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A few years back I read several articles on catching deep water fish. In these articles they explained a problem of the fish going belly up in the livewell from their swimbladders swelling {" the bendz"? as they would call it in humans} They showed a technique with a hypodermic needle to decompress the bladder or the fish would otherwise die.Obviously not what you want in a tournament or any time.Recently I've seen several T.V.tournaments where they where catching fish extremely deep, 40 to 60 ft. , and these guys were just flipping them in the livewell with no mention or care given to this condition . Not being much of an extremely deep water fisherman my question is , how often does this condition occur? how deep do you have to pull them out of? and have any of you ever experienced this with your fish?
 

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The techniqe is called fizzing. I personnaly don't care for it. It is unnerveing to stick a four pound make or break you fish with a hyperdermic needle. A trick we use on the lake of the Ozarks is to take your time landing a deep fish to give it time to stabilize its self verses hauling it in as fast as you can. It is hard to tell just what exactly is killing fish in the summer months when you typically fish deep. Poor livewell conditions acount for alot of fatalities. I was watching the Bassmasters last fall when they were catching fish off of their electronics and every fish they hooked they took their time bringing the fish up. I supose it was because of how deep they were catching these fish. Peace out Drew
 

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Bass swim bladder expansion is caused by pressure differentail between the surface, where the bass ends up after being caught and the depth where the bass has stabilized their bladders. One atmosphere, about 15' of water applies approximately 30 psi of pressure on the bass, keeping the air bladder at that depth to its normal size, if the bass is living at the 15 foot depth. Bass at 30 feet depths can easily swim up to 15 feet with only one atmosphere of pressure change or 30 psi, however if they go up to the surface from 30 feet the pressure change is now 60 psi and toleralble for bass. However bass living in 60 feet of water that move up to 30 feet of water to feed can withstand the 60 psi or 2 atmospheres of pressure change without affects, unless the bass is caught and reeled up to the surface and experiences 120 psi of pressure change. At 3 atmospheres the air bladder expands like a balloon, because bass do not have valves to release the air bladder pressure. The only way for the bass to compress the air bladder back to its normal size is the bass must return down to the detph where the pressure is equal to the depth of water the bass was living at. The air is actually gas created by the digestive system and takes a few days to adjust to changes in water pressure. The bottom line for largemouth bass is about a 35 foot depth change without air bladder expansion to the point where the bass can no longer maintain an upright swimming position and other internal organs being squeezed beyond functioning. The bends is related to hydrogen bubbles in the blood stream and does not apply to bass. The best method to "fizz" a bass may be to stick the expanded air bladder through the mouth where the bladder is pushing outward with a small needle. Trying to "fizz" a bass through the side above the lateral and vent location is tricky and easy to hit a vital organ. Largemouth bass are more susceptible to depth changes than smallmouth and spots that seem to be able to handle changes from 45 to 50 feet without much problem.
 

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When fizzing a bass through the mouth be sure what's extended isn't the esophagus. Swim bladders are a little behind and above the stomach, and are likely to press the stomach so it inverts through the esophagus. You need to be sure you puncture deep enough to get into the bladder. While doing that from the mouth or side, avoid puncturing the liver, which sits atop the bladder, or the intestines below the bladder. Study this anatomical drawing before trying it. If you puncture only the esophagus or stomach while not actually relieving pressure in the bladder, the expansion is only re-directed to other organs, or the stomach is filled with gas. http://www.floridaconservation.org/Fishing/Fishes/anatomy.html

I highly recommend dissecting at least one bass to learn the difference between bladder and stomach tissue.

