Conservation News Elliott continues ‘fizz ed’ campaign Posted on July 14, 2021 Photo: Steve Wright - Barb Elliott has become a fixture at Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments on the St. Lawrence River. For the past five years the New York B.A.S.S. Nation conservation director been available to give an individual, hands-on seminar for anglers. It concerns the best barotrauma procedure, a.k.a., how to fizz a fish. Elliott was positioned under a shade tree at the Whitaker Park takeoff and launch site for all three days of practice. Photo: Steve Wright - Itâs especially important for smallmouth bass on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, where a fish may be caught in various depths that cause its swim bladder to expand as itâs brought to the surface. Elliottâs seminar was required for all newcomers to the Elite Series this year. Several Elite Series veterans came by for a refresher. Here Lee Livesay, in his third season on the Elite Series, and rookie Josh Stracner get instruction from Elliott. Photo: Steve Wright - Justin Atkins wanted to know what the minimum depth was when considering whether to fizz a fish or not. âJust put out of your mind how deep it was,â Elliott said. âThe test is putting them in the livewell and see what they do. They might be in eight feet of water, but they might have just come out of 30 feet five minutes ago. They just donât equalize that fast.â If the fish is having difficulty remaining upright in the livewell, it needs to be fizzed. Photo: Steve Wright - Each Elite Series angler is given a âBarbâs Best Fizz Kit,â which includes two 18-guage needles and accompanying steel reamer wires. In addition to written instructions, the kit includes photos of exactly where to stick the needle in both smallmouth and largemouth bass. Itâs different for each species. Photo: Steve Wright - However, nothing educates like hands-on instruction, especially when it comes to sticking a needle in a fish that youâre trying to keep alive. Here, with Elliott observing, Atkins inserts the needle at an angle under a scale at the proper insertion point. Photo: Steve Wright - Then the needle is lifted into a perpendicular position in relation to the fish, and the reamer is removed, opening a pathway for air pressure to be released through the needle. Photo: Steve Wright - Air pressure flowing through the needle forms bubbles indicating a successful fizz. Another method of fizzing a fish requires sticking a needle down the fishâs gullet, and itâs fraught with peril. âThe problem with fizzing through the mouth is you can puncture all those major organs that are clustered around the gullet,â Elliott said. Photo: Steve Wright - Atkins releases a successfully fizzed smallmouth bass. Conservation has always been a key part of the B.A.S.S. mission statement. Barb Elliott continues to volunteer her time to promote that mission with her âfizz edâ instruction. Elite Series anglers in particular and the St. Lawrence River smallmouth bass fishery in general are beneficiaries of that.Watch a video on fizzing smallmouth bass.