I am sure many are wondering…what is with the title of this post? This blog post is a little bit of a rant at bass anglers who don’t fizz their fish. Yes, the bass anglers who invest thousands of dollars annually for the chance to be the best in any tournament they enter. Many are still nervous or uncertain to stick a needle into the side of a fish if needed. Most of uncertain bass anglers have no issues filleting a Walleye or Yellow Perch. Still, they are not sure how or down right squeamish to stick a tiny needle into the side of a Bass.
I just wanted to share a recent experience this past weekend at one of our recent events. The Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation held their annual National Contender Fundraiser this past weekend on Lake Erie/Niagara River. The 2017 National Contender Fundraiser Tournament consisted of 38 teams from across Ontario. Funds raised from this event are used to fund our National Contenders as they travel to compete in the B.A.S.S. National Tournament each year.
All good stuff right? Mostly. The inability for some anglers to fizz their fish is frustrating. I am not going to say that the use of manual deflation device (aka. a needle) to treat an over-inflated air bladder is simple to those who have not done it. However, if anglers fail to treat barotrauma the chance of releasing a fish successfully is significantly reduced! There are so many bass anglers who know how to fizz these days. It is becoming common practice for the majority of the anglers. However, this is not enough. It needs to be EVERY bass angler who chooses to compete in bass tournaments. Every bass angler must learn to diagnose and treat barotrauma if they wish to participate in live release tournaments.
I get it, barotrauma treatment through mechanical deflation of the air bladder (aka FIZZING) is not for everyone. It is an invasive procedure that if done incorrectly can cause damage to a fish. However, the stress associated with barotrauma to an untreated bass can be much more devastating. It makes me sad to see large Smallmouth Bass that are stressed because of barotrauma. All because anglers are unsure of the symptoms or unsure of what to do.
Over the next few months I will preparing more helpful posts about Tournament Fish Care and information that can be helpful for Anglers and Tournament Organizers alike.
In closing I wanted to share this video from this past summer. This was shot by BASS Elite Angler John Crews with my good friend Barb Elliot. Barb Elliot is the Conservation Director for the New York BASS Nation. “Miss Barb”, as many refer to her, is amazing at Fish Care and has a real passion for fishing. The video below is a great example of Barb giving a fizzing lesson to John. This video has been viewed over 150,000 times and still getting views. Please note Barb’s comments about the fish she is treating. She mentions the fish is ‘stressed’. The stress she is referring to is that the fish has required treatment but was not provided treatment at the appropriate time.