“When you have all these tournaments on these lakes, it puts a lot of stress on the fish, especially if you have a high number of tournaments,” Connect Outdoors CEO and President Ben Arnold said. “So you have all these fishermen on the same spot, and it can put stress on them because what the traditional tournaments are doing is they’re putting the fish in the live well, removing them from their spots and then taking them to the weigh-in location.”
With this in mind, Arnold’s East Tennessee State University-affiliated fishing tech company recently announced a partnership with Tennessee Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) Nation to fundraise and contribute to the organization's conservation efforts and tournaments.
Connect Outdoors will sponsor 13 high school BASS fishing tournaments across the state with 1,800 anglers participating using their ConnectScale technology, which is essentially a “smart fishing scale” that combines wireless technology and a mobile application to digitally record catch data.
Arnold said this allows anglers to “catch the fish and release them to the water right there.”
“It’s really just better for the fish overall,” Arnold said. “All of this ties together to help automate the catch-logging process.”
Connect Outdoors’ Vice President of Tournament Operations Scott Morris said the company hopes their efforts will promote mindful fishing at BASS competitions.
“While they’re doing a regular BASS Nation event, BASS Nation has agreed to let the participants use our scales and do fundraising events on top of what they’re doing,” he said.
“The fundraising aspect is going to be based on what they catch,” he later added. “Let’s say they catch 10 fish that weigh 10 pounds. The donation will come off the poundage of fish.”
Morris said Connect Outdoors and BASS both “have a passion for the conservation of fish,” and added that ConnectScale’s software allows fishers to minimize their impact on aquatic ecosystems.
Morris said releasing the fish immediately helps keep the gene pool in the area stable.
“We’re saying, ‘Hey, there’s an alternative,’” he said. “It’s a different way to manage fishing.”
For more information, visit connectscale.com.