Effects of Bait Type and Hooking Location on Post-release Mortality of Largemouth Bass

We compared post-release mortality of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) caught with treble hook lures, soft plastic worms, and live common carp (Cyprinus carpio). Also, we evaluated relations between mortality, bait type, anatomical hooking location, bleeding occurrence, and fish total length (TL). Thirty fish were caught with each bait type during each of 2 angling events conducted at Lake Umphrey, Texas, during August 1995, tagged and held for 72 hours in a cage located in the lake. Mortality ranged from 13% to 33% across bait types and angling events and was not related to bait type for fish caught during either angling event. However, hooking location was related to mortality and bait type. Throat-hooked fish experienced greater mortality (48%) than fish hooked in the gill (17%) and mouth (20%). Fish caught with plastic worms were more likely to be hooked in the throat than fish caught with the other bait types. Bleeding occurrence was related to mortality and hooking location, but not bait type. Fifty percent of bleeding fish died, whereas 20% of fish not bleeding died. Bleeding was more frequent for fish hooked in the throat (48%) and gill (50%) than for fish hooked in the mouth (1%). Probability of mortality offish caught with treble hook lures decreased as fish TL (mm) increased. For fish caught with the other bait types, a relationship between fish TL and mortality was not detected. Results of our study suggest that a bait type restriction probably would not result in an overall decrease in largemouth bass post-release mortality because differences in mortality were not significant across bait types.

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