Canadian Bass Championship Switches to Wet Weigh-Ins

Before the 11th Canadian Bass Championship even begins, we can tell you that the winners will be the fish!
Anyone who has ever watched a fishing tournament automatically feels some concern for the poor fish that are flopping around while the fishers have their moment on stage.  It takes an average of 30 seconds to weigh the fish after they are removed from their temporary water filled container.  Although the Canadian Bass Championship aims for a full recovery of all fish caught, those 30 seconds out of the water contributes to missing that goal by a couple of percentage points.   
For the same reason that we can all hold our breath for a brief period of time, a short period of air exposure for a resting fish is not a large problem.  However, when the fish’s metabolic rate is elevated, brought on by the stress of being taken out of its natural habitat, the exposure becomes much more important.  The best way to appreciate this is to think about what it is like to try and hold your breath after you’ve been exercising.  While it’s easy to hold your breath at rest, it’s a different situation after you’ve run a 100 meter dash! 
The new weigh-in process that will be used this year is one which has undergone extensive testing and development by Shimano and Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario.  In a nutshell the new system will see the fish placed in a pre-calibrated tank of water while they are being weighed.  This means that the fish will spend only four seconds out of water, drastically reducing their stress levels and thereby increasing survival rate.   Shimano/Queen’s research has shown that Bass kept in water during the weigh-in process maintained 150% higher energy stores than those weighed in air.
According to the Bass Championship’s Director of Tournament Operations Ray Armit, the number one goal of the tournament is to minimize any harm to the fish population.  “We do everything we can to return the fish safely back to the water close to where they were caught,” said Armit.   “We’re constantly looking for better ways to handle the fish.  Even if this new system results in only two more fish surviving, I believe it will be well worth the effort.”
And of course in a fishing tournament it is important that the accuracy of the weigh-in procedure not be compromised.  Extensive testing has shown that the wet weigh-in system is accurate.  If anything it may be more accurate than air system as the fish are not flopping around and jiggling the scale. 
According to Shimano’s Phil Morlock, “Most tournament anglers won’t notice much of a change – but the fish surely will.”