Learn From Your Livewell! – Quick Tip

Learn From Your Livewell! – Quick Tip

Learn From Your Livewell! – Quick Tip

by August 11, 2014

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August 30, 2013

Recently, a good friend ( and AnglingAuthority.com Contributor) and I participated in a local bass tournament. It wasn’t a body of water we fish frequently, so we pre-fished and developed a pattern we gained confidence in.  We did well in the tournament and placed a respectable third place, winning us a cheque and some bragging rights. But the ah-ha moment came afterwards.

Check your livewells

I usually do a tournament debrief of sorts, where I clean out my boat and re-check my equipment. Part of this routine is to clean out my livewells to make sure they are ready to receive the next guests; kind of like a hotel room. What I found inside was very cool, and provided more insight on our tournament pattern.

double header

A double header! Note the Chatterbait still in the bass’ mouth. As winds picked up, the Chatterbait became more effective.

Bass often regurgitate food when they are kept in a livewell and you can get various clues from inspecting these “gifts”. As part of our tournament fishing we separated the larger fish from the smaller fish, which we expected to cull. In the livewell we designated for larger fish, I found a partially-digested fish. While in the other livewell, where smaller fish were kept, I found crayfish remains. During the tournament we found that we were getting smaller to mid-sized fish while swimming a crayfish pattern jig. The larger keepers  were caught using a chatterbait tipped with a paddle tailed swimbait.

livewell remains

Although it may seem macabre, examining regurgitated material will provide you valuable clues.

 

chatterbait and regurgitated baitfsh

Here’s a great shot for comparison. We were throwing just the right size that bass were targeting that day.

The tournament is long over. However, the clues my little green guests left me are now carefully cataloged in a journal. They will definitely serve for future fishing trips on that body of water when conditions are similar. It always pays to check your livewell after you release your fish, and look for clues. Although the clues came after the fact, I now have a much better idea of what is going on in that lake and the next time I fish it I won’t be working off of a blank slate.

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