Keep your kids involved in fishing!

Keep your kids involved in fishing!

How to Keep your kids involved in fishing

 

 

As a father and an avid fisherman, you dream of passing down your knowledge to your kids, especially when it comes to fishing. I know for myself, I didn’t care if I had a boy or a girl, he or she will be justin4coming fishing with me! I had a few friends tell me that taking kids fishing is a ton of work and that I should wait until they are around 8 or 10 years old before taking them out with me…..I don’t think so! Listen, being a parent isn’t easy, it’s a full time job on it’s on, so why not invest the time and energy while they are small to teach them about the outdoors, to teach them about being a kid and best of all, teach them about fishing! Here are a few tips for parents to introduce their kids to the sport without making them hate it and without causing your stress level to sky rocket!

Introduction of Fishing:Justin1

As a father of 2 girls, I learned a few tricks to keep my kids interested in my passion, I am not trying to force them into the sport, just want them to enjoy it with me and let them make their own decisions on whether or not they would come back out with me!

Justin2

With my first daughter, I took her out on the boat when she was 2 years old, some think that is way too young, I think it’s a perfect age. There are a few important things to remember when taking kids out on the boat. First is finding the proper life jacket that fits, make sure you try it on before and that they are comfortable wearing it before you head out. I made my daughter wear it while we were in the back yard playing on the slide and swing just so she gets used to it. I also let her play in the boat in the driveway and teach her where things are and what not to touch. Tell them to pick their seat and make a big deal that this seat will belong to them each time they come out. Another great tip is to let them use their fishing rod at the house, teach them how to use it and what she will be doing once we are out there.

One of the most important part that I found that is the difference between a short miserable time on the water or a short enjoyable time on the water are snacks and toys! Kids get bored fast, don’t think that your kids will stay out there for a couple hours holding their fishing rod and not say a word, that just doesn’t happen, at least not with mine! So I’ll pack them all their favorite snacks, toys and coloring books, this will help them keep busy while the fish aren’t biting. Avoid taking any electronics out there for them to play with, I see people take their kids out and the dad is fishing and the kids are watching a movie on the tablet or playing video games. Kids can do that at home, try and separate the two if you can.

Once you catch a fish, teach them how to handle it, talk to them about the kind of fish you have and show them the characteristics of the fish. If you have a good live well or are planning on keeping the fish, put it in there so your kids can have fun watching it swim, they will play with it and have a great time, this will help them with the whole experience. If you are releasing the fish, talk to them on the importance of handling the fish carefully and let them release it with you. Make sure you explain why you are releasing the fish or why you are keeping it.

 

Some people may not agree on this next part but I find that this is very important. If you kept a few fish for dinner, get your kids to watch you fillet them, get them involved in what you are doing. I know some people think it’s gross and kids shouldn’t see that but for me, kids need to see that fish doesn’t just show up in a box or a can, this process needs to happen and they should know how that process works. I am lucky enough that my girls are interested in watching me fillet a fish and teach them about parts of the fish. I give my daughter a pair of gloves and she touches the fish and she starts asking me questions about it. I will ask my daughter if she wants to know what the fish was eating, it’s always a yes for her! So we play a game of “how many minnows does the fish have inside” All of this sounds disturbing for some but again, it’s getting your kids involved in the entire process and experience.

Some people may not agree on this next part but I find that this is very important. If you kept a few fish for dinner, get your kids to watch you fillet them, get them involved in what you are doing. I know some people think it’s gross and kids shouldn’t see that but for me, kids need to see that fish doesn’t just show up in a box or a can, this process needs to happen and they should know how that process works. I am lucky enough that my girls are interested in watching me fillet a fish and teach them about parts of the fish. I give my daughter a pair of gloves and she touches the fish and she starts asking me questions about it. I will ask my daughter if she wants to know what the fish was eating, it’s always a yes for her! So we play a game of “how many minnows does the fish have inside” All of this sounds disturbing for some but again, it’s getting your kids involved in the entire process and experience.Justin3

Always remember that safety is #1, never take your eyes off of them in the boat, make sure that they are always wearing their life jacket, and if you can, make sure you are too to show a good example.

