Share This Page

Outdoors notebook: Big bass more susceptible than thought

| Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, 2:58 p.m.

Trophy largemouth bass get caught at a greater rate than people might expect, outlining the importance of catch-and-release fishing.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists earlier this year tagged 136 trophy largemouth bass weighing more than 8 pounds. The fish were released into 41 public lakes and rivers that varied in size, water quality, habitat, fish populations and amount of angler pressure they receive.

After six months, 21 percent of the fish had been caught and reported at least once. Anglers fishing in tournaments caught about one-fifth of those fish. About one-third were caught by anglers using live shiners as bait.

Eighty-three percent of the bass caught were released alive, though that was not a requirement. Seven bass weighing more than 10 pounds were caught, but just three were released, suggesting that anglers may be more inclined to keep the heaviest of fish.

Most of the anglers who kept a trophy bass said they did so to have it mounted rather than to eat it.

The Fish and Wildlife commission is continuing the study. Over the next five years, the agency will tag additional bass. Anglers who catch fish will be asked to cut off the tag and report the information.

The goal is to determine catch-and-release rates for trophy fish and angler participation.

Wash that dog

Boaters have been asked for years to clean their crafts, down to the trailer, to help stop the spread of invasive species. Anglers have been asked to clean their waders and lures.

Now hunters are being asked to clean their dogs.

The Minnesota-based conservation group Wildlife Forever received a $233,830 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to teach hunters how to prevent aquatic hitchhikers. The campaign will teach hunters to properly clean waders, waterfowl decoys and even hunting dogs to avoid transporting invasive species.

Goal set

The National Wildlife Federation is hoping to get more children outside to play.

The group has set a goal of getting 10 million kids outdoors over the next three years by working with schools to restore recess, getting local parks and recreation departments to foster outdoor free-time programs and giving parents tools to incorporate outdoor time into their children's days.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.