I see that a lot when winter fishing over 50' deep. I'll use 60' for this example. If the fish seems to be a heavy-weight, I'll play it slowly and let the fish swim to the surface if possible rather that dragging it up there. A bunch of tournament folks won't do that, it being a time eater. If it happens to you and you don't plan to keep the fish, return it immediately to the depth it came from. There are fish release gadgets you can buy, but all I use is some trot line and a large lead sinker. I run the line through the lip (never the gill slit!!!) then let the fish into the water after tying the tag end off on a cleat. If it doesn't swim down immediately, play the line out until the length let out matches the target depth. You get about 6' with outstretched hands, so ten stretches gives 60'. Tie a loop knot in the line at the 60' mark, and attach the sinker. Let the sinker and fish sink by slipping sinker line, tag end still tied off. Once the sinker reaches 60' release the tag line end (the line that exits the lip and was tied to the cleat). Pull the sinker up letting the tag end slide through the lip. You know the sinker is at 60' because you counted hand stretches while playing more line out as the sinker sinks, so now you have 120' total of doubled line before releasing the tag end.

Ah, but in these parts most of those fish end up eaten, so few anglers bother. Sure the tournament folks might try something to keep the bass alive to weigh-in, but by far the majority of non-tournament folks figure on taking every bass they catch home. I know the state's DNRs report a very low percentage of harvesters, but the folks that do that are rarely if ever interviewed. I've seen the voluntary questionaires at tournament weigh-in sites, but nobody I know, including myself, has ever been interviewed, so the harvesters are not being counted.

Make the best decision you can under your circumstances.

Jim
 

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Fizzing or needling bass takes knowledge of the basses anatomy so you don't puncture vidal organs. My method is to locate bass above the 40 foot level if possible, however I'm not fishing tournaments. I have used a big 9/0 hook with the point flattened and tie a 2 lb sinker to the hook eye and a cord to the hook bend. mark the cord with permanate marker a dash for each 10 feet to know how deep you need to let the line down. Place the flattened hook point into the basses lower lip, against the soft tissue and lower the weight down carry the bass with it. Stop at the depth desired and the bass will swim away on it own, then retrieve the weight. Works most of the time. Some guys have rigged up plastic milk crates with weights and lower the bass down inside the up side down crate. Seems like a lot of gear to carry around. For years the bass were not targeted in the winter months in deep water, so no problem. Today after a winter tournament, we see some floaters and same thing after summer night tournaments from water temperature stress. My guess is in the 10% mortality range under stress full conditions like winter and hot summer tournaments.
Tom
 

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I've tried something similar to that, but now I avoid putting any hook that deep on 200# test line. If it gets hung up there's no way to know for sure the bass got off.

I have a string of hotspots I visit both directions since bass might not be home at some good spots first time visited. That way I could at least harvest any floaters. But in fact there haven't been any that I knew about. A bass could float up a day or two later.

At a Bassmaster University seminar a pro brought a plastic bass and demonstrated up close exactly where to stick the needle and how long to leave it there. Water splashed on the needle outlet lets you know when the pressure is off- no bubbles or swelling. Keep the fish wet during the process, like holding it in the livewell while letting it hiss. I've seen it done there like that, and videos in a few meetings, but don't like it. It takes more time to return a bass deep using a sinker, but to me that's taking responsibility more seriously unless you just have to to keep a tournament kicker alive.

It would be ideal to avoid water deeper than 40', but here that would mean fishing where there are few or no bass lots of days. The shallow waters are over-fished all winter, most not wanting to fish mid lake over a river channel. The weather is just nicer in the coves, and an occasional bass is caught there. I hope our water doesn't get much cooler than now so they won't have to suspend so deep.