Remember to keep the few first trips short, a couple hours is plenty for their first time. Don’t get discourage, they are kids. Keep it fun, entertaining and educational for them and I promise you that you will be making memories that will last a lifetime!

 

Justin Girard-Exist To Fish Canada Writer

Justin Girard-Exist To Fish Canada Writer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All fish images featured in this article were caught and released in the Kawartha’s Northumberland region of Ontario Canada!! Come see for yourself!

The Jig is up! Selecting The Correct Jig for Walleye Fishing

The Jig is up! Selecting The Correct Jig for Walleye Fishing

The jig is up! Selecting the correct jig for walleye fishing.  

Walleye Uncovered: Hot Winter Tactics

Exist To Fish Canada Writer Aaron Jolicoeur

It’s no secret that jig fishing is an effective method of catching walleye, but there is more to it than just tying on a jig and throwing it into the water. The jig has become a staple in every walleye anglers toolbox, and for good reason, there are few lures with the versatility of a jig. Whether you are vertical jigging a minnow on top of a school of fish, or ripping jigs through the weeds, there are subtleties that can turn a good day on the water into a great one !

 

Size: The size of your jig is important to consider. You want to select a jig that is heavy enough to get your bait down to the fish, but no so heavy that it is cumbersome to fish with. For most vertical jigging applications a ¼ or 3/8 oz jig is ideal. However, if you are fishing in heavy wind or swift current you may want to choose a heavier head, ½ to 1oz, to keep it down and maintain good bottom contact and feel with your rod.

 

 

Shape: the shape of your jig is not always the first factor considered by anglers, but a bit of thought into this can save you some frustration, and put more fish in the boat. Fishing deep rock piles can be deadly for walleye, and few baits work as good as a jig. The problem with jigging rocks for walleye is snags, it happens to everyone, whether they care to admit it or not. But can your jig choice result in less snags? yes. Round jigs will often get caught up between the cracks and gaps between rocks, but a flat sided button jig is the perfect choice for this application. The slender profile will allow your jig to move easier through the rocky structure, which means less time tying on a new jig and more time with your bait in the water.

 

 

Color: The color of your jig may be the least important factor to consider when trying to dial in a walleye jig bite, but there is something to it. Generally speaking, start with a bright attracting color such as orange, yellow, or chartreuse. If you are marking fish but they are reluctant to hit the bright jig, go with a more natural color like brown or black. The most popular color of jig for walleye fisherman though, would be white. White is easily seen underwater by fish, but is not too loud or offensive to be refused by a passing walleye.

 

 

The Hook: The hook used in your jig is crucial. A good quality hook will stay sharp much longer than a cheap one. Good hooks are also harder and stronger, which means they will not bend and straighten when under the load of a big fish. The shape of the hook is also an important factor, if you are using large minnows, bait or plastics, a wider gap will catch more fish. With the hook point further away from the shank of the hook, it will grab, penetrate and hold big fish better than a small gap hook. Another option to consider is a sickle hook. Sickle hook jigs will out-fish a standard gap jig any day. Fish will stay pinned better and result in more fish in the boat and less short strikes and stolen minnows.

 

 

All fish images featured in this article were caught and released in the Kawartha’s Northumberland region of Ontario Canada!! Come see for yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

Drop Shot Crappie!

Drop Shot Crappie!

Fishing during the month of May here in the Ontario Kawartha’s Northumberland region is truly an exciting time of year for any angler.  The trees are finally starting to show their leaves, birds are returning from their southern seasonal residence and the lakes and rivers seem to be buzzing with fish activity.

 This particular trip was no different. Aside from the nasty approaching cold front we were seemingly caught directly in the middle of. Let’s take a trip back to the previous weekend… A weekend that yielded beautiful warm weather, moderate winds and great company from a couple of very old friends.

 

We had planned to target Pike during this trip but upon launching the boat I quickly discovered that I had forgotten to load my two carry on tackle bags. The bags that literally contained ALL of my Pike fishing arsenal.  We made due with what we happened to have tied on and landed half a dozen nice Pike before deciding to venture to the other end of the lake to check “the spot” in hopes that the Crappie had moved in.

