Bladder Deflating
Bass caught in water 35 feet or deeper may have an over-inflated gas bladder (swim bladder).  If
released immediately, the fish can usually swim back down to the proper depth. However, if held for a
period of time in a live well (for example in a bass tournament), the fish tires and its muscles can no
longer compensate for the pressure. One indicator of this condition is that the bass appears to be
bloated with an extended belly; another, and probably the best, is that the bass floats in the livewell or
on the surface of the lake without being able to swim down below the surface.  An over-inflated swim
bladder should be deflated to assist in the healthy release of the bass.  Remember to keep the bass in
water as much as possible during this procedure.  Deflating a bass in a livewell or holding tank is much
easier than trying to do it while leaning out of a boat.
Dorsal Notch