Job Protection, Preserving the Resource
Job Protection, Preserving the Resource
By Tom Lester II
As a professional angler, though not full time, I find it difficult to
harm, kill or eat that which helps put food on the table. I can’t tell
you how long it has been since I put a bass to the knife that eventually
ended up on my plate. It’s been years. I just can’t bring myself to
destroy something that I earn part of my living on. But, lookout
crappie, trout and white bass!
Preservation and conservation has been a tool of outdoors men and women
for many years. Our parks and wildlife departments throughout the
country place size and bag limits on the game that we harvest. They do
so in an attempt to make sure that there are adequate supplies of game
for our children and their children.
There are numerous organizations that support and finance the
preservation of our game animals such as; Ducks Unlimited, Quail
Unlimited, Wild Turkey Federation and so on. These organizations raise
money to purchase land, thus protecting the habitat for these species of
game animals. Each year millions of dollars are raised by these groups
to ensure the future of the species.
Likewise, many years ago, the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.)
began using a catch and release program for the bass caught by anglers
in their sanctioned tournaments. Once the fish were caught and weighed
in, they were released back into the lake or river from which they
came. It is now mandatory prior to the start of each day during the
tournament, that every boat be equipped with working live well aerators
to help keep the fish alive during the tournament. Additionally, any
angler bringing a dead fish to weigh in is penalized. Most bass fishing
tournaments around the country follow the standard established by
While working in Las Vegas last July at a tackle show, I met a
gentleman working in his booth. In it, he was selling products that
tournament anglers use to measure a fish's length, identify or mark each
fish, carry fish in to weigh in, etc. As I stopped to visit with him
about his products, I learned that he was different than most. His
primary goal was to utilize existing products that were on the market,
but make them more “fish friendly” for anglers that used them. In other
words, he designed his products to protect the fish and not injure them
while weighing them, marking them, comparing them, etc. The name of the
company is Bag-Em Products, LLC. You can visit his web site at
www.bag-em.com to see his line of products.
As an example, his fish markers used for culling, clip on to the fish's
mouth rather than piercing a hole in the fine membrane between the jaw
and face of the fish. Most, if not all other similar products, require
piercing this membrane that could possible become infected causing harm
to the fish. The weigh in bags are black in color. This is not to hide
the fish from other anglers or spectators, rather, his research shows
that a bass will relax and remain calm in a black bag reducing the risk
of injuring itself.
The Bag-Em balance boards used to compare fish for culling are also
black for the same reason. Additionally, the balance boards utilize a
small black bag that the fish are inserted into tail first. This too,
calms the fish and eliminates the need to pierce the jaw of the fish to
get a clip in the fish's mouth to attach it to the board. Again, this
reduces the chance of infection and injury to the fish.
As an avid angler, I really like the concept of returning our resource
back into the habitat with as little damage as possible. It only makes
since to care for the fish as best we can so they will be there to be
Although I received a few of the Bag-Em products to try at no cost, I
would like to make it very clear that the company does not compensate me
in any way to endorse their products. I sincerely believe in the
results of the research conducted by this company and the positive
impact using this type of product can have on our resource. I have
witnessed first hand that fish remain calmer and healthier using these
products and that benefits all of us.
Remember, I we don’t take care of our game and make sure there will be
some there for our kids and their kids, who will?
Until next time, enjoy the great outdoors.
Tom Lester II