 

 

crappie2

Magnificent Kawartha’s Northumberland specimens!

crappie8Now.. Most of you have caught crappies.. And in most cases they are in numbers in shallow back bays this time of year. A pile of cookie cutter fish in the 10-12″ range with the occasional 13+ incher. Always a great time! This particular lake is different. The fish behave the same for the most part. Suspend in the basin during the ice season, stage prior to spawn and move shallow when the time is right. But they are not in the big schools that we are spoiled by in most other lakes in the region.  They are in pairs here. Pairs or at best 2 males and 1 female. And they are massive!! Every single one of them have the biggest set of shoulders I have ever seen. Average fish is 15″ in length and two inches wide at the shoulders. And they get bigger with fish in the 16 and even 17″ range! That’s right! I said it! 17 inches of leviathan crappie!  I can remember the first time I ever saw one.. It was paired up with an 18″ largemouth bass cruising in “the spot”… I did a double take! I naturally assumed initially that it was also a bass given its size and proximity to the largemouth it had befriended.  “That’s a crappie!!” I said loudly. My fishing partner at the time questioned my comment until we saw them again. Just cruising around the area. Literally the biggest Crappie I had ever laid eyes on.

 

 

crappie4

This led us to believe that our methods from the previous weekend (fan casting and swimming plastics) would not suffice this time around

On this day.. They were “in”. And by that I mean they were present in “the spot” in numbers. We eased in fan casting the area with very light and small plastics when it happened! I set the hook into what felt like bottom until the head shakes started and up came her head and body to the surface!  A THICK 15+ inch female found the bottom of our net to which both of my old friends jaws dropped and almost in unison they said “that is the biggest crappie I have ever seen!” The Talons were deployed and we continued to fan cast the area landing PB after PB all the while loading the live-well in an attempt to not spook the targets.  A day none of us will soon forget. After posing for a few photos we promptly released each and every one in the exact place we removed them from in an effort to preserve this anomaly. I’m not averse to keeping a few fish for a meal but believe me when I tell you. These were not eaters. These were breeders for a very small and fragile population.

 

 

Needless to say we planned to come back the following weekend to further enjoy these monsters before they evacuated the area. And wouldn’t you know it. The night before our trip back to slab town played host to the first BIG cold front of the season. I’m talking about a 15 to 20 degree swing in air temp which yielded wind, rain, and a decrease in water temp of approx. 10 degrees.. Shallow fish and cold front do not mix well! So.. We decided to give it a shot. A day on the water is better than a day of work right?!

 

crappie3

The original hand poured X ZONE SHIVER SHAD The X Zone SHIVER SHAD minnow profile is world famous for catching monster smallmouth, walleye for both recreation and tournament anglers alike. Hand-poured and salt impregnated for incredible action and fish holding ability. Drop shot it or rig it with your favorite jig head.

crappie1

Matzuo’s® DropShot Swivel Hook features a swivel in the eye, that allows the hook to rotate completely around 360 degrees without creating any line twist attracting fish to strike. Our super Sharp point allows for deeper hook penetration and holds fish firmly. The Drop Shot Hook provides the most in a natural presentation.

Off we went.. Questioning our decision from the get go as the wind and rain seemed to worsen as we reached our destination. Not to mention the temperature also seemed to be dropping even more so.  We made our way to “the spot” only to find that the fish had seemingly left the area. Insert sad face. Until! I spotted one hugging bottom at the base of an emergent Lilly pad. After quite literally swimming my bait in front of her face for what seemed like an eternity she finally tentatively accepted the offering and she was in the net.  This led us to believe that our methods from the previous weekend (fan casting and swimming plastics) would not suffice this time around. The fish were relating to available cover and tight to the bottom.  This brought me to quickly tie up a rig that I typically use for Smallmouth bass fishing during the tournament season. A drop shot rig. I knew this would allow me to place the bait with precision in and around the newly emergent lily pads in the area that seemed to be holding the fish.  Not only was I able to place the offering exactly where it needed to be, but I could also impart action to entice the strike while pounding the bait directly on the spot instead of making the fish chase. They wouldn’t come to me, so I went to them! And boy did it pay off!! This was exactly what the Dr ordered! Fish after fish hit the deck nearly matching the performance we had put on the weekend prior! The ability to stay back off the fish and place the offering on their nose and leaving it there was just what they needed.. Just a little extra time to have a look and cruise on up for the take.

