simplified Black Bass Regulations Set for Florida

New Florida regs. could help yield more large bass like this Okeechobee largemouth for anglers to enjoy.

Effective July 1, anglers fishing Florida waters statewide can keep smaller, more abundant largemouth bass, with the creel limit remaining at five and one fish of 16 inches or longer allowed.  Additionally, many specific rules for different water bodies will be eliminated, according to changes approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“The intent is to simplify existing rules and increase abundance of larger bass statewide,” said Tom Champeau, director of the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management.

The new rules will eliminate the three zones that currently regulate bass harvest along with 42 site-specific regulations for largemouth bass. This simplification has been a long-standing desire of anglers and resource managers.

For Suwannee, shoal, Choctaw and spotted basses, the current 12-inch minimum size limit will remain in effect, but there will be no minimum length limit on largemouth bass. In addition, the proposed changes include a catch-and-release-only zone for shoal bass in the Chipola River.

Anglers are practicing voluntary catch-and-release at record levels, report biologists. While reduced harvest of large bass is beneficial, allowing more bass under 16 inches to be kept may improve some fisheries by reducing competition so other individuals grow faster and larger.

The existing bass tournament permit program will continue to allow anglers participating in permitted tournaments temporary possession of five bass of any size. This successful program has been in place for more than 20 years and allows delayed-release bass tournaments to remain viable, but requires proper care, handling and release of all bass caught during the tournament (even those that could otherwise be legally harvested).

Friday
Dec112015

Texas Considers Lowering Size Limit for Coastal Largemouth Bass

Texas likely will lower the size limit on bass from 14 to 12 inches in the southeastern bayous of Orange and Jefferson counties. Final decision will be based on recommendation by Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPW), as well as on online angler survey.

The agency decided to look into the possibility after State Rep. Dade Phelan introduced a bill that would lower the limit for high school and college tournaments, with the hope of bringing more bass fishing--- and business--- to southeast Texas.

Phelan said that he decided not to push for immediate passage after TWP asked for time to study the waters of the lower Sabine and Neches rivers, as well as the Taylor/Big Hill/Hillebrandt Bayou System. "We knew that the data was going to back up what we said all along," he said.

What Phelan and a growing number who fished tournaments in these brackish waters had been saying was that 14-inch bass are scarce. And an electrofishing survey seems to have confirmed that. Of the more than 600 bass collected, fewer than 7 percent were 14 inches.

"Current data indicate that largemouth bass in these three systems are relatively abundant, but have slow growth and high mortality rates," TPW said. "On average, largemouth bass reach 14 inches at 3.9 years. For reference, largemouth bass at Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend reservoirs reach 14 inches at approximately 2.5 years."

Slow growth and high mortality mostly are the result of variable salinity and the absence of quality forage, it added.

"TWPD could manage the largemouth bass populations using various regulations to provide fishing opportunities on what anglers prefer," the agency said. "Less restrictive regulations could be implemented to increase harvest opportunities and fish available for tournament weigh-ins."

If the size limit is reduced, it will apply to all anglers, not just those fishing high school and college tournaments.

 

Monday
Nov232015

Thank You, B.A.S.S.

Back in November 1985, the new editor of Bassmaster Magazine, Dave Precht, asked a high school English/journalism teacher to be Senior/Writer Conservation for B.A.S.S. Publications. Thirty years later, I'm proud to say that I remain the first and only conservation writer in the company's history. Most of my articles in the early days appeared in Bassmaster. Today, they're mostly in B.A.S.S. Times or at Bassmaster.com.

B.A.S.S. is a wonderful organization, staffed with remarkable people, and I'm so blessed to be a part of that. As such, I know that anglers, fisheries, and the fishing industry all have benefitted from its existence, often in ways that outsiders can't imagine. I reveal what this company founded by Ray Scott has done for sport fishing in "The B.A.S.S. Factor," an essay in Why We Fish: Reel Wisdom From Real Fishermen.

Here's an excerpt:

In 1970, B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott gained national attention by filing lawsuits against more than 200 polluters and creating Anglers for Clean Water (ACW), a non-profit conservation arm. One of ACW’s most important contributions for more than a decade was Living Waters, an annual environmental supplement dealing with fishery and water quality issues nationwide.

In 1972, Scott initiated catch-and-release at bass tournaments. Conservation-minded trout anglers had been releasing their fish for decades before that, but it was Scott and B.A.S.S. who generated mass acceptance.

“B.A.S.S. has inspired a lot of young fishermen,” Bill Dance said. “I see it all the time in the mail that I get.

“One little boy talked about catching his first big bass and how good it felt to release that fish. Years ago, that little boy never would have released that fish.”

 Earl Bentz of Triton Boats added that the practice of releasing tournament-caught fish has had a massive ripple effect in salt water. “I remember when they would weigh in blue marlin and throw them n the dump,” he said. “Now most of the tournaments are live-release tournaments, and it all began after B.A.S.S. started promoting catch-and-release.”

Monday
Oct122015

Minnesota Allows Culling for Mille Lacs Bass Tournaments

In hopes of attracting larger tournaments that will generate more  revenue for local economies, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) will allow culling of bass at Mille Lacs. It already is legal in other lakes around the state.

"This is one of the ways DNR is actively responding to the economic needs of the Mille Lacs Lake area," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "The change has potential economic benefits and will not hurt bass populations."

John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism, added, "Eliminating one of the hurdles to attracting more national bass fishing tournaments gives the Mille Lacs area another tool to draw national attention and help improve its economy."

The lake already is known nationally as one of the best bass fisheries, especially for smallmouths, with Bassmaster Magazine ranking it 10th in its top 100. But a regulation that forced competitors to keep their first six bass deterred tournament circuits, especially larger ones, from going there.

The rule restricting an angler to one bass of 18 inches or longer remains in effective. But now a tournament fisherman can cull smaller bass until he puts a limit in his livewell. Then he must stop fishing.

"A difference of only a few ounces often determines the winner of a bass tournament," MDNR said. "Having the ability to cull allows tournament anglers to keep the biggest fish that weigh the most."

Monday
Sep142015

Michigan Considers Opening Some Waters to Bass Tournaments During Spawn

With catch and release now allowed year around in most state waters, Michigan is considering opening 16 of its fisheries in the lower peninsula to bass tournaments during the spawn.

That means catch-and-delayed-release (CDR) would be permitted for registered tournaments from the last Saturday in April through the Saturday before Memorial Day.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources played host to public meetings about this and other proposed regulation changes during July. In addition, spokesman Nick Popoff said, "We will take input electronically as well for four or five months."

The proposed CDR fisheries would include Lake Charlevoix, Houghton Lake, Burt Lake, Mullett Lake, Hardy Dam Pond, White Lake, Muskegon Lake, Gull Lake, Gun Lake, Kent Lake, Portage Chain, Cass Lake, Half Moon Chain, Pontiac Lake, Wixom Lake, and Holloway Reservoir.

DNR said, "There is a limited biological uncertainty with liberalizing bass seasons. But, it added, "Most U.S. states allow bass fishing during the spawn without negative population impacts. Limiting the lakes will allow the DNR and public to gauge biological and social implications."

The agency also pointed out that local communities "could see economic boosts with more tournament activity."

Michigan had been considering allowing catch and release during the spawn for years, before initiating it this past April. The Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation was at the forefront of a campaign to make it happen.

 "Throughout that time, we had six test lakes, and did a lot of research to determine does CIR (catch-and-immediate-release) negatively affect spawning bass, versus CDR," Popoff said. "All of our research has shown there is no negative impact on spawning bass populations to target and catch those fish and immediately return them to the water."