Keeping redfish alive 7-8 hours in aerated boat livewells during summer tournaments is stressful for the fish and really stressful for the fisherman hoping to avoid the dreaded “dead fish punishment.”
REDFISH TOURNAMENT DAY – a hot July/August summer day, the popular belief that hot livewell water (90 F – 95 F) is the killer is a myth. Sustained deadly low dissolved oxygen saturation in aerated livewell water is the primary killer of tournament redfish being transported all day. Fishermen know that redfish live fine in hot environmental water every summer and they don’t suffocate or die on the hot grassy flats.
When do you first begin thinking about keeping your catch alive? Most contestants think about these things the night before the tournament. How many times in an 8 hour tournament day do your look into the livewell to see if the fish are sick or dying? Will your aerator or livewell pump fail?
SUMMER TOURNAMENTS – Before weigh-in at summer tournaments, large winning redfish die in boat livewells due to insufficient oxygenation. Redfish suffocate and die in aerated summer livewells even when your pump and your aerator runs perfectly all day.
The redfish killer in your livewell in summer tournaments is low oxygen, sustained hypoxia (when you fail to provide minimal safe livewell oxygenation for your catch). Chronic suffocation begins at the time you set the hook, during the fight and landing, and later during the transport all day in your boat’s aerated livewell. Suffocation continues during weigh-in, photo-ops and final transport to the live release site back into hot environmental water.
The limiting factor controlling oxygenation for all mechanical aerators and livewell pumps is the small amount of oxygen in air (21% oxygen). Livewell stocking density, salinity and water temperature directly affect DO Saturation regardless of the volume of air or water pumped into or through the livewell.
The deadly low oxygen problem in summer livewells cannot be corrected with air, mechanical aeration or multipliable high volume water pumps running continuously. Any livewell or aeration modification you make (venturies, bubblers, spray jets) will not correct the low oxygen problem.
The deadly low oxygen livewell problem can be corrected with supplemental oxygen injection. Increase and maintain livewell dissolved oxygen saturation to 100% or greater than 100% (DO Super Saturation). Oxygen injection ensures minimal DO Saturation even in the most adverse summer conditions, 90 F livewell water and deadly low oxygen saturations.
BONUS WEIGHT FOR LIVE REDFISH AT WEIGH-IN IS POSITIVE MOTIVATION REWARDING CONTESTANTS WILLING TO PROVIDE THE BEST SUMMER FISH CARE
Many redfish tournaments reward fishermen with bonus points and bonus weight for providing the best fish care possible on their boats to keep their catch alive and healthy all day. The bonus is a positive motivator for fishermen that really make an effort to provide the best tournament fish care possible for their catch all day. The best tournament fish care any tournament fishermen can provide for his catch is to ensure that the catch is transported all day in their boat livewell that has minimal safe oxygenation and excellent water quality.
FACT: Supplemental oxygen (supplemental oxygen, pure compressed oxygen) is provided by some tournament officials at the weigh-in site for holding tanks and release boat tanks when the tournament officials take possession of the days catch. Officials provide pure oxygen and usually test and record the DO Saturations in their holding tank and release boat tank water… but the total tournament catch only receives oxygen, the best tournament fish care for 30 minutes at the end of the day.
FACT: Thirty minutes of pure oxygen at the end of the day may look great, but that will not reverse the cellular death and irreversible physiological damage caused by the time in the aerated boat livewell. The all day transport and previous 7-8 hours of chronic sustained hypoxia and suffocation in aerated boat livewells is the primary reason for high summer redfish tournament mortality and morbidity.
WHY ADMINISTER PURE OXYGEN FOR ONLY THE FINAL 30 MINUTES AT THE END OF CAPTIVITY AND FINAL TRANSPORT?
WHY NOT PROVIDE PURE OXYGEN FOR THE CATCH BY THE CONTESTANTS ALL DAY, DURING THE 8 HOUR TRANSPORT IN THE BOAT’S LIVEWELL? …
FACT: Poor redfish care all day is the primary cause of higher summer tournament redfish mortality.
FACT: Most tournament fishermen transport their catch all day (7-8 hours) in small aerated boat livewells in summer tournaments without supplemental oxygen and the catch is suffocated.
FACT: Minimal safe oxygenation in tournament boat livewells is of no concern to tournament directors… because the public doesn’t see and will not see less than the best care provided by fishermen all day.
FACT: The public and the media see the best tournament fish care possible at the weigh-in for at least 30 minutes.
FACT: The best summer tournament redfish care is when tournament directors and tournament fishermen both use supplemental livewell oxygen in tournament boat livewells all day and at the weigh-in when tournament directors take possession of the days catch.
FACT: If supplemental oxygen is not provided to prevent suffocation all day while the redfish is in captivity – know that that kind of tournament fish care is far less that the best fish care possible and expect high tournament summer tournament mortality and morbidity.
The degree of redfish tournament care tournament officials and tournament fishermen are willing to provide for the catch is always a personal choice. Livewell oxygen supplementation with livewell oxygen injection ensures the best livewell care possible in summer tournaments.
FACT: Oxygenated boat livewells, weigh-in holding tanks and live release boat livewells ensure the best tournament redfish care possible in summer tournaments.
FACT: Aerated boat livewells, weigh-in holding tanks and live release boat livewells provide less than the best tournament redfish care possible in summer tournaments.