 

Don’t stay home on the nasty days! Get out there! Enjoy this beautiful region! And change your approach to match the mood of your targeted species! A drop shot is a fantastic choice for pressured or neutral fish everywhere. Don’t be afraid to use it on all species!

 

All of the fish images used in this article were caught and taken in the beautiful Kawartha’s Northumberland region of Ontario.

crappie5

 

 

 

Product Review: Kamooki Smartcraw

Product Review: Kamooki Smartcraw

Date: 5/13/16
Product type: Lipless Crankbait
Manufacturer: Kamooki Lures ltd.
Reviewer: Jamie Wilson

 

smartcraw red

The Kamooki SmartCraw® features a deeply textured, naturally robust crawfish body and assumes a natural head-down, tail-up profile when its unique, precision engineered zinc keel rests on any structure.

 

 

 

We all have our top five favorite baits, or go-to presentations that we have come to count on throughout the season that will get minor tweaks and adjustments to suit our needs. Generally, we have abundance of sizes, weights, colors and techniques in our back pockets that we deem useful that can actually convolute the situation and overwhelm us. As an angler that has been around the block a few times I look for baits that can be presented in a variety of ways without the having to re-rig constantly to ultimately deduce a “pattern”. Imagine one rod/reel/line combo with a multitude of possibilities at the end of your line. Can a single bait type achieve this? Well, this one can. Kamooki Lures Ltd. has created both the “Smartfish” and “Smartcraw” to cover just about every possible baitfish imitation and presentation an angler might consider. Let’s take a closer look at where the “Smartcraw” fits into our repertoire shall we?

 

 

 

(Kamooki Smartcraw) Specifications
Type Lipless crankbait/rattlebait
Length 3”
Weight ½ oz
Material
Hooks Premium black nickel VMC treble
Colors 6 colors
Origin Alberta, Canada
MSRP $12.99 Canadian funds
Smartcraw pike

When retrieved, the SmartCraw® displays a wide lazy wobble with accentuated side to side motion. The SmartCraw® is specifically designed to emit a natural clicking sound. When the SmartCraw® is vertically jigged, it vibrates as the rod tip is raised and slowly flutters down when the rod tip is dropped – all the while tracing forward in a circular pattern.

 

The Kamooki Smartcraw is incredibly innovative and beyond unique, but as far as quality is concerned I can’t speak highly enough about it. So much thought was put into creating this fine crankbait as it has become, in my opinion, the gold standard in modern hardbait manufacturing. The finish and level of detail are what you would come to expect from lures retailing for twice the retail price. The Smartcraw comes equipped with an oval split ring and a high end black nickel VMC treble hook. Oh, and I forgot mention the ultra-premium rattles didn’t I? Once again, Kamooki Lures ltd. has pulled out all the stops in quality and of course sound. One thing to note is the patented forward weighted, precisely crafted zinc keel which I will expand upon shortly. Lead is harmful to the environment while zinc is not so do no fret as you will not be contaminating our lakes with either the Kamooki Smartcraw or Smartfish.

 

Quality Ratings for (Kamooki Smartcraw)
Finish(1-5) Level of Detail(1-5) Hardware(1-5) Craftsmanship(1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest )
5 5 5 5 20 20 10
Smartcraw lineup

The astonishing properties of the SmartCraw® are all utilized when fishing bottom structure. Bounce it along the bottom from one point to the next, accurately simulating the true motion and resting position of a crawfish, unlike any other hard bait. The single treble hook design attached to the tip of the claws, coupled with the constant vertical position, make the SmartCraw® remarkably snag-resistant.

