By Chris Schieble
If you are a tournament angler, whether its bass or redfish, you know the difficulties in keeping fish alive during the time of year when water temperatures are at their highest and oxygen levels are at their lowest. Tournament anglers go to great lengths to help keep their fish healthy in the livewell. This may include chemical additives, additional aeration, pure oxygen, and ice to cool down the water. But with more and more anglers competing in tournaments these days, the congestion at the dock can extend the time it takes to bring the fish from your boat’s livewell to the scales. Fortunately, Frabill has come up with another conservation-minded solution: the Frabill three-part weigh bag system.
How the Weigh Bag System Works
The Frabill weigh bag system consists of a soft, reinforced weigh bag, a removable coated inner mesh bag, and a compact portable aerator. The exterior shell of the soft weigh bag is constructed of reinforced PVC. The flat bottom waterproof bag features internal reinforcement to allow it to stand upright. Oversized handles wrap around the bag to fully support the weight of over 11 gallons of water plus fish. The top of the weigh bag closes securely with an oversized zipper, and the outside of the bag has a pocket for the included portable aerator.
They say pictures are worth a thousand words, so these will give you a solid idea of how this system works:
Commitment to Conservation
Frabill made a significant contribution to redfish conservation by donating 50 of the mesh weigh bags to the America’s Redfish Cup presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka Tournaments to be used at the weigh-in. As one component of the weigh bag system, the Frabill mesh bags are built using a micromesh netting that reduces damage to a redfish’s slime coating, while the flat bottom fully supports the full weight of the fish. Redfish Series Tournament anglers transport their redfish to the holding tanks with these bags which helps to minimize mortality of upper slot-sized Redfish. Frabill also donated eight complete weigh bag systems to be raffled off to the anglers for the benefit of introducing them to the new system. The proceeds from the raffle benefit the Wish to Fish Foundation.
This system is a great example of Frabill products that are specifically designed and built to reduce stress on fish, which is something every tournament angler should be interested in.
Likewise, the America’s Redfish Cup is an example of conservation and fishery science entering the tournament realm. Every live redfish that is brought in is measured, weighed, and tagged with an externally-attached anchor tag which includes a visible coding number and phone number. If, at a later date, another angler catches that same redfish all they need to do is measure its overall length in inches and record the GPS coordinates of the location of capture. Then, call in that data to the phone number on the tag. This data is extremely important because it provides useful information on a fish’s growth rate. Critical movement data is also obtained. To date, Frabill has helped the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Redfish Series tag and release 773 healthy redfish back into the estuary; 33 of those have already been recaptured by anglers.
It wasn’t that long ago when redfish were in serious jeopardy as a fishery. Through collaborative efforts of managers, scientists, politicians, anglers, and the industry, the red drum has made one of the most successful rebounds in fishery management history. These conservation efforts continue in part today because of partnerships like America’s Redfish Cup presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Frabill.
Learn more at frabill.com.