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Bait Program Q&A

What is the BAIT program?

Since its inception in 1986, the objective of the BAIT (Bass Anglers Information Team) program has been to gather information from bass club tournament organizers regarding their individual tournament catch results. The information provided to our agency by participating clubs is used to supplement the data collected, typically via electrofishing, by fisheries biologists with the Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division to make informed management decisions.

What are the benefits of BAIT participation?

Participating in the BAIT program allows tournament organizers and anglers to participate in data collection and black bass management efforts with our agency. Published results in the annual BAIT report also provide valuable information for tournament planning. Since fishing quality can be cyclical and may vary considerably from one season to the next, these reports can be used as a tool for the strategic scheduling of tournaments to increase the potential of angler success. Information in these reports also allows anglers to better understand their chances of achieving a particular goal (i.e., catching a big bass) by studying past catch data on a particular water body.

What types of information do BAIT reports contain?

Annual BAIT reports summarize bass tournament catch data based on five “fishing quality” indicators. These include: (1) percent success or the percentage of anglers with one or more bass at the weigh-in, (2) average bass weight, (3) number of bass per angler-day, (4) pounds of bass per angler-day, and (5) hours required to catch a bass five pounds or larger. BAIT reports also rank each reservoir for these annual fishing quality metrics. Historical trend data and a statewide summary of monthly catch data are also included, which allows anglers to review how a particular reservoir has performed over time and how angling success in Alabama can fluctuate seasonally.

How are Alabama reservoirs ranked for fishing quality?

Reservoirs with five or more tournament reports for a particular year are included in the annual BAIT report. Each water body is first ranked individually for each of the five fishing quality indicators. Next, scores are assigned to each reservoir by category and the overall rankings are determined by summing these values. This ranking system is intended to be a quick reference for anglers or tournament organizers for site selection and planning. It does not constitute a best/worst list of Alabama reservoirs and should not be interpreted as such.

Should all bass clubs participate in BAIT?

Maximizing bass club participation in the BAIT program is extremely valuable as it increases the accuracy of the results. Even if a bass club is not located in Alabama, it is important that angler catch data is submitted when tournaments are held in Alabama. More participation also improves the likelihood that an individual reservoir will meet the minimum guidelines to be included in the annual report, which provides more informative options for tournament location planning.

How is tournament catch data submitted for the BAIT program?

Tournament directors can request information on how to submit their catch data by contacting Keith Henderson at [email protected] or (334) 242-3471. The reporting process is easy and takes very little time. The information can be submitted either electronically (email or website) or by mail.

Where are the annual BAIT reports located?

The most recently published annual BAIT report, an interactive map with the most up to date data, and historical reports can be found at: