Skip to content

Livewell fish management an important part of tournament success

Livewell fish management an important part of tournament success

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 8:18 am
By: Brent Callicott

Livewell fish management an important part of tournament success | Livewell fish management an important part of tournament success
In this week’s column, I will touch base on livewell fish management — the what to do and not to do points.
Last year, I spent a little time on this subject and I feel that it is that important to continue and try to educate folks on the management of fish care while fishing tournaments.
Also, this upcoming holiday weekend is a three-day event where lots and lots of folks will be hitting the water either for fishing, boating, small personal watercraft riding, sailing and more.
Please, if you have to drink while on the water, make sure you have a designated driver just like on land. Water patrol law enforcement will be out in force this weekend and we want everyone to have a safe and fun-filled time with their friends.
But first, here is what information I have on the conditions down at Reelfoot Lake.
Water temperatures continue to be warm. We are grateful for this past cooldown and the waters have cooled a few degrees at the same time. Right now, the water temps at Reelfoot are in the mid-80s to some lower 80s. That is down from the upper 80s to 90-degree range. Looks like the warmer weather is coming back.
Water levels on Reelfoot continue to recede with the lack of frequent rains. Just in a week’s time, according to the USGS website, Reelfoot has dropped at least 3 to 4 inches. That is continuing today with the evaporation process.
Water color is decent in some areas with other areas getting that greenish/brown tint in the waters.
Right now, the only reports I have are on bass and catfish.
The bass fishing has been fair at best. In a recent bass tournament this past Saturday on Reelfoot Lake, Ricky Seals and David McBride brought in the limit of three bass that weighed 13.17 pounds to claim first place honors. They won a check for $375 for their efforts. Big Bass of the tournament weighed 5.09 pounds. Not many boats fished this event and with the recent warm spell, restrictions by the tournament director trying to help with fish management. The weigh-in was moved from 3 p.m. to 1 p.m. and the normal five-bass limit was moved to three, hoping to be just a little easier on the bass while in the livewells. Happy to report that all of the bass that were weighed in were then kept in a holding tank and released in good condition.
The catfish bite continues to be good. Fishing around trees and logs with rod and reels is working, along with yo-yo’s and trotlines.
As I mentioned, I wanted to take just a little time and pass along some fish management care tips along to you that are good on a daily basis.
These tips are brought to you by Rejuvenade Livewell Formula For Gamefish. I am a firm believer in this product and use this in every tournament. These are just a few suggestions for livewell management during any tournament and are designed to provide optimum conditions for fresh water tournament anglers. By following these procedures, you may help reduce the chances of water weight loss, regurgitation weight loss and fish mortality.
You can find this product in most outdoor supply stores and by visiting the Bass Medics website.
Livewells should be filled early in the morning while the upper foot surface waters are still cool. Add the appropriate amount of Rejuvenade to your livewell waters in order to treat the volume of water you have in your livewell. Then start your aerator or oxygenation system, which allows you to saturate the water with water prior to catching the first fish. Once your first fish has been released into the livewell, you should leave the aerator/oxygenation systems on until the weigh-ins start.
During the hot summer months when the water temperatures exceeds the 80 degree mark, ice should be added as needed in order to keep livewell waters cooler. Keep your livewell water temperatures about 8 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit below surface water temperature.
It is not recommended that you continually flow water through your livewells simply because as the day moves into the warmest part, then you have depleted what you intended to do in the beginning. This also means less oxygen by adding warmer waters into the cooler waters of the livewell.
With a limit of bass (normally 5) in your livewell, you should replace half the volume of water in your livewell every 2 to 3 hours (in order to remove metabolic waste). Water should be replaced and recharged with appropriate amounts of Rejuvenade treatment. Ice should also be added at this time in order to lower the temperature of the incoming water to acceptable levels.
Please understand and remember, your waters should not be pulled in at the dock, that this water is hotter, holds less oxygen and contains petroleum by-products that can be harmful to your catch.
When boats are docked at the weigh-in site and your creel is put in a weigh-in bag, the bag should be filled with the cooler, oxygenated water from the livewell rather than the surface water at the landing/dock area. Remember, the water at the landing is typically more shallow, warmer and contains less oxygen and also may contain petroleum by-products that are harmful to your catch.
Come the first week of August, a very special event will take place for a young and outstanding fisherman from Obion County — John Coble Garrett.
He will be going and fishing the Bass Federation Junior World Championship on Lake Lanier in Georgia in conjunction with the 2010 FLW’s Forrest Wood Championship. This will be a all expense paid trip for him.
John will fish in a boat with a touring FLW pro for two days, Aug. 6-7 from 7:15 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. each day.
John qualified by winning the younger age group (11-14) in the recent Tennessee Bass Federation State Junior Championship that was held in New Johnsonville Tennessee several weeks ago.
John is a member of the Reelfoot Lake Junior Bass Club here in Union City, a charter member at that, and this club is sponsored by the Reelfoot Lake Adult Bass Club also of Union City. John will also be a soon to be freshman at Obion County Central High School in the fall.
Good Luck John and bring home the championship trophy.
I will have more information on this event as time allows.
Turning to information provided by the TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency) report that they recorded 27 boating under the influence (BUI) arrests across the state as part of “Operation Dry Water,” during the weekend of June 25-27.
TWRA teamed with the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators for “Operation Dry Water.” TWRA boating officers saturated high traffic areas on reservoirs across the state. Along with the use of life jackets and other safety practices, officers wanted boaters to be aware of the effects and ramifications of alcohol use.
Six of the BUI arrests came on Watts Barr Lake. TWRA officers made four arrests on Kentucky Lake and three on Chickamauga Lake. Officers also issued 127 other citations.
TWRA officers will be out in full force on state waters for the upcoming July 4 holiday weekend. The holiday period runs from 6 tonight through midnight Monday.
That’s all for this week’s report. Please send us your photos, stories or any upcoming outdoor related event that might take place. Send it to, call 446-3678 or drop by the Union City Messenger office on Jackson Street in Union City.

‘Til next week’s report
catch ya on
the water folks.
Published in The Messenger 7.2.10

Leave a Comment