Brook Johnson was concerned that bass in his Indiana lakes were getting stressed from the constant handling at numerous tournaments during the summer.
"I know everyone tries to be gentle with the fish, and that's good," said Johnson, who recently bought purchased the Gator Grip company. "But it still bothers me how much fish get handled at tournaments. There had to be a better way."
So he developed it. In fact, BASS officials liked Gator Grip's new Professional Series Weigh Bag system so much that it's being utilized on Bassmaster Tournament Trail this season. Why? Because it incorporates a heavy-duty carrying bag for transporting fish from the livewell to the weigh-in scales and a mesh insert that makes it easier to remove the fish.
The outer shell looks like most weigh-in bags utilized by tournament circuits. But the Pro Series Bag is made of durable, reinforced fabric and has a marine grade zipper and strong handles. It also is coated to resist punctures from fish fins.
The removable mesh insert made of reinforced rubberized mesh is what really sets it apart from other systems. When an angler sacks his fish, he places them in the mesh bag that tucks neatly inside the woven poly-vinyl exterior bag which retains water until he gets to the scales.
"If there are recirculating water tanks at the weigh-in, anglers can remove the mesh bag and hold it in the tank, which keeps the fish cooler and in better condition than holding them in stale livewell water while waiting to weigh-in," Johnson said.
Or, if there are no holding tanks, he can remove the mesh liner containing his fish and present it to the weighmaster. At BASS events, the fish are weighed in the mesh liner to reduce one more handling procedure. The liner is certified to weigh 0.35 pound.
"After they're weighed, the angler puts the mesh bag back into the water filled bag and carries them back to the lake for release," he said.