That is, he lost by 3 ounces AFTER he accumulated 24 ounces in penalties due to four dead fish. (Ouch!)
The narrow loss adds yet another 2nd place finish to Aaron’s record, bringing his grand total to 8 2nd place finishes in BASS tournaments. Adding salt to his wounds is the fact that fellow competitors have been quick to tease Aaron the new nicknames “FISH MURDERER” and “SERIAL KILLER”. (–Double Ouch!)
Aaron is doing is best to shake the Lake Jordan loss off, but in talking to him you can tell that the pain is still fresh. “I’ve never had fish die on me like that” he told me, “Once they started to go, they just went.”
Were it not for BASS’s strict rule against culling dead fish, Aaron would have won the tournament. Likewise, keeping one more fish alive would have paved the way to victory.
This was on my mind as I read this fish care article by Lee McClellan. The article gives several warm weather fish care tips that would have helped Aaron out, namely:
- Cool the livewell water by no more than 10 degrees.
- Add 1/3 cup of non-iodized or rock salt for every 5 gallons of water. (He points out that regular ol’ salt provides the same benefits as more expensive livewell treatments.)
- Play the bass quickly after hooked. (Hard to do when finessing with light line!)
It should be noted that Aaron has extensive history fishing the WON Bass US Open on Lake Mead in 100-plus-degrees temperatures, i.e. he has a respectable fish care track record in blazing hot conditions. “I don’t know why some fish show signs of fatigue faster than others,” Aaron said. “Some fish just don’t make it.”
Fish care issues aside, this whole situation has us wondering about the fairness of the dead fish rule. By Alabama law, every person fishing that day had the right to catch 10 bass and kill them regardless of size. Yet in a BASS tournament you can’t kill a single one? Isn’t parading dead fish on stage worse PR than showing live fish to the public?
What are your thoughts? Vote in in the poll!