Don't break your bass!

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

ATHENS, TX (KLTV) - Be careful how you hold your bass....A new press campaign from the Texas Freshwater Fisheries is attempting to educate all of you fishermen out there about your bass-handling procedure...but...why?

I may not be a pro fisherman like Barry Hansen, but I was up for the challenge! We met with hatchery supervisor Jim Matthews, who has unfortunately seen too many large fish with broken jaws that then starve to death.

"We want them to go off and live nice long lives and produce lots of offspring," said Matthews.

That common catching method with one hand is a big no-no.

"For a big 13 pound fish, if you pick it up with one hand, you're putting all the pressure of that big fish on its jaw henges, which is mostly cartilage, and you're taking a good chance of injuring the fish's jaw or even breaking it," explained Matthews.

To show us the right way, Matthews had a live 6-pound bass. First, he sedated it because they can apparently be pretty fiesty.

"Oh boy. [He's] really excited," I said re-thinking this story idea. "This is strictly for your entertainment."

While the sedatives set in I checked out what we were dealing with.

"That just scares me," I said looking at the 13-pound giant. Cue Jaws theme music...

Fearfully, in I went. To get a good grip, he showed me how to stick your thumb in its mouth, while supporting it from underneath at the same time.

"You can tell I'm not a pro," I laughed. "Success! I did it! Excellent!"

Afterall, holding a fish any other way would be...bassackwards.

I'll see you on the water.

Just so you know, no fish was harmed in shooting this story. It was just relaxed from the sedatives.