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Well, of course Fla LMB actually DO bite, otherwise they wouldn't get so big. But they are typically much less aggressive than Northern strain LMB. Supreme Pondmeister Bob L has recounted visiting a hatchery where N and Fla LMB reacted very differently to a forage fish dropped in their tank. The Fla bass carefully scrutinized the fish, no big hurry. The Northern bass didn't waste any time scrutinizing, wolfing it down in a sudden frenzy.

You would think that, given feeding habits, the Northern LMB would outgrow Fla. But as we all know, that's not the case. So what gives?

In a recent Eric West (IIRC) article in PB magazine, he mentioned that researchers have found that southern LMB grow faster than northern LMB. However, BG grow pretty much at the same rate, south or north. Thus, southern BG are smaller compared with mouth size of average southern LMB, & thus more vulnerable to predation. Northern BG are roughly half as vulnerable, as they more quickly outgrow typical N LMB mouth size.

And, of course, southern BG spawn more often.

So what? Well, it would seem that we may have a classic case of adaptation to local conditions. Northern LMB don't have the number of BG to eat that their southern relatives do -- one BG spawn a year is pretty typical -- plus BG tend to grow beyond what N LMB can eat pretty rapidly. Southern or Fla LMB, on the other hand, can dine on multiple spawns of BG, plus with their larger mouth size can eat BG beyond what N LMB can.

Result: Northern LMB typically need to hustle more for food. A lot more. Aggression is rewarded, hesitation punished. Southern LMB don't need to be as aggressive & take risks to feed, so they don't.

I didn't say it was a good theory, just a theory.


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Now tell me why, on a partly cloudy day, the wind picks up when a cloud over over the sun.


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I'd like to better understand why fishing picks up when clouds cover the sun. Do bass have an advantage over their prey during such conditions? Do they feel less vulnerable? Are we less visible to them?

Dunno, but I've experienced better fishing -- in warm weather, at any rate -- in cloudy, windy conditions all my life. However, I've read many theories as to why this is so, whereas few about why Northern LMB are so much more aggressive than Florida. Maybe my speculations will inspire a true expert to set me straight & help all of us understand better!


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Southern or Fla LMB, on the other hand, can dine on multiple spawns of BG, plus with their larger mouth size can eat BG beyond what N LMB can.

Result: Northern LMB typically need to hustle more for food. A lot more. Aggression is rewarded, hesitation punished. Southern LMB don't need to be as aggressive & take risks to feed, so they don't.

Frank, how the heck are ya? smile

I think you may be on to something. Still there are a lot of factors. For example, Prather found that an F0 generation of Northern LMB had a great deal of variability of food conversion. The FCRs ranged from <3 to >10. That's a huge variation of food utilization and efficiency. He found that after several generations of selection he could reduce the variation and lessen the mean FCR. This stalled at an FCR between 3 and 4. They were fingerling LMB and so adults are unable to convert that efficiently.

I do, however, have to wonder what the potential of the Northern LMB truly is when a similar quantity of feed is available to them. There was an article in PB where they were growing Northern LMB females under a forage stocking strategy. These fish were growing at the rate of ~3 lbs annually and closing in on 10 lbs after three years. Pretty remarkable. It definitely stretched my understanding of the Northern LMB's potential for growth.

I've said this before. We overthink the genetics when we are talking growth (though probably not for ultimate potential weight). Most of the time, great genetics underperform their potential because the food chain won't support it. Any bass may be as good as another in most ponds because of limitations of the food chain.


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Not sure I understand the question.

anthropic I do not think I wrote all of that but would like to check the source. Anyway the discussion is still valid.

The time period is key on the subject. There are several studies showing mixed results on which grow faster depending on time frame and location. A few facts. LMB in the deep south grow faster over a year because there are more growth days (warm days in which LMB metabolism is above neutral) during the year. Same for BG. Notice I did not say Fla LMB or CNBG. Male Fla LMB stay small in comparison so obviously they don't grow faster. Female Fla LMB do grow bigger. Food supply is KEY no matter the location as that is the biggest limiting factor to fish growth. Next key is population status (environment, balance , competition , stressed , overpopulated etc.). Then comes genetics. So way to many factors at work for me to know the answer. IMO female Fla LMB do grow faster in their normal environment as do CNBG (male and female). Northern LMB and BG in their natural environment live longer. Fla LMB and CNBG do not grow faster , get bigger or reach their potential in cold environs.

I do not have a theory on how to put all the pieces together to achieve one truth. Just to many factors at work. I do stress that inferences drawn from a study are limited and I do not draw (nor suggest that) large scale conclusions based on single (few) issue studies or by stringing several such studies together to do so.

On the reproductive front it is important to account for location (environment) in the analysis. For example in peninsular Fla the temperature allows for LMB reproduction for 9-10 mths of the year while in the north it is limited to 1 -2 mths. Same for BG/CNBG. All fish do not spawn each time the conditions allow and other things factor into that. But on the whole LMB and BG in both N and S locations annually have the same number of potential eggs /fry. On the whole N locations seem to have more missing/limited year classes due to bad weather impacting a spawn. Statistically it is more likely that a year class can be severely impacted when there is 1 spawn a year as apposed to 6 smaller spawns spread out over 9 mths.

Hope some of this helps in the discussion .

Last edited by ewest; 04/20/21 11:28 AM.















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Originally Posted by ewest
.... LMB in the deep south grow faster over a year because there are more growth days (warm days in which LMB metabolism is above neutral) during the year ...

... Food supply is KEY no matter the location as that is the biggest limiting factor to fish growth. Next key is population status (environment, balance , competition , stressed , overpopulated etc.). Then comes genetics. . .

