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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering if some of you's could help me with this :D . I have heard different things about fishing for Bass in deep water as far as what to do to safely release them. one guy tells me that when you get the bass out of the water you need to deflate the bladder so that the fish does not die, other's tell me that they won't be deep enough that you will have to do that?, Which is it? and if so how do you safely deflate the Bladder? Or this this an urban Legend, thanks any input is appreciated...G
 

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I've heard if you know how to do it then it might help save it's life, but if you don't know don't do it. I think the best thing to do is to release it back to the water as fast as possible.
 

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Are you talking about fresh water bass (as in large mouth/small mouth) or black rock cod in salt water AKA sea bass? I've never caught a fresh water bass from water so deep that this was an issue. However for black rock cod (and indeed other rock cod like yellow tail), it's common that they are caught from depths > 40'. In such cases, deflating the swim bladder with a hypodermic needle is useful. Here's a web site - http://www.insideline.net/1999/sak-0102-99.html - that show the method for freshwater bass caught from deep water. Similar techniques apply to saltwater fish too.
 

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It is true that this time of year almost all Smallmouth need to be "fizzed" as I call it, although I have found that the best thing to do is release them as fast as possible. If a fish does need to be fizzed, it's pretty simple once you know what you're doing. I've fizzed a good number of fish this year for my first few tourney's and all but two have made it, and the two that didn't came from 50+ feet and after being pulled up so fast were pretty much done when the got to the surface. Typically most fish this time of year will need to be fizzed, since they are used to the pressure down at 30-40 feet after being in that depth all winter. The fall seems to be a different case however, since the fish are still moving up and down the water column daily. Hope this helps, do a google search for fizzing smallmouth and you'll find some instructions. I stock the needles at 3 Rivers if you need one, and I could show you how to do it there too.


-Jordan
 

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Some information for consideration.

Most of our fish have air bladders that serve as a "balancing" organ. By inflating that bladder with gases the fish can achieve neutral bouyancy. Those fish will those bladders can be divided in two groups - those with an "open" bladder and those with "closed" bladder.

Those with an "open" bladder can vent gases from their bladder via a small duct. Such bladders are found in active fish that often change depths quickly; such fish include our trout and salmon.

Those fish with a "closed" bladder must vent their bladders by the absorption the excess gases via the fish's blood system. Fish with such systems include our bass, rockfish, etc. Obviously relieving gas pressure in such systems is much slower than for those with a "open" system. The advantage of course is that for fish that are more closely associated with the structure they can more easily "hover" and do so with minimal energy expenditure.

The problem of course happens with a bass is subject to a sudden decreased pressure change causing the trapped gases in the bladder to expand. Interestly the air bladder is surround by reasonably strong tissues that allow fish to make sudden burst into shallower water chasing bait etc. If such "trips" are for short periods and the fish returns quickly to its usual depth the bladder does not expand. The rub is that if the fish experiences a de-pressurized situation for a longer period (a couple minutes) those tissues weaken and eventually tear allowing the bladder to expand causing internal damage to the fish.

A fish with an expanded bladder will have a difficult time getting back to depth and it can do so it may well be doomed. "Fizzing" the bladder (poking a hole in it with a needle) relieves the pressure allowing the fish to return to depth. The same result can be achieved mechanically - a common method is take a plastic milk crate, invert it and place the bass inside and lower the crate back to the appropriate depth and them pulling the crate back via a rope. That advantage of such a mechanical approach is that the angler is not doing additional physical damage to the fish (poking holes in internal organs).

Studies have found that when bass are subject to a pressure change equalivant to bring them from a depth of 30 or more feet one can expect to have mortalities. Clearly the longer the fish is held in a "de-pressure" situation the more likely it is that the bladder will expand causing internal damage. One of the disadvantages of "fizzing" is that it usually is not preformed until the bladder has expanded causing some damage.


