What Is Crappie Fizzing?


Fizzing crappie is correcting barotrauma by releasing air from the fish’s swim bladder.

The process uses a hollow needle to puncture the swim bladder and allow trapped air to escape through the needle.

What Is Crappie Fizzing?
A fisherman holds black Crappie before fizzing it

When Should You Fizz a Crappie?

You should fizz crappie anytime signs of barotrauma are present.

Barotrauma is a condition that occurs when a fish is brought to the surface too quickly.

Signs of barotrauma include an extended stomach, the inability of a fish to swim properly, or the fish floating upside down.

Severe forms of barotrauma include eyes that bulge from the head.

The problem is that the fish’s swim bladder fills with air, and then the fish cannot release the air.

Fizzing is physically releasing the trapped air so that the swim bladder returns to normal size and the fish can again swim normally.

Generally, barotrauma occurs if the fish is more than 20-feet deep and is more likely to occur at 50-foot depths.

What Is Crappie Fizzing?
Crappie caught in the lake

How Do You Fizz a Crappie?

The process of fizzing crappie is much the same as fizzing a bass.

You use a hollow needle – it must be hollow to allow the air to escape – and you insert the needle under the scales, through the skin, and into the swim bladder. The process is easy.

To find the correct spot to fizz crappie, you lay the fish on its side.

You will be able to see the lateral line, which is a line that runs along the middle of the fish from the gill area to the tail.

Lay the pectoral fin down and two scales past the pectoral fin and beneath the lateral line; you will lift the scale and insert the needle in at an angle.

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You just want the tip of the needle to go through the skin and into the swim bladder.

Because the swim bladder is inflated, it lies next to the skin.

If you are successful, you will hear the air leave the swim bladder in a fizzy kind of noise. That is why we call it fizzing.


  1. Fizz the fish as soon as you bring it onto the boat. The longer you wait, the longer the fish struggles. Fish breathe by moving water over their gills. They will die if they cannot do that properly due to barotrauma.
  2. If you are not successful at first, try again. The fish will die if you do not fizz it.

What Is the Point of Fizzing a Crappie?

Catch and release fishing is popular.

Fizzing crappie means that you are giving it a chance to live and reproduce if you release it.

Fizzing, while sounding barbaric, is actually helpful to any fish that has barotrauma.

If you are careful not to disturb the scales too much and that you are mindful of keeping the slime coat intact, the fish will likely be just fine.

What Is Barotrauma Fish?

A Barotrauma fish is any fish that suffers from an extended swim bladder or extended swim bladder that will not deflate.

Can You Pop a Fish Swim Bladder?

Yes, you can pop a fish’s swim bladder; the process is called fizzing.

The process is gentle and not violent and helps the fish to recover and swim properly.

Failure to fizz a fish that shows signs of barotrauma will lead to the death of the fish.

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When Should You Fizz a Fish?

Fizzing a fish should occur any time there are signs and symptoms of barotrauma.

The visual presence of an extended swim bladder, bulging eyes, or enlarged anus with intestines showing.

The fish may also swim on its side or upside down.

Is Fizzing Fish Safe?

If the procedure is done correctly, fizzing is safe.

The alternative to not fizzing a fish is that the fish will struggle and then die.

Not fizzing a fish is much more dangerous to the fish than the fizzing process.

How Do You Get a Fish out Of Deep Water?

If the idea of fizzing a fish makes you queasy, then the answer is not to bring a fish to the surface so fast that barotrauma occurs.

To do that, bring the fish up slowly. Let the tip of the rod fall near the surface of the water.

Lift the pole’s tip-up five or so feet off the water and reel in as you do.

Hold the pole there for twenty-count and then repeat the process.

It takes longer to haul in a fish, but the fish is in much better health for the extra time spent.

Can Fish Get the Bends?

The bends occur in fish, just like in humans.

It is a form of barotrauma – repaid drop or increase in barometric pressure – that causes the swim bladder to expand and then remain inflated in fish.

In humans, the sudden change in barometric pressure causes a gaseous issue within the blood that then causes baro sickness.

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This would be a good resource if you’d like to learn about cleaning bass.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>