For any fish record to be IGFA certified, a clear photograph of the length and girth must accompany the record submission. You can pick up a cheap soft measuring tape for sewing from Wal-Mart or Target or wherever. Make sure that the numbers on the tape are large and legible! It might be worth your time to take some sample photos ahead of time and see if the numbers can be seen clearly. Better to do this than find out later that they can’t be read. Make sure that your tape is soft enough to be wrapped smoothly around the belly of the fish. Using a metal measuring tape won’t do you any good trying to measure girth. Even if you aren’t going for the record, it can be fun to measure length and girth for your own records. You’ll find that a 10lb bass can vary greatly in length and girth!
Getting the hook out of a bass is pretty simple 99% of the time. But every so often you’ll get a fish that’s hooked through the bone in the mouth or hooked around a gill. It pays to have a pair of long nose pliers for these situations, and as a backup it can be good to carry a heavy duty pair of cutting dikes in case you need to cut a hook in half to remove it. Watching a big bass bleed to death when you want to release it is a terrible feeling so spend the 10 bucks for a good pair of pliers and remember to bring them with you.
An easy way to damage a bass is to net it with a nylon landing net that has large gaps in the mesh, like 1.5 inches or more. When the bass’ tail and fins are pushed up against the mesh, they can split and tear all the way to the base of the fin. These type of tears do heal but if you want to give the bass it’s best chance to survive, a finer mesh will help ensure that you don’t slice up the fish’s fins. Another option is to use a rubberized landing net where the mesh is coated with rubber. Unfortunately these nets are on the small side for trophy bass fishing but they do usually keep the bass’ fins from getting torn. After going through several landing nets myself, I settled on a Pro Mar brand net that has ¼” nylon mesh. This is a fine enough mesh that it doesn’t tear up the fins, and the particular model (Grande Halibut/Salmon release net with black mesh) is very large which I like for big bass fishing. If you do use a nylon landing net with large mesh, get the bass in the boat and onto the floor as quickly as possible, don’t let it thrash and twist around in the net, it just really has potential to damage the fish.
There are several companies that produce livewell additives to help keep the fish’s slime coat intact and general keep the fish from getting stressed during handling. If you use a livewell to store your bass temporarily, definitely pick some additive up. This is most important during warm weather months. Some well known brands include Bass Medics Rejuvenade and Please Release Me.