 

 

When I first laid my eyes on both the Smartfish and the Smartcraw I was astounded, speechless and excited. These lures were on display in a tank and one thing was absolutely jaw dropping; these lures perfectly balanced themselves in an upright position on tiny points of contact such as a corner of a rock, wooden limbs and even a small balloon. The next thing that I noticed was the Smartfish were dancing back and forth in the current created by the circulating pump. With this seemed to mimic was a baitfish feeding along the bottom. Later in the year I was informed that Kamooki Lures was coming out with the Smartcraw and that’s when the light went off in my head, its position at rest would mimic a crawfish perfectly.

One thing I am always mindful of is the use of “triggers” when targeting any sportfish. The Smartcraw creates the ultimate “trigger” which is the defensive position of a Crawfish. You see, when a Bass, Walleye or Pike spots a Craw standing with its claws upright like a boxer ready to fight the response is simple, it’s time to eat or at the very least show them who’s boss. This upright position is achieved by the patented forward weighted, bottom heavy design verses its neutrally buoyant qualities. Castability with minimal energy is of no concern as the Smartcraw can be tossed a country mile while the feel and ease of use gets top honors. Either deadstick the Smartcraw or bounce them along bottom, it’s that simple.

Both the super durable body and hardware will stand up against the rigors of any situation you put it through. Bounce it or drag the Smartcraw over rocks, gravel, sand or submerged wood without a care in the world and this lure will stand the test of time and beyond. Monstrous Walleye, huge Bass and veracious toothy Pike are simply no match for this super tough lipless rattling crankbait.

Performance Ratings (Kamooki Smartcraw)
Castability(1-5) Ease of Use(1-5) Quality of Action (1-5) Position at Rest (1-5) Durability (1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest )
5 5 5 5 5 25 25 10

 

Every Smartcraw has performed exactly as advertised out of the box for me. Day in, day out I always count on these lures to continue to create a level of realism only found in nature. The natural action, the anatomically correct claws, eyes and body amour truly achieve a presentation so believable, any fish will be fooled during even the harshest of fronts and conditions. Kamooki has rolled out a 1/2oz version of the Smartcraw and I see no need for any major changes. My theory is that a 3” craw is the perfect meal for say, a Smallmouth or a Walleye as this size of meal can be easily digested. One example of this is when I decided to keep a Walleye for table fare. I was shocked to see over a dozen Crawfish in its belly and not one of them exceeded 2-3 inches. That being said, the size and weight are the perfect all around presentation for everything that favors Crawfish. As this is a very young company, more sizes may be added but for now, I’m more than happy with the 3” 1/2oz version.

 

  Consistency(1-5) Weight(1-5) Realism (1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest )
5 4 5 14 15 10

 

The selling point of the Smartcraw for me is the fact that it obviously lends itself to bottom contact/orientation. The most important aspect here is that I do not fish the Smartcraw more than 6” off bottom. Really, I will only swim it periodically as bouncing it on rocks, sand and gravel seems to be the most effective way to entice Bass, Walleye etc. The clacking sound of the zinc keel coupled with the rattles call fish in from great distances while the erratic wobble sends out vibrations along with a visual cue that drives fish into an absolute frenzy. I will drag/bounce the Smartcraw along and add an erratic pause cadence, allowing it to stand up periodically, mimicking the defensive position I mentioned earlier. This is the key to triggering a response, day in, day out. Color wise, all of the variations has its time and place. Early in the year Craws can be light and vibrant, mid-season they may be more of a muted tone and as the season progresses, Craws can become much darker, blue, purples and dark browns and even black. Kamooki Lures has created color patterns to suit your needs throughout the season in every freshwater lake, river or steam that hold Craws.

Water clarity is an important factor. I encounter muddy, murky water I will go with the gaudy “Inferno” or the high contrasted “Black Fury”, while in clear water I’ll lean towards a natural pattern such as “Purple Rain” or “Envy”. For dusk periods I lean on the dark red “Cayenne” Smartcraw and if I’m fishing in deep water or late in the season on the great lakes I’ll fish the vibrant blue “Cobalt Crunch”. Basically, if a Bass or Walleye coughs up a craw, take a close look and match the color accordingly as all the Smartfish variations have their time and place.

 

 

(Kamooki Smartcraw) Collective Final Rating
Construction/Quality 10  
Performance 10  
Price 10
Features 10
Design (Ergonomics) 10
Application 10  
Total Score 60
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = MUST HAVE  

 

 Well, I have only received a couple perfect grades or scores in my life and I have only given one and this is it. The Kamooki Smartcraw perfectly mimics a crawfish in both its defensive and bottom oriented positions. The castability, action and color patterns are effective and so unique. What else can I say? This is my go-to Crawfish imitator from now to eternity, that’s it, that’s all. I’m counting down the days until I’m sitting on a typical Crawfish haunt, Bass, Walleye beware.

See you out there.

Jamie Wilson

Jamie WIlson- Exist To Fish Lead Writer Editor

Jamie WIlson- Exist To Fish Lead Writer Editor

 

Livewell? or Death Trap?

Livewell? or Death Trap?

Livewell or Deathtrap

The open water season is here so I thought I would share some tips that I have learned through my experience in changing the deathtrap in my boat into a livewell. Let’s touch on some of the products that I’ve used to treat the water and air in my livewell system over the years, and some new products on the market that I am eyeing.

 

If you have fished tournaments in the past and have lost fish in your livewell, here are some products for your and tips to help you keep your fish alive going forward. You might not have the biggest or fastest boat however, weighing in live fish will obviously be a key contributing factor to your tournament success.

 

Many studies have been done to measure oxygen levels in livewells which has pushed manufactures to produce new products over the years to ensure that our catches stay alive and are successfully released after a day in our livewells. The simple, basic way to add more usable oxygen into a livewell is to pump in more saturated surface water, replacing the stagnant water that has depleted oxygen levels.

Livewell largie

The Power Aerator system works by drawing air through a piece of tubing at the top of the bar into the water stream. The water stream draws air from the livewell airspace and then mixes with the water that in turn, shoots down to the lower part of the livewell.

The amount of oxygen depends on the amount of water being pumped in, water temperature and the way it enters the livewell. The first lesson that I learned was that the addition of a spray bar would add more dissolved oxygen. By simply turning the spray bar towards the side of the livewell did two things. First, it prevented spraying across the surface of water thus removing the protective slime coat from the fish that were holding near the topside. Second, was the stream could now push the oxygen deeper into the livewell allowing for better oxygen dissolving. Another thing you could do is change your livewell pump to a larger one. This will allow for richer oxygen levels by, again, pushing the oxygen/water mixture deeper into the livewell which will increase the flow of saturated, non-stagnant water. A few years later I changed my spray bar after reading an article about the Power Aerator.

 

The Power Aerator system works by drawing air through a piece of tubing at the top of the bar into the water stream. The water stream draws air from the livewell airspace and then mixes with the water that in turn, shoots down to the lower part of the livewell. The problem with both the spray bar and power aerator was that they used the air in the live well between the lid and water line. I quickly learned that this air space would become depleted making them ineffective after about a half an hour of running. To solve this problem I would have to open the livewell lid every twenty minutes allowing for fresh air to enter.

 

Liewell Smallie2

After purchasing and installing a pair of the V-T2 livewell vents I decided to do my own test with them. Some of the testimonials on the V-T2 NewPro products website are on both Large and Smallmouth Bass, one on Crappie and one on Blue Catfish, but I could hardly wait to try it out on Walleye

During a day of fishing in my friend Craig’s Bass Boat, I heard this hissing sound and asked him what it was. Craig explained it was an air intake line. The next day I vented the air tube of the Power Aerator outside of the livewell, and problem solved.  Both of these systems work well as long as you don’t have a long run to make as they weren’t designed to pick up fresh water while on plane. To make matters even worse, if the run is a rough one you would lose some of the water in your livewell, lowering oxygen levels and in turn causing stress, damage and worse-case scenario, higher mortality rates. In tournaments, penalties for mortality can cost you thousands of dollars so a solution to this problem had to be found. After reading an article one day, I learned that a fresh water pick up system was the solution to both of these problems. Let’s take a look at two water pick up products by H-T Marine.

 

The first one is designed to pick up water to provide to an aerator pump yet it has pressure relief holes to prevent overpowering smaller pumps. The second one is their EZ Pump™ Advanced Water Pick-Up System that comes in three sizes and fits most applications. Both come with simple installation instructions, and both scoop water while maintaining a supply of water to the aerator pump while on plane.  Many anglers are now leaving their livewell pumps on, blocking their overflow holes in their livewells to prevent the water from draining out. By doing this, it now prevents the loss of dissolved oxygen and, the fish from slushing around and being injured. Important to note is that 20 pounds of fish in a 20 gallon livewell will reduce the water volume by 2 gallons. Now factor in the loss of water in rough water and you are now looking at 10 to 15 gallons in total volume. You can see the advantages of having a fresh water scoop to help keep your water/oxygen level up and your fish safe from injury.  Another factor I keep in mind is ambient heat raising the water temperature thus lowering oxygen levels causing the fish undo stress and potential mortality. I also learned that keeping the lid closed causes the build-up of metabolic gases and waste which in turn adds to the problem. To prevent this from happening I would have to open the livewell lid every half hour, again, to allow for the gases to escape and for fresh cooler air to enter.  In recent years a product has been made to eliminate this from happening. The product is called V-T2 by New Pro Products. The product is a venting system that is simple and easy to install. It helps the heat to escape, and increases the circulation of air while cooling the livewell with the boats movement. It also helps with oxygen levels and the removal of metabolic gases that build up over the course of the day. Also, the vent is designed to prevent water from spilling out of it which is of obvious importance.

 

After purchasing and installing a pair of the V-T2 livewell vents I decided to do my own test with them. Some of the testimonials on the V-T2 NewPro products website are on both Large and Smallmouth Bass, one on Crappie and one on Blue Catfish, but I could hardly wait to try it out on Walleye. Since Walleye are not as hardy and resilient as Bass and my livewell is on the smaller end (19 gallon) I figured this would be a great test for the V-T2 vents. To make it even tougher I filled my livewell with two limits (8 fish) of 12 to 14 inch Walleye (Smaller fish use more oxygen than larger fish do) I didn’t add any additives to my livewell to calm the fish either so they were in their natural state for upwards of eight hours. The only thing that I did was run my livewell pump the duration of the time when not on plane.  I used them during the spring, summer and fall, in all weather conditions, water conditions and temperatures. Walleye were also caught in various depths during the season with some caught in deeper than 23 feet of water. I actually had fish clips attached to their fins to keep them upright in the livewell until they were able to swim upright on their own. I am happy to report that I never lost a fish all season and they were very active and healthy at the end of the day.

Livewell Smallie

As a matter of fact Scott Martin 2015 Angler of the Year FLW Pro Tour stated in a video that he was glad that he had installed the V-T2 vents into his live well lids as they helped in him win the AOTY title, a huge endorsement from one of the best in the business

As a matter of fact Scott Martin 2015 Angler of the Year FLW Pro Tour stated in a video that he was glad that he had installed the V-T2 vents into his live well lids as they helped in him win the AOTY title, a huge endorsement from one of the best in the business.   Last but not least, the latest product on the market is called The Oxygenator. The only time that I saw one at work was during a week of pre fishing for a tournament that I fishing out of my friends Ranger 620 Walleye boat. During that week we never lost a single fish, minnow or leech that was in the livewell. We left the Oxygenator running all night and we never lost a single live bait. On our ride to the tournament which was a six hour drive, we put our bait in the livewell with the Oxygenator running. After arriving and unloading the truck we checked the livewell and all the bait was alive and the battery wasn’t drained. For more information on how the Oxygenator works I suggest you check out their website. If you were considering fishing tournaments this year and worry about keeping your fish alive, this look at the different options available on the market today should help boost your confidence in storing fish. Remember it’s called a livewell, not a deathtrap.

Jamie Wilson- Exist To Fish Canada Lead Writer/Editor

Jamie Wilson- Exist To Fish Canada Lead Writer/Editor

Exist To Fish Canada Writer David Reid

Exist To Fish Canada Writer David Reid

 

 

 

 

 

 

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