Photos: Family Rescues Bass Choking on Fish

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Fairbanks spotted the trouble as soon as the fish was pulled from the water: The big bass had eaten another large fish, probably a shad, and the forage was so immense that the predator was either unable to control its air bladder or the aged meal had bloated, making it buoyant. Either way, the largemouth was unable to descend and was, more than likely, doomed. But thanks to the efforts of the Fairbanks, who removed the oversized meal from the bass’ gullet, the fish was eventually able to swim away no worse for wear. Click through the photos for the complete story. Renia Fairbanks
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In this photo you see the dorsal fin of the fish, which is what caught the eye of Renia as the family was headed toward the launch. Renia Fairbanks
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As the trio motored closer, they could tell it was a large fish, but was unable to confirm the species. Renia Fairbanks
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They could tell it was a largemouth bass once they were alongside it. Renia Fairbanks
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“The fish would flip, attempting to dive, but would eventually give up and float back to the surface,” says Renia. Renia Fairbanks
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The majority of the time, the fish would just lie still at the surface. Renia Fairbanks
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Here you see Stephan about to grab the fish. Renia Fairbanks
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Several attempts were made to grab the fish by the tail, but it was too slippery. Renia Fairbanks
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Stephen was finally able to get a grip on the fish with a shop towel. Renia Fairbanks
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Stephan struck a quick pose with the largemouth bass before removing the forage from its throat. Renia Fairbanks
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In this close up you can see the bass’ belly protruding from the head of the fish it swallowed. Renia Fairbanks
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He used needle-nose pliers to grasp the tail of the bass’ last meal. Renia Fairbanks
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Here you see the fish being pulled from the largemouth’s esophagus. Renia Fairbanks
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The small fish was tossed back into Cove Lake. The head and main body were digested enough that the Fairbanks were unable to determine its species. Renia Fairbanks
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The bass was placed in the livewell for a few moments so it could be revived. “We talked about moving it to our pond, but Stephen said ‘We didn’t catch it, and it wouldn’t be fair.’ So back to the lake it went,” says Renia. Renia Fairbanks
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The big bass hung at the surface of Cove Lake for only a few moments after being relieved of the forage. Renia Fairbanks
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The largemouth then turned tail and dove out of sight. Renia Fairbanks
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The Fairbank’s stuck around the area where the bass submerged for quite some time, and it never resurfaced. Renia Fairbanks