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Entries in bass tournaments (21)


Bass Fisherman Brings Clean Water, Life to Thousands

Three hundred thousand people in Africa now have clean water, thanks to Global Water Partners, which bass fisherman Bruce Whitmire founded in 2009. Since 1996, he's helped drill wells that supply clean water for 12 million.

Think about that.

"Every one of us had a gift that makes the picture complete," he says. "This is where I fit--- lovin' on people and helping them have a better life."

He uses bass tournaments to help solicit support for GWP and spread the word that an estimated 2 billion people still lack access to clean water.

"When parents send their children out to a mud hole to bring home water, that water is supposed to bring life. But what it brings is death and disease," says the Texas angler. "They need clean water for life and health."

Read Whitmire's inspiring story here.


Hot-water Stress a Killer for Big Fish, Whether Sharks or Bass

The great hammerhead shark is a magnificent animal. It's also one of 24 shark species illegal to harvest in Florida waters, up to 9 miles off the coast.

Sadly,  four of them washed up on Sarasota beaches in late June and July, according to the Bradenton Herald.

What happened to them? Most likely, they were caught and released, but didn't survive the trauma of the fight and handling.

"This particular species of hammerhead is just so fragile that they go into physiological stress," said Robert Hueter, director of shark research at Mote Marine Laboratory.

One of those stressors during this time of year is the temperature.

Whether shark, catfish, or bass, a fish's metabolism  speeds up in warm water because it is cold-blooded. That means it burns more energy and, as a consequence, must consume  more food to fuel sustain itself. It also means that its oxygen needs are intensified. But . . .

"The hotter the water is, the less oxygen it can hold," Hueter said.

Now factor in the energy and oxygen expended in a struggle to escape once hooked,  and fish die, especially larger fish, which simply cannot recover no matter how carefully they are handled once they are brought to the shore or boat. In essence, they die of exhaustion, unable to gain the oxygen they need to recover.

That's why delayed mortality increases for bass tournaments during summer. And that's why those great hammerheads did not survive.

This dead great hammerhead was hauled back out to sea after recently washing up on a Sarasota beach.Hueter added that hammerheads  likely are especially vulnerable because their mouths are so small in comparison to their bodies.

 “As soon as it’s obvious that it is a hammerhead, the better thing to do would be just to cut the line or cut the leader, get as close as you can to the animal without spending a lot of time pulling it in,” he said. “Cut it and let it go.”

Dragging a shark, or any other large fish, such as a Goliath grouper, onto shore always is stressful for the animal, but especially so during summer. Meanwhile, inshore and beach fishing for sharks is more popular than ever.

"We're seeing more (sharks) than we've seen before washing up on beaches," Hueter said.

The fish is much more likely to survive if kept in shallow water for dehooking and photos.

In addition to hammerheads, bull and black tip sharks also are especially vulnerable to stress. At the other extreme, nurse and lemon sharks are among the hardiest.

Here are some handling tips to help ensure survival. They apply specifically to sharks, but are good tips for handling big fish of many species when caught on bait.

  • Use heavy tackle and non-stainless circle hooks
  • Use a dehooker
  • Cut the leader or line quickly, leaving as little as possible attached to the hook
  • Do not bring sharks out of water
  • Leave shark in enough water so that it can breathe through its mouth and gills
  • Shoot photos in process of releasing



Secrets That You Should Know About 'The Bite'--- Part 2

These are but a few of the secrets in "The Bite" from Better Bass Fishing: Secrets From the Headwaters by a Bassmaster Senior Writer. Here's a link to the book at Barnes & Noble. Amazon also carries it, but often is sold out.

Secret: Bass, as with all other predators, will feed on the largest available prey that requires the least amount of energy to catch and subdue. At least that’s what many resource managers believe, and they call this idea the “optimum foraging theory.”

            But don’t be misled and believe that this means you always should throw big baits and retrieve them as slowly as possible if you want to catch large bass. You might see your magnum crankbait or 1-ounce spinnerbait as just what the big fish should want. But what you should be paying attention to is what the bass actually are feeding on. That’s what they see as the best bang for their buck in terms of least amount of work for the best meal.

            Slowing down your retrieve, however, almost always is a good idea if the bite is slow, especially if you’re throwing a topwater or spinnerbait. 

Secret: One of the most important discoveries that we’ve made from bass tournaments is that fish always can be caught somewhere, some way in a lake or river, even under the worst of conditions. In other words, the fact that you aren’t catching them doesn’t mean that no one else is either. Don’t stick with a pattern or place too long if you aren’t getting bites, especially if you are fishing a tournament and are limited by time.

 Secret: While you can catch bass year around, you will not, on average, boat as many bass in cold water as you do in warm.  That’s because bass are cold-blooded. At 39 degrees Fahrenheit, a bass’ metabolism and digestion falls to only 20 percent and 10 percent of what it was at 64 degrees.

Secret: Some bass are more difficult to catch than others. Researchers have proven that in their quest to develop strains of bass that are easier to catch for stocking in urban fisheries. In small ponds, they kept track of how many times each bass was caught and then bred together those most easily fooled. Offspring of those fish also proved easy to catch, suggesting that genetics play a role in whether a bass falls for an artificial.

More "secrets" about the bite upcoming at Activist Angler.

Check out all my books at Amazon.


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).


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.