|Figure 1 - Sportfishing for largemouth bass|
B.A.S.S. annually sponsors dozens of bass fishing tournaments nationwide. These include large opens like the 2013 Southern Open, a three-day event hosted at Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida. These Opens draw hundreds of amateur and professional anglers. For the first two days, each professional angler strives to catch their five-fish bag limit (the final day of fishing pits only the top-12 per class against each other). In the first two days of fishing up to 1,500 largemouth bass can be caught per day! To non-tournament anglers, these intensive collection events can be alarming. “Aren’t you killing or harming all those fish?” is a question that might be asked. To help answer this question and cast more scientific eyes towards these tournaments, Noreen invited us down to watch fish-handling practices at the 2013 Southern Open.