Jim
 

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The bass over 4 pounds are not too much of a problem with either needle method. The 5 scales above the lateral line pore scale,on a between the anal vent and dorsal fin gap works, if the fish cooperates. The mouth method is easier know that I have practiced it for a few years. The problem is with structure spooning in deep water because of the school size bass and the need to get them up fast enough so they don't shake off the spoon.These bass tend to run 15" to 17"- 2 - 21/2 lbs or so that are targeted by the tournament folks. I personally don't have a problem with keeping a few 2 pounders if they are in poor shape. The giant bass I spend too much time on tend to be in 35 feet or so during our cold water period. It's the school bass that go deeper that tend to be the floaters. Hope your weather stays mild and you get out on the water.
Tom
 

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The original question about fizzing bass did not specify what type of bass, Largemouth, Florida LMB, Smallmouth or Spotted bass. My first reply only addressed LMB, not Smallmouths or Spots. My personal experience with fizzing is with LMB only and never had to relieve bladder pressure with smallies or spots. I believe the reason may be that LMB are by nature shallow water bass and have evolved to move up and down through the water column about 30 feet, 2 atmospheres without bladder expansion issues, more than that they have problems. However Smallmouth and Spotted bass live in deeper water and have higher thresholds of pressure changes with needing their airbladders relieved.
Tom
 

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Here is a method that a friend of mine uses to release big bass caught from deep water any time of the year. Place a 8 ounce torpedo sinker on the end of a marker buoy anchor line. Make one large black mark on the anchor line every ten feet, one mark for 10 feet, 2 marks for 20 feet, 3 marks for thirty feet etc. When you catch a big bass from 40 feet, put the sinker down the basses throat and lower the bass on the marked line down to 40 feet and wait a minute or so, then pull the line up a few feet and the weight will come out of the bass without harming it.
Tom
 

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That sounds a lot easier than my method :clap:
 

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Keith, didn't find anything on the Shelton quick release hooks that allows you to release bass down in deep water. Interesting products that you could modify to add a weight to pull the bass back down, then retrieve the hook and weight by the line tied to the eye in the hooks bend. That is what I do now, tie the line to a big 7/0 hook at the bend, no barb and dull point, and a weight tied to the hook eye and lower the bass back down. I'm going to try the torpedo weight down the basses throat trick when I get a chance.
Tom
 

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Thank you Tom and Jim for all the valuable information you all shared here :D
 
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Tom, you looked at the link I gave? It shows exactly how to lower fish down. They are using a Rockfish but the same method would apply to any fish. They show several rigs, one tied on the line the lure is tied on so the lure is the weight. Another rigged with a weight 3 or 4 inches below the devise so it would weight down the fish. What I like is the angle of this when tied on the line so that when you pull the line up like you would be setting the hook it just comes out of the fishes mouth and the fish is on it's merry way.

If I fished deep enough water I would definitely have one of those things.
 

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DITTO !!! Jim and Tom are better then ' Google ' :cheers:

See that Tom? They said we're better than a local ale. :lmao:

We've got a great team here and lots of good information coming from all directions all over America. We need MORE active posters. Who needs a break around here? Well, ya ain't gittin one. :tongue2: Keep it flowing folks. Glad to see you back Keith. And Tom....I'm taking credit for getting him over here.

Good grief! I'm almost too embarrassed to share how I've been sinking fish. I use a trot line run through the lower mouth tender tissue. At the loop coming out of the lip I tie a rock to the two lines that run up to the boat, using 2# line. When it reaches bottom or wherever I yank one line and the tie snaps. The fish usually takes off and WON'T be coming up very easy so I let one line go until it zips through the mouth, then reel it in. Hey, I've got an OUT for any PETA folks reading. They say fish don't feel pain. I don't believe that, but if'n most say it, I can run with it.

With that clip setup you have it already to go while fishing and don't waste so much time.

Jim
 

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Good grief Charlie Brown, it's just bass fishing! Goggle, have checked their stock lately, what could be better than that? You are embarrassing Jim and me, we are just old folks that have been around the pond too long. Complements mean more to us than you know and helping someone in some small way is what sharing is all about. Jim and I both learn just as much from everyone else who take the time to share their knowledge and experiences, so thank you.
Tom
 
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Good grief Charlie Brown, it's just bass fishing!

Yet some forget more stuff about it then others learned their whole life. You guys are living encyclopedias of fishing knowledge and we all benefit from it.

Thanks. :clap:
 

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that makes 3 of us :thumbup01:
 
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