As long as you bought a license to fish & are releasing under legal sized fish-you aren't doing anything wrong. You're legally fishing. It's your choice. How small are these fish? If they're 10" they're probably going to be just fine unless you're literally rippin their lips out. When a bass feeds it opens its mouth as it flares its gills , rapidly ingesting water (& prey) into the mouth. Its very fast. Like less time than a blink of the eye. When the skin around the bone & cartilage has a hole in it ,then reduced inflow makes the bass a less efficient predator, until it heals. If large tears (in proportion to size of bass) dont heal,then that fish may die or stress because of low food intake. You'd be surprised how faat a hole on a bass' lip will heal up. They're pretty resilient fish. If TPWD stocked hundreds of thousands i doubt you can make a dent in the population with a rod & reel.
I'd tell him to mind his own business & leave you alone.
Edited by Curtbass (01/03/17 03:22 AM)
'98 Tr20 Triton
'94 Merc 200Xri