How to Keep Fish Alive During a Tournament

How to Keep Fish Alive During a Tournament
Expert and advanced fishermen like to try their hand on the tournament scene. These tournaments award points based on the number of fish caught, the weight of the fish and the biggest fish. Beginners may not realize that they lose points for certain things, including any dead fish in their basket or bucket. If you want to score big, you need to keep fish alive during a tournament.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Cooler
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Circle hooks
  • Black bag
  • Salt
Step 1
Prepare a cooler before the tournament starts, preferably an hour or less before the beginning. Fill the cooler halfway with water and then add a few handfuls of ice. As the day heats up and the ice melts, it will keep the water cold and mimic the temperature of the lake water. This also prevents the fish from feeling stressed after moving into a new environment.
Step 2
Cast your lines with circle hooks or another type of small hook. Larger hooks stick in different parts of the fish and are harder to remove than circle hooks. The larger hooks may also cause the fish to die by puncturing their internal organs. Circle hooks attach to fish's mouth and slide out easily.
Step 3
Catch your fish in a black bag rather than a net with large holes or a clear bag like tournament fishermen sometimes use. The fish know they're being moved from the water because of the view. Darker bags help the fish stay calm, which in turn keeps the fish alive. Use the same type of bag when it comes to moving the fish from the cooler to the scale for weigh-in.
Step 4
Add salt to your cooler every half-hour that you're fishing. The salt helps keep the ice in chunks longer and also helps maintain the balance of electrolytes in the fish. This keeps the fish calm, stable and content, which also helps them stay alive longer.
Step 5
Get the fish from the water to the cooler as soon as possible and reduce the amount of time you handle the fish. The more you handle the fish, the more you cause stress on the fish, which may cause them to die.

Tips & Warnings

Try using a recirculating aerator, which removes any impurities from the water by pumping fresh water in and keeps your fish alive longer during the tournament.

Article Written By Jennifer Eblin

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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