safety net

SAFETY NET in place allows limited opening to avoid flying smallmouth.

Maybe it will help and maybe it won’t. But when I leave tomorrow for the U.S. Open, I will have scrambled with one more, last-minute concern.

Yesterday it was rub rail removal and screw tightening (with Loctite) plus a 50 cent knob to keep my net from slipping off my console while fishing. Then last night (with the help of my bride of 43 years) I added a mesh netting over the livewell openings.

Truth be told, I’ve never lost a fish that sky-rocketed out of the box when it saw the light of day. But then, I don’t fish many tournaments and, more importantly, I don’t see many smallmouth during the year..

But when I heard Jason Burchfield (fellow competitor from North Vegas) tell his tale of losing a 3-pound leaper by this very escape method, I paid attention.

Easy to find

EASY TO FIND the materials at a home improvement center…

My first response was tongue-in-cheek: suggesting some individual tethers inside the well. But when I thought about the possibility of losing a good one (assuming I caught a good one) I knew nothing could be more devastating in the West’s showcase competition.

Bottom line. We had some nylon mesh in the garage (a project I will get to sometime) so all I needed for my Nitro was a 17- by 22-inch piece and two packs of 4-inch Velcro strips. We figured four strips down each long side and one in the middle.

Lets some light in

MY WELL has no divider so one piece mesh works fine.

The key was someone needed to sew those strips on the mesh–and that’s where that girl I married came in so handy. She handed me back the finished mesh (with the Velcro fuzzy side sewn) and the hook side attached.

Together we pealed off the adhesive portion of the strips and stuck them to the gelcoat around the opening. It makes for a nice safety net (industrial strength Velcro) but in the end, it’s all removable when I go back to being Mr. Casual Bass Guy.

It’s not totally perfect, since my strip placement does not allow lids to be completely flush–close though. But I’ll weigh that against a lost bass.

And I bet after my AAA partner walks around on the back deck for awhile, no one will even notice.


3 Responses to “Last minute livewell safety net”

Not a bad idea, George. I had a bass jump out of the livewell once at Havasu. It got out of my Skeeter livewell while we were motoring to the marina. It was a bouncy ride. I found the bass in the splash well when we stopped inside the marina! Man, I was glad it didn’t flop out of the boat!

I’ve had some try pretty hard to get out, but this lowers the chances of it happening. And if the fish start to jump around in the well, this gives them a “soft side.”

As you know George, I like the “sano” solutions such as yours. But honestly, Bill Siemantel probably has the easiest answer to the problem (one that is also eco-friendly): Simply toss your empty plastic water bottles in the livewell and voila! You’ve got a floating mat of plastic preventing bass from going ballistic. Keep hydrated!!