The bottom line is that if one routinely catches bass in more than 30 feet of water you will be killing some fish. If fish are caught at those depths the quicker it is returned to the water and allowed the less likely excessive damage will be done. A fish whose bladder has not yet expanded or who is not so exhausted that it can not return to depths will be able to de-pressize itself by getting to the appropriate depth on its own. If the fish is kept in a live well the bladder will expand - you'll fish notice the fish swimming belly up in the live well. At that point the fish is doomed though relieveing the pressure (via "Fizzing"?) will give the fish a chance.

I encourage each angler to think about the impacts we are having on the resource and make angling choices based on your own thoughts on how one wishes to limit your impacts on the resource we are fishing for. In the case of bass, perch etc that experience problems with pressure changes unless I'm fishing for the table I opt to not fish for fish that are that deep (more than 30 feet). If I happen to catch fish that are moving from deeper water (for example dashing into shallower water to grab my bait) I quickly release those fish never placing the fish in the live well or taking pictures - time is critical in gettng the fish back to depth in its survival. I just prefer delaying my bass fishing until I can be reasonably certain that the released fish will survive be available another day.

However such choices are a matter of individual angler ethics.

Tight lines
Curt
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Guys, that is some very helpful info I will need to remember when fishing Bass this early, I have not yet but want to be fully educated for when I do so the mortality rate is a lot less, you Guys Rock Tup:
 

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Seems to me it is a bit unethical to have any fish die wastefully if it can be avoided. In this case it can be avoided by simply not fishing for them at this time of year, or if you do, keep your catch for the pan. IMHO. :mrgreen:

Are there any studies on the mortality associated with 'fizzing' winter bass?

I guess i just don't buy the fact that sticking a needle in a fish is not harmful in and of itsself (wouldn't it introduce a great pathway for bacteria and parasites to enter an already weakened fish?) How can the swimbladder repair itsself from the needle hole? I suspect 'fizzing' is just a feel good way to justify catch and release on winter bass Again, MHO.
 

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Lk WA fisher said:
Seems to me it is a bit unethical to have any fish die wastefully if it can be avoided. In this case it can be avoided by simply not fishing for them at this time of year, or if you do, keep your catch for the pan. IMHO. :mrgreen:

Are there any studies on the mortality associated with 'fizzing' winter bass?

I guess i just don't buy the fact that sticking a needle in a fish is not harmful in and of itsself (wouldn't it introduce a great pathway for bacteria and parasites to enter an already weakened fish?) How can the swimbladder repair itsself from the needle hole? I suspect 'fizzing' is just a feel good way to justify catch and release on winter bass Again, MHO.
I knew ther would be one person to turn this into a debate, how about you do your thing and I will do mine, besides what is wrong with being educated? as for your questions, if you actually read any of the links provided you would know the answers Tdown:
 

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?????

I see a link to a site that shows how to 'fizz' bass, but if YOU read my post I was asking if there is any SCIENTIFIC in other words, independant/non-biased data/studies into the effectiveness of this practice. In otherwords, an unbiased, factual study on whether or not this does anything to help winter caught fish. I don't believe the Gary Yamamoto article is unbiased since their motive is to sell bass fishing tackle all year long (Nothing wrong with that mind you). Nothing wrong with being edumakated....as I'm trying to be on this issue and I'll gladly change my mind if someone can show me real EVIDENCE that fizzing works. Sorry, asking questions is in my nature and part of the scientific process. (and questioning is also the foundation of real EDUCATION.)

I just think that this catch and release all bass culture is just as bad as the catch and kill all bass culture. Both are too extreme and are unhealthy for the fishery. A WDFW bio told me that excessive C&R is the biggest problem facing our EWA bass & walleye fisheries. Why do you think the state raised the smally limit?

Go ahead and do what you want to do, but I think you're kidding yourselves if you think fizzing does anything but allow the fish to die out of sight. Out of sight out of mind i guess.
 

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It's realative to location. In San Diego the LMB routinely suspend at 50-60 ft. near shad schools thru the winter months. Those fish are vulnerable to a jigging spoon & blow up about 1/2 way up. Those fish need to be fizzed with a hypo needle before release.
 
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