Options - keep fish alive for weigh-in?

I will be fishing in a local So. Cal. kayak-fishing tournament next month, and will need to keep the bass alive for weigh-in. I do not want to mount a tank on my kayak, and someone suggested keeping the bass in a net in the water. Does anyone have any suggestions? I always catch and release in Newport Bay, so this is a new problem for me.


Keeping Fish Alive
What’s wrong with an old fashion stringer? Light weight, easy to use and about $2.00 at any Wal-Mart or Kmart. You can get different sizes depending on your expected catch.

Stringers kill
They muck with the gills and kill the fish.

keep fish alive
If you do not want to use a stringer you could use a basket net (built specifically to keep fish alive). They have a lid and float with a wire mess. It would be a drag (literally) behind your kayak.

Here is a link to show an example:



– Last Updated: Sep-27-05 11:18 PM EST –

Even the kind of stringer that goes through the bottom lip prevents the fish from swimming correctly and getting water past his gills for oxygenation to occur. A fish needs to swim in order to breath, so a wire net wouldn't work either. If you're going to commit to a fishing tournament that requires a weigh-in you owe it to the resource to take the proper steps to ensure a live/healthy release.

basket net
Look at the link, it does work. It is not a live well, however most do not fish a tourment from a kayak.

Dele- i don’t see how an average size bass could swim around enough in that basket to get enough oxygen. Much less if there was more than 1 fish.

basket net
Basket nets work, I have used them for bass and panfish. They are most effective in moving water (I guess this would hold true where the basket is moving) They come in a verity of sizes, the link was an example to show type. Of course given enough time game fish will even die in the live well of a $30K bassboat. In any case the fish would last longer than on a stringer. Now if the torment was for bullhead or catfish they are hard to kill.

maybe I could see it if you were fishing in water that had strong current. what are the odds that a guy would be in a fishing tourney fishing from a kayak anchored in fast moving water?

basket net
I dare say the chances are not great. With a big enough net the fish should easily survive the few hours needed depending on water and ambient temps. Keep them in the shade.

It’ll drag, but may do the job.
Get a large truck type innertube that a 5 gallon bucket will fit in, use a portable aerator, get a live well lid for the bucket…got mine at a local sporting goods chain… and attach a tow rope.

If you have time, build one out of foam floatation and light plywood. Put a reasonably pointed bow on it, properly ballast it, and make to it fit whatever appropriately sized cooler you need for the fish. To insure survival, you really need on of the submersible 12 volt aerators so you need to have a place to place a battery…small motorcycle or even 12 volt deer feeder battery may work.

sharks have to keep swimming
to breathe… fish do not, they can and do suspend themselves. The problem of stagnated, hot, and deoxygenated water poses a much greater risk to the fish than not having enough room to swim around. Of course, not having room to swim compounds these problems, but your root problem is the quality of the water and the tempature at the surface were the fish is being towed.

The basket idea would work much better lowered to 10 feet or so rather than on the surface. Tempature will be a problem with anything on the kayak out of the water.

kayak fishing tournament.
The kayak tournaments here are catch and release.

The give each participant a cheap, disposable, waterproof camera and a measuring stick. the first picture on the camera has to be of the fisherman, the kayak, the gear, and the measuring stick. After that you fish, catch, snap pic of fish on measuring stick, and release. at the end you turn in your camera and the officals get it devoloped. The tourney is all based on length not weight.

HIG4’S- now that’s a fishing tournament!!People getting out and exercising, catch and release, no motors, and no fat dorks blathering on and on about being in a “zone”!!! Give be a break you heavy breathing, biscuit and gravy eatin fools…it’s fishing!!! Sorry for the rant.

I don’t much like competitive fishing,
I fish mainly solo and for my enjoyment. The world is competitive enough without bringing more into it. But, if you must, the catch and release photo option sounds best. The problem with weigh-in tournaments is that the fish, no matter wheter kept in the best of live wells or in a basket, have a greater mortality rate than catch and release done properly…support the weight of the fish, don’t grab it under the belly, make sure your hands are wet if you handle the fish, release quickly, etc.

fletch lives !

– Last Updated: Sep-30-05 1:10 PM EST –

Fletch- your reply is word for word the way I feel about tourneys. In fact I said the exact same thing regarding introducing competition into fishing on the RiverSmallies.com message board.

Keeping fish alive
This tournament is sponsored by a kayak shop, and they will have a weigh-in boat and a central weigh-in location. I like the basket net idea, as I probably wouldn’t have to keep the fish in it for more than 5 or 10 minutes. These are spotted bay bass - not too big, and I will only “keep” the bigger ones. This will be the first tournament I fish in.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Fish don’t need to swim to breath
only most kinds of sharks. Most teleosts can pump water across their gills while at rest. Look at flounders, catfish, anglerfish, and most other kinds of bottomdwellers. Or look at pikes, abush predators that hang motionless in weeds waiting for smaller fish to swim by.

However, unless you intend to eat a fish, don’t put it on a stringer. They will damage their gills. I release all fish I don’t intend to eat immediately, but I do have a device that might work, available in most bait shops. It’s a styrofoam ring with a deep mesh bag. You can tether it to your yak.

Agree on everything
Though I prefer fishing with between 1 and 4 friends to fishing alone, I totally agree about not making fishing competitive - it should be a break from competitiveness. And I agree on photo tournaments.