Classic fish care in Houston

B.A.S.S. provides the absolute best fish care possible at every event it holds, from the Costa Bassmaster High School Series all the way up to the Bassmaster Elite Series.

But at the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods March 24-26, the measures will be even more extreme with the anglers and their catch facing a 43-mile commute from Lake Conroe back to Minute Maid Park in Houston.

The stadium is the home of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros – and since the Astros have a home game scheduled just three days after the Classic, anglers and fish alike must remember to keep off the grass at the Minute Maid Park. But B.A.S.S. officials insist that won't keep the organization from continuing its excellent record of fish survival at Classic venues, which typically is 97 to 100 percent, according to National Conservation Director Gene Gilliland.

"We certainly expect to achieve the same level of success at Lake Conroe," Gilliland said. “Every Classic – every situation – is different. But getting those fish safely back to Lake Conroe is our top priority.”

The fish care measures will begin with the 52 anglers competing at 21,000-acre Conroe. Since most of them make their livings catching fish – and none of them wants to incur the 4-ounce penalty charged for weighing a dead fish – they’ll take extreme measures to keep the fish healthy while they’re in their livewells.

"Our anglers are very conscientious when it comes to keeping their fish alive," Gilliland said. "Dead fish mean penalties and, in the most important bass tournament in the world, they don't want any deductions."