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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ever since I was a kid, back in the early 80s, and i read my first Bassmaster magazine, the idea of not using a net was imprinted in my memory. I would even say that I find it more exhilirating to lip a bass at the side of the boat or to flip him in the boat than to net him.

I have always read that the net can remove the fish's all important slime coat. This can be very harmful to the bass because it is that slime coat that keeps the fish's blood chemical make up balanced. This in turns helps keep stress levels down by helping to control the lactic acid levels. The slime coat is also necessary to help prevent bacteria and disease.

On the flip side of the coin (using the net) there is the argument that netting a fish reduces fight time which also reduces the release of lactic acid into the fish's blood stream. Lactic acid is the chemical that kills stressed fish. When muscles are worked, or over worked, they release lactic acid. This occurs in all animals not just fish, however in fish it is more likely to kill them than it would us.

So which is the lesser of two evils?

Fighting the fish until you can get your hands on it and get him in the boat and taking the chance of creating high lactic acid levels in the fishes body, taking a chance of allowing stress to kill the fish.
OR
Having shortened fight with the fish and using a net, keeping the fish's lactic acid levels down but removing some of the fish's protective slime coat and exposing the fish to disease, bacteria other chemical imbalances until its slime coat is reproduced.

And this is where I will leave this topic open for discussion. What is everyone's feelings about this?
 
G

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I have lipped way more then I have netted personally. My biggest so far was lipped. I bought a rubber net because I have heard that nylon nets hurt fish but this darn rubber net is so heavy that it is impractical. So I wasted money on that and never use it now.

I think what hurts the fish most is allowing them to flop around on the deck of the boat. Sometimes that is unavoidable as the fish just come off. But other times I think we put them there and allow them to sit on the carpeting. That removes way more slime coat then a net does.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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I'm sure that Jim can give you all the reasons why bass need their protective "slim" coat. To me it's a primary coating for bacteria protection.
Nets that have knotted weave made from cotton or other fibers can remove the slim coat by abrasion from the knots. Knotless nets are a better choice and wetting the net prior to scooping up the bass also helps. I keep a whetted towell rolled up in the splash well of my boat with a large rubber band around it.
I don't use a net very often, unless fishing with crank baits, then I net the bass. The wet towell is handy to lay a bass on if needed and to wipe down the boat at the end of the day, followed by a dry towell. Never bounce a bass into the boat that you don't plan on keeping for dinner. The injuries to the bass flopping around on the carpet and banging off hard surfaces nearby are serious and life threatening to the fish. Lipping a good size bass by hand is easy, just turn them belly up once in the boat to calm them down. Landing good size bass with several treble hooks whipping around is dangerous to the fisherman and painfull to have a bass with hooks in your hand and the bass, I have the scars to prove it!
Tom
 

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Stress is what does most damage to fish we intend to release. The stress begins with the fish being caught. Handling, as noted already, continues stress buildup. That mucous membrane over the scales does many jobs, including protection from pathogens. The layer holds antibodies and enzymes necessary for killing pathogens and healing wounds. The mucous also prevents loss of essential electrolytes necessary for osmo-regulation. Not last or least is the mucous lubricates the skin and scales to give a fish the mobility advantages needed to cope with its environment.

Other mucous removing agents are unfit water temp, pH, saltiness, pollution, so a bass can start off with reduced slime before being caught.

Spray some PAM on the unknotted rubberized no-snag net before using it, each trip and after each use. Using the old style nets allows string to get under scales and pop them off, as well as scrape mucous. I haven't found nearly as many loose scales or noticeable slime inside my rubberized net. Keep the bass in the net until ready for release rather than remove and subject to more damage. Come up with some way to hold the net while your hands are free to remove hooks. I have some clips that grab the hoop.

Jim
 
G

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LakeCityYankee
So which is the lesser of two evils?

Fighting the fish until you can get your hands on it and get him in the boat and taking the chance of creating high lactic acid levels in the fishes body, taking a chance of allowing stress to kill the fish.
OR
Having shortened fight with the fish and using a net, keeping the fish's lactic acid levels down but removing some of the fish's protective slime coat and exposing the fish to disease, bacteria other chemical imbalances until its slime coat is reproduced.
Is there that much difference in lipping the fish and netting the fish. I would think that netting the fish is more harmfull to the fish by creating high levels of lactic acid because the fish is still fighting against the net/in the net. The material the net is made of is still removing the slime coat.

Wouldn't it be better to pick up the fish by the mouth which in turn allows less touching of the fish causing less slime being removed. To me, the fish will fight just as much until your able to get the fish close enough to net but is that little time crucial. I mean, when using a net you have the net removing the slime, you still have to grab the fish and more than likely if your fishing by yourself you have to lay the net on the deck of the boat, causing slime to come off not to mention the fish bouncing around, so you can remove the hook.
 

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Over 90% of the bass most fisherman catch are between 2 to 3 lbs. Let just say a 2 1/2 lb bass isn't that difficult to handle, especially since the tackle the average bass fisherman is using can easily control almost any bass they will catch. There is no need to ever bounce a bass and netting should be considered as a safety issue when using multiple treble hook lures.
Unlike most bass fisherman I prefer to use spinning tackle for the average size 2 1/2 lb class bass, because finesse fishing is more productive for school size bass and a lot more fun. The only time I use casting tackle for school size bass is when cranking deep divers, spinner baits or fishing heavy cover. Flipping a 2 1/2 pound bass and bouncing it into the boat with flipping and/or pitching outfit with 25 to 65 lb line and heavy tackle that can easily handle 100 lb fish, doesn't make any sense to me. You can just as easily lift the bass, keep in the air and slide your hand down the line,then lip it. If you hook a big bass you should keep the basses head in the water at all times if possible and then lip it.
Over playing or wearing out a bass because of using too light of tackle is, in my opinion, rarely a problem with a healthy bass. Bass do not have a lot a stamina and the fight usually last less than a minute with a 2 1/2 lb bass on 6 lb line. You can wench in the average size bass to the the rod tip in a few seconds with 20 lb mono! Tournament fisherman are overly concerned about loosing a bass if they don't put it in the boat as fast as possible. The truth is if you take a few extra moments and slow down you will put close to 100% of the bass in the boat by lipping or netting them. Once you lift a bass out of the water with the rod using standard tackle to bounce them, the chances of loosing that fish is probable, why do it? It harms the bass and you may loose it.
Tom
 

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It takes more than a couple of days. I've monitored tournament bass that long before releasing, and we noted some had not replaced slime coat patches lost anywhere between initial handling, to weigh-in, to release. It depends on how much is scraped off in one spot. I've seen many with ruptured scales and bleeding skin.

Some products exist that add a coat of slime-like substance, and most stimulate regrowth. One adds a tranquilizer to reduce stress. Sure Life's Please Release Me is impressive towards reducing mortality. So does adding 1/3 cup of non-iodized salt to 5 gallons of livewell water.

I'm very certain marine carpet does most of the damage. Letting bass flop on the ground comes in second.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The best slime coat regenerator I have seen yet is an aquarium chemical called Stress Coat. When I lived up north I had about 30 aquariums in my basement, ranging from 5 gals to 150 gals and I cared for everything from your extremely durable black bullheads to your most delicate exotic eels and cichlids, as well as a few bass and i have seen this stuff perform near miracles. Regardless of what other livewell additives you use, I highly recommend keeping a bottle of this on the boat to squirt in your livewell.

http://www.petsmart.com/global/prod...=1178799194758&itemNo=4&In=ALL&N=2030068&Ne=2
 
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