How to Deflate a Bass Air Bladder

Location: Picture a line on the bass from the dorsal notch to the anal opening. The dorsal notch is the notch between the spiny dorsal fin and the soft rayed dorsal fin. Locate the sensor line above the lateral line and count down 5-7 scale rows along the imaginary line.

Technique: Gently lift up a scale and insert a suitable length hypodermic needle into the flesh. Be sure to tilt the needle so that it enters the bass at a 45 degree angle - The needle should be penetrating towards the front of the bass. The needle will have to penetrate approximately half the thickness of the fishsince the air bladder is in the center of the bass.

Tips: Place the bass in a livewell with Catch & Release for 5-10 minutes before deflating. This will calm the fish and stimulate the protective mucous coating. After initially penetrating the flesh with the needle, submerge the fish under water in your livewell so you can see bubbles come out oas the gas escapes. This way there's no doubt.