This study evaluated how different angling practices affect the short‐term post‐release behaviour of nest‐guarding male black bass, Micropterus spp. Male largemouth bass, M. salmoides (Lacepède), and smallmouth bass, M. dolomieu(Lacepède), were angled from their nests and subjected to treatments designed to simulate a variety of common angling practices associated with catch‐and‐release angling, including fishing tournaments. In addition, some nests had broods reduced (removal of the majority of the eggs or fry from the nest) during the angling treatments to simulate predation of offspring during the angling event. Fish subjected to procedures simulating fishing tournaments (including a 1‐h livewell confinement and release 100 m from the nest) exhibited significantly longer rest periods prior to returning to their nest than did other treatment groups. This rest period was longer for largemouth bass than smallmouth bass. Brood removal and air exposure increased abandonment rates compared with controls. These results show that sublethal stressors inherent in some angling practices (such as air exposure and livewell confinement) may delay the return of male black bass to their nest. In the presence of nest predators, the delay in return time could result in increased nest abandonment.
Snorkel surveys, PVC markers used for nests