Wintertime Swim Bladder Problems in Blues
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  1. #1
    TFer who Posts Some - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
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    Dec 2003
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    Default Wintertime Swim Bladder Problems in Blues

    The Oct/Nov issue of In-fisherman had a swim-bladder article that’s pretty timely for us with the Blues going deeper. This is the start of the time when the blues can have swim bladder expansion issues when you pull them to the surface quickly. When the fish is caught down deep and dragged to the surface, this swim bladder expands to twice (33ft) or three times (66ft) the size it was when the fish was at depth. Air trapped in the swim bladder has no choice but to expand like an internal balloon. The belly will be very, very tight to the touch. If you turn this fish loose without treatment, most likely it will swim away and then "bob" back to the surface upside down. The fish struggles and if it’s unable to correct the pressure inequality it most always will eventually tire, give up, and sometimes it will die.

    Because the catfish has a physostomous swim bladder there is a small pipe connecting the gut to the swim bladder. This means that if the fish "burps" really nicely when he comes aboard, the problem might solve itself. If you see and feel the fish having trouble you can help it relieve this stress by taking a soft piece of hose; mine is a 5/8in soft plastic tubing with no sharp edges and it’s around 2 feet long. Wet your hands and hold the fish gently but firmly on a wet area so it does not flop around and break a fin or something. Open the mouth and very, very gently work the soft hose into the center of the throat area and down into the gullet. Be very careful not to push too hard and rip something in the fish guts. Continue to work the tube into the fish mouth, generally 14-20 inches until you hear a "whoosh" of air down the pipe. The belly should be softer now, not like a puffed up balloon. Be careful to be gentle and don’t jam the tube too far into the back of the stomach. If you feel the tube poking from inside the skin and back of the stomach area, stop and remove the hose...maybe your fish did not need a burp or the whoosh was slow enough you missed it. Be sure and kiss your trophy right on the lips, and let it over the side in the net or slack area. Watch to ensure the stress is gone, and in a minute, that the fish starts fighting the net….Let-em go from the net and know that big blue is unhurt (except for the dent in its pride).

    Pass this information on and stick a short soft hose in your boat tonite. Keep those bigguns healthy so your kids can catch them again....jfo

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  3. #2
    Tidal Fish Subscriber - I'm cool!
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    1,291

    Default Wintertime Swim Bladder Problems in Blues

    JFO you are smarter than the average redneck ! [wink]

  4. #3
    Dedicated TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
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    Mar 2003
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    Default Wintertime Swim Bladder Problems in Blues

    The one time I went fishing with Joe I was amazed at his knowledge about fishing and in general

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  6. #4
    Loyal TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
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    May 2003
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    887

    Default Wintertime Swim Bladder Problems in Blues

    Got the Bluz uses a 4 " pvc pipe his cats are so big.[grin]

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