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Tournament fish care #13644139 07/25/20 08:36 PM
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John A. Offline OP
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I have never fished a crappie tournament nor have a crappie fished for very long but I have tournament bass fished most of my life.

As I've been fishing this summer, I've kept fish in my bass boat livewell until I'm done fishing and then put them in an ice chest and put ice on them before cleaning. Rarely, there are many alive despite running my recirculator. I'm not worried about it since I'm eating them.

I read in crappie tournament rules that all fish must be alive at weigh in. Is there any special way to keep crappie alive in a tournament? I havnt tried any additives in my livewell or using my oxygenator but I'm not sure if that will help my fish based on how they act when they get in the livewell.

Just curious if there was anything different crappie tournament people do versus bass tournament people.

Thanks!

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Re: Tournament fish care [Re: John A.] #13644300 07/25/20 10:47 PM
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Slewfoot Offline
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We learned the hard way how to keep fish alive but I would say we’re pretty good at it now. We fill the livewell with a submersible pump first thing in the morning with water 10-12’ deep. Add a bag of ice and G juice and use a 12v bubbler. We don’t use recirculate at all. I run the oxygenate in my boat but my partner doesn’t have one and I don’t think it does much anyway. We try to keep the water 10-15 degrees cooler than the surface temp. We use fin weights on all our fish and cull as we go and never have more than 8 fish in the livewell. We’ve had pretty good luck with that system for the last several years. That said some come over the rails dead!

Re: Tournament fish care [Re: Slewfoot] #13644425 07/26/20 12:11 AM
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John A. Offline OP
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Thanks for the reply. I guess it's not as easy as I was hoping. I thought bass were difficult to keep alive!

Re: Tournament fish care [Re: John A.] #13644434 07/26/20 12:20 AM
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Forgot to add I clean my livewell after every tourney with soap and water and occasionally bleach em out. The only time I use them is when the coolers too full to add fish or I’m in a tourney. I had a crappie hack/hybrid guru on here tell me how to keep Shad alive and we went from there. Crappie are hard to keep alive but not compared to Shad!

Re: Tournament fish care [Re: John A.] #13644532 07/26/20 02:10 AM
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I fill the live well first thing before start time. Add a little ice to bring the temp down 5-8 degrees. Never add water the rest of the day. Run recirculate pump very sporadically. The fin weights help also, even in winter time when they come from deep water. Keeping the live well clean is also a plus. Crappie are very slimy.
You can get the water too cool. One July tour we had a 15 min trailer ride to weigh in so I added a half bag ice to the live well as we left the ramp. Got to weigh in and every fish was on the bottom laying flat. Grabbed a 5 gal bucket and got some lake water and put the fish in there and they revived. All were alive for weigh in luckily.


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Re: Tournament fish care [Re: John A.] #13644587 07/26/20 02:46 AM
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Ice, keep some oxygen flowing and cull has worked great for me.....


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Re: Tournament fish care [Re: John A.] #13644985 07/26/20 03:14 PM
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When I need to keep the fish alive I premix fish saver in Gatorade bottles and freeze. Put the frozen mix in the cooler in the morning add bottles during the day as needed just remove the lid and the mix will keep the fish alive and ice keeps the water cool so it can hold a little more oxygen. If water temps are in the upper 80's/90's do the same with frozen bottles of water but leave the lids on as a way to keep temps down and recirculate as needed.


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Re: Tournament fish care [Re: John A.] #13645771 07/27/20 03:36 AM
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If keeping the fish to clean, direct to the ice chest for me. And 1 or 2 frozen 1 gal bottles in ice chest. Lake water temp is close to 90 in the mornings. Don't care to have the fish in that warm water for 3-4 hours. They will always die with multiple fish in the live well. Bag ice melts quick and when you get home, you've got a slimy mess on the cleaning table.


A life without God is like an unsharpened pencil, it has no point. Billy Graham
http://www.proanglertackle.com Best crappie and catfish rods/reels
http://www.crazyanglertackle.com Premium crappie baits and jig tying accessories
www.thermoclinelures.com / "Helping YOU catch MORE & LARGER fish!"
http://www.beereadys.com World's Best Rod Holders
Re: Tournament fish care [Re: John A.] #13646055 07/27/20 02:16 PM
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Wes and I have been crappie tournament fishing all over the country for the last 16 years. Keeping them alive really changes throughout the year:

Springtime tournaments when the water is less than 75 degrees...pretty easy with just lake water and then running recirc pump and/or changing out the water depending on how many fish you have in the livewell. If your boat has 2 livewells, just keep your best 7 in one and a cull or 2 in the other.

Summertime tournaments when the water is 80-90 degrees...this is when it can take a little more effort. We still fill the livewell in the morning, and add ice to cool it down a bit. About 8 years ago, we bought a 55 lb oxygen bottle, a medical regulator, and oxygen air stone. We run our O2 bottle on 1/16 all day. My new boat has 3 livewells, so we usually split our largest 7 up into 2 livewells. We also "pop" most all our fish if they are caught more than 15' deep in the summer so that they won't lay over on one side in the livewell.

Fall when waters cool back down...same method as springtime.

Interesting this topic has come up, as I tried another theory just this past weekend. I was fishing on Amon G Carter. My front livewell is about 25 gallons. I filled it when I got on the water...temp was 89 degrees. I put a full bag of ice in there...melted really quick...and just ran my recirc pump all day...well the 6 hours I was out there. Caught fish 14-16' deep. Put 7 crappie in there, and they were all 100% alive and healthy when I got back to the ramp (rest of the fish were on ice).


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