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| Introduction | Equipment Prep & Cameras | Scales & Certification | Misc. Equipment | Livewells & Stringers | Fish Handling | Deep Caught Bass | Reviving & Conclusion |

Livewells:  If you plan on storing your bass in a livewell, consider the following fact:  A truly large bass may measure as long as 32”.  Your livewell should accordingly have a minimum length greater than or equal to the length of the bass in it.  Most bass boat livewells meet this criteria, but only with the divider out!  If you’re fishing from a jon boat, a 75 quart cooler is typically as small as you want to go.  A 100 quart cooler will fit any bass you’ll ever catch with ease (that is what I use in my 15’ jon).  If you’re fishing from a kickboat with an out of water livewell, getting something with a 30” or100qt cooler rigged as a bass livewell larger diagonal distance is ideal.  If in any of these scenarios you put a bass in your livewell and you see that the bass’ tail is bent, the clock is ticking and you need to either weight that bass yourself and release it on the spot or take it to the local marina and weigh it.  Continuing to fish with a bass curled up in your livewell is greedy and can very easily kill the fish. 

Stringers: For float tubing, often time your only option for transporting a fish is to put it on a stringer.  Let me offer some very specific advice on stringers.  First of all, get a long stringer, like 8 to 10 feet and get one that uses a heavy cord.  Second, if you are going to use metal clips to attach the bass’ lower jaw, get the strongest ones you can because bass will absolutely twist free from a standard metal trout stringer clip.  If you are really worried about a fish coming off a stringer, use two metal clips through the same hole or get a stringer with a metal spike and a ring on the other end.  Sharpen the spike and put that through the lower jaw of the bass and back through the metal ring. 

If you do stringer a fish, tie a knot with at least 6 wraps to your boat to keep it from unraveling, and stringer the fish for as little time as possible.  The only times I have ever stringered bass was to give myself time to kick to shore to take a photo when the shore was far away.  I’m talking 5 minutes max on the stringer.  The small hole in the bass’ lower jaw will heal quickly but dragging a bass around on a stringer for long periods of time will cause water to be forced down the bass’ throat into its stomach potentially killing the bass or causing its belly to become distended.  Just because a bass lives underwater doesn't mean that it's body is designed to swallow large quantities of H20.  If you are going somewhere with the fish (like to the marina because you caught the lake record) go very slowly allowing the bass to swim naturally behind you.  And please, use your best judgment when using a stringer.  If the bass exhibits any signs of distress, just take a pic of the bass in your hand or in your lap and release it, you will feel much better when you get home.

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Copyright © Robert Belloni 1997-2012. All Rights Reserved.
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