How long can a Bass be out of water and still survive a release?

How long can a Bass be out of water and still survive a release?

There are a lot of things that go into determining how long a bass will survive out of the water, and the biggest factor is the heat. Just like us, fish rely on oxygen and other gases to survive. In fact, if we could figure out how to support the very fragile gills of the bass out of water in the same way they are supported in the water, we would theoretically have bass that live on land! But that’s not the case. The bass’s gills are so fragile that they simply stick together out of water too much to let any oxygen into the bloodstream, so what we’re asking here is “how long can a bass hold its breath and still go on to live to the next catch?” Any responsible catch and release boat fisher must be sure to come prepared with a good, working, properly-aerated livewell. Just remember to adjust for the temperature, as water that is too hot may need to be cooled in order to accept the oxygen that is being aerated into the water. One way to do this on especially hot days is to add blocks of ice to the water. Anything that keeps stress off of the bass when you catch it keeps stress off of you and other fishers in the area later on down the road, because it will surely mean another catch that didn’t bite the dust too soon due to improper handling. The real subject to explore here is how fast you can get the catch in good water. The bass can live out of water for as long as 15-20 minutes, but that doesn’t mean that it will go on to live a healthy life, especially on a hot day.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow bass fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on bass fishing since 2004.

One Response to “How long can a Bass be out of water and still survive a release?”

  1. MIKE O'Neil says:

    I reasently just caught a bass in a kyack and could not get the hook out so i loosend the string and brought him ashore to get it out when i got it out he went back into the water but didnt move for a secong then i poked him and he scatterd beneath the leaves do you think he was ok.

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