We need to know more about how to properly handle bass, especially big bass. The following provides some compelling evidence.
On March 18, Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPW) posted this on its ShareLunker Facebook page:
“Three of this year’s five ShareLunkers have come in with broken jaws.Two have died. The other has been returned to the lake.The only explanation we have for the broken jaws is fish being held vertically by the lower jaw.
“Broken jaws can kill fish in two ways. An infection can start at the break and invade other organs. Or, the fish may not be able to feed and will starve.”
TPW offers good advice on how to properly handle these trophy fish, but we need to know more about how to properly handle bass of all sizes and then we need to spread the word. If you doubt that, just consider the many photos you see of anglers improperly holding bass horizontally by the lower jaw. Even much smaller fish can be hurt this way.
Want to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem? Don’t hold bass horizontally unless you place one hand under the belly to support its weight. And donate to this important research in Florida.
The main objective is to test whether different handling techniques influence the jaw function of Florida largemouth bass. “We hypothesize that improper handling could influence feeding effectiveness and jaw mechanics, as well as fish survival.”
Your support is needed to fund a scholarship through the Fisheries Conservation Foundation for a graduate student to conduct the experiment in the research lab at the Florida Bass Conservation Center near Webster, Florida. “Your support also will go towards travel expenses to the hatchery for the student and outreach materials so we can communicate our results to the bass angling community.”