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Entries in Florida bass (48)

Tuesday
Feb132018

Another Big Bass From Tennessee's Lake Chickamauga

 Lake Chickamauga yielded another huge bass on Dec. 30, as Todd Beaty boated a largemouth that weighed 14.53 pounds, just ounces shy of the state record. It was 28 inches long, with a girth of 22 1/4 inches.

Two years ago on Chickamauga, which has been stocked with Florida strain bass, Gabe Keen claimed the record with a fish that weighed 15.20 pounds.

"I caught the big one about 10:30," Beaty said. "We were fishing a main channel point. The boat was sitting in 15 to 17 feet of water. I was throwing a (Tennessee) rig up on the point. She hit in about five or six feet of water."

Sunday
Jan142018

Habitat Added For Tiger Bass At Smith Mountain Lake

Smith Mountain Lake received much needed shallow-water habitat enhancement this past fall, just in time to benefit the first spawn of F-1 Tiger bass in the 20,000-acre impoundment this spring.

For the past three years, private funds have paid for the state-approved stocking of the Tiger, a cross between Florida bass and a strain of northern largemouth bred especially for its aggressive feeding behavior. The Tiger begins reproducing in its third year, so offspring from that first stocking likely will find shelter from predation in the 105 Mossback fish structures.

"In most areas, shorelines at Smith Mountain Lake do not have much cover for these small fish anymore so they are more vulnerable to predation and the survival of some species of young fish has declined since they require places to hide while they are young," said Dan Wilson, fisheries biologist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF).

Assisted by volunteers from the Smith Mountain Lake Association, staffers from VDGIF and Appalachian Power, which funded the project, placed clusters of the structures in 4 to 10 feet of water. 

Wilson said that rocks and pilings in the shallows are not intricate enough to protect young-of-the-year bass that need spaces to hide in and evade larger fish.

“With projects like this, we can provide needed habitat that works well for the fish without restricting the usage by lakes residents and others who enjoy recreating on the lake," he said.

Wednesday
Dec202017

Florida's TrophyCatch Celebrates Five Years

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) TrophyCatch program celebrated five years of bass conservation at its annual Hall of Fame ceremony held at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Orlando. In the past five seasons, TrophyCatch has awarded prizes for the catch and release of more than 6,868 largemouth bass.

“We want to thank all of our partners and anglers for their commitment to conservation,” said Tom Champeau, FWC’s Director of the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management.

“We now have 47 Hall of Fame anglers in the TrophyCatch program, and this event honors their skill in catching a bass of a lifetime and submitting their data to the FWC to assist in the management of our trophy bass fisheries.”

Sixteen Hall of Fame anglers were recognized for their catch and release of a largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or heavier in Florida. The Hall of Fame anglers each received Bass Pro Shops gift cards, Spiderwire merchandise, a custom fiberglass replica mount made by New Wave Taxidermy and a plaque from American Registry commemorating their catch.

The Season 5 Champion, Dominic Montalto, received the TrophyCatch trophy for catching and releasing the heaviest bass of the season at 16 pounds, 12 ounces, caught in a neighborhood pond in Lee County.

The TrophyCatch “Big Bag Prize” was awarded to Arthur Jackson for his catch and release of the most bass with the heaviest combined weight in Season 5. He caught and released 16 bass with a total combined weight of 141.625 pounds. Jackson received a Shimano prize pack, along with a Lake County Tourism prize pack of a three-day, two-night stay in Lake County with a guided fishing trip with professional angler Tim Frederick.

TrophyCatch is a partnership between FWC biologists, anglers and fishing industry leaders such as Bass Pro Shops, that rewards the catch, documentation and release of largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds or heavier in Florida. In order to be eligible for prizes, anglers are required to submit photos or videos of their catch to TrophyCatch.com, showing the fish’s weight on a scale, before releasing it back into the water.

FWC biologists use TrophyCatch data for bass research, to make informed decisions about the management of Florida bass fisheries and to promote the catch and release of trophy bass. TrophyCatch is supported by many generous partners, such as Bass Pro Shops.

The FWC encourages anglers to join TrophyCatch as citizen-scientists that assist in fisheries management and the conservation of Florida’s lakes and rivers. A new TrophyCatch mobile app is available for download on both Apple and Android devices

Monday
Nov132017

Florida Bass Fingerlings Receive Survival Training

Because of unique survival training that they received as fingerlings, more stocked bass are reaching catchable size in Florida's waterways.

"Previously, fingerlings went from indoor ponds, where they had food dropped in to them, to lakes," said Nick Trippel, a fisheries biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). "They didn't know to run from bigger fish and birds."

As a consequence, telemetry studies using radio tags the size of a grain of rice revealed that survival rates for stocked bass at Lake Carlton on the Harris Chain was far lower than for fish spawned in the wild. Researchers discovered that hatchery bass tended to wander away from cover more often than wild bass. Failure to avoid predators, including birds, was apparent from the tags that turned up on shore under nests, in neighboring Lake Beauclair, and even inside a live double-crested cormorant.

"Hatchery fish didn't know how to use habitat or run from predators," Trippel said. "Wild fish knew to hunker down."

Also, study of fingerlings in experimental ponds, "with everything found in real lakes," showed that most mortality occurred within two weeks of stocking.

So biologists from the Eustis Fisheries Research Laboratory teamed up with researchers at the Florida Bass Conservation Center to see if they could educate young bass about the dangers of life in the wild. Turns out, they could.

"For conditioned fish, the survival rate was 60 to 65 percent," Trippel said. "It had been just 30 percent for naive fish."

Researchers educated the bass by moving them from indoor tanks to outdoor ponds 10 days before stocking. Plus, they added seven mature bass and seven bowfin to each pond.

"We wanted the fish to see their brothers and sisters eaten and know there was danger," the biologist said.

By contrast, fingerlings moved to outside ponds with no predators managed only 35 percent survival. Exposure to predators seemed to make the big difference.

Following that success, biologists tried adding mature bass to indoor tanks, which had habitat for the young bass to hide it. That type of conditioning improved survival as well.

Also, the number of fingerlings lost during conditioning was minimal in terms of impact to overall production. "Keeping them inside, we lost fish to disease," Trippel said.

Now, FWC is working on incorporating these strategies into its statewide stocking program.

"We don't have enough ponds to move all the fish outside," the biologist said. "But we can add predators to the raceways inside. Also, it's less stress on the fish because we don't have to move them.

"Right now, we're able to do this with smaller scale stockings."

 

Wednesday
Oct252017

One of California's best fisheries for big bass, Clear Lake, is in a slump according to the Sacramento Bee newspaper. Average size bass caught in this northern California fishery during tournaments in 2016 was about 3 pounds,  which probably was as good as, if not better than, any other lake in the country.

But in a recent tournament with 38 anglers, winning weight was just 16 pounds, with 9 pounds good enough for second.  "Many of the fishermen said this was the poorest fishing they had ever experienced on Clear Lake," the newspaper reported. "They also said the water was extremely brown in color throughout the lake."

Black bass are not native to California, but were introduced there more than a century ago. Recognizing Clear Lake's trophy potential because of its warm, shallow water and abundant habitat, the Department of Fish and Game started stocking Florida-strain bass in 1969. Current lake record was a 17.52-pound trophy caught in 1990. Southern California lakes, including Castaic, Casitas, Dixon, and Miramar, meanwhile, have yielded lunkers of more than 20 pounds.