I NEED A SLABMASTER   3 comments

Guide Kyle Schoenherr, yanks my big crappie from the dip net almost as soon as it is over the boat deck.  He stuffs it in a red plastic sleeve called a Slabmaster.  Once placed on the deck he inserts the needle part of a hypodermic syringe into a slot on the side near the pectoral fin.

 Seconds later it is time to weigh and check the length of the fish.  Weighing 2 pounds plus there is no doubt that it is a keeper on all counts.

 I am familiar with the problems of fish caught from deep down.  Many are jerked to the surface only to quickly die.  Mostly this happens on large bodies of water.  I have seen it happen on Lake Michigan with salmon and on Minnesota and South Dakota lakes with Walleye.

 This is my first exposure to using the technique on southern waters and with crappie in particular. 

The purpose of the procedure is to deflate the air bladder of the fish.  The sudden lifting of a fish from water, in this case 40 feet deep, to the surface causes the air bladder to inflate to the point where the fish suffers a physical exertion similar to the bends in humans.  By puncturing the air bladder the air inside is allow to escape and the fish suffers no physical damage.  It can safely be kept in a live well for weigh-in at a tournament or until released or cleaned at the end of the day.

 I am reminded of the saying that once a need is identified someone will find a solution.  In this cast the need appears to be to keep fish alive for tournament weigh-ins and release alive back into the water.  Along comes well known crappie tournament winner Ronnie Capps.

 Following exhaustive research and record keeping, Capps designed the Slabmaster.  Made of ABS plastic, the fish is placed in the sleeve to hold it in the proper position for the deflation of the air bladder.  While it is still held firmly in place, the length, weight, and age is determined from the data charts on the side of the Slabmaster.  All this is done in a minute or two with no detrimental effect on the fish.

 Slabmasters are sold in retail and catalog fishing tackle company locations.  It can be purchased online from BnM Pole Company (www.bnmpoles.com.)


3 responses to “I NEED A SLABMASTER

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  1. Pingback: I NEED A SLABMASTER | Survival Fishing

  2. Thank you for doing a blog about “fizzing” deep water fish. Funny, it’s called “venting” in saltwater. Either way, it is the right thing to do to reduce released fish mortality. Best wishes for a great 2012.

  3. Great article. its appreciated. thank you for sharing.

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