By Margie Anderson
When the bite is as hot as the weather,
itís easy to forget the essentials. I was pre-fishing Roosevelt Lake
one summer and weíd been catching fish all day long.
It was over a hundred degrees in the shade, but thereís no shade
on a bass boat! Trudging up the steep ramp toward the truck at the
end of the day, I was suddenly dizzy and nauseous.
I actually had to sit down on the hot dirt and wait for the world
to quit spinning. I had heat exhaustion.
Turns out I was lucky. A bit longer in the sun with no water and
I could have died.
You absolutely MUST keep yourself hydrated in summer. This means
drinking lots of water all day long, even if you donít feel thirsty.
By the time you feel thirsty, youíre already on the way to
trouble. Loose cotton clothing will help keep you cool, and you
should wear a hat and long sleeves.
Cover up those legs, too. Shorts might feel cooler, but skin
cancer is no fun. Sunscreen should be applied liberally, and
re-applied every couple of hours.
If the weather is dry and hot, it helps to dip your hat in the
water once in a while. The evaporation will cool you off.
Hot, humid weather is the worst, and you really need to be on
your guard on muggy days. Do whatever you can to cool yourself off
and make sure you drink plenty of water all day long.
If you are putting fish in the livewell, run the pumps
continuously. The fish need plenty of oxygen, and the warmer the
water is, the less it holds.
If you are weighing fish in, and the tournament officials donít
provide aerated tanks for those in line, then leave the fish in your
livewell until the line goes down.
Theyíll use up all the oxygen in that bag of water in a matter of
minutes and be in trouble shortly.
Jim Warneke, a fisheries biologist with the Arizona Game and Fish
Department, says that when you bring a bass up quickly from over 45
feet, you canít decompress him no matter what you do. The air in the
fishís bloodstream and organs expands and causes hemorrhages.
The swim bladder squashes other organs. At 33 feet, the pressure
is an entire additional atmosphere.
This means that the air takes up half the space it would at the
surface. Bringing up the fish causes this expansion.
Warneke suggests that if you catch a deep fish from less than 45
feet, you lower it back down in a milk crate. He ties a rope to the
bottom of the crate, with the open side down.
He puts the fish in the water, lowers the crate over the fish,
then lets the crate go back down to deep water. The fish will swim
out once it gets down there.
After 45 feet, though, he says just keep the fish and eat it.
Itís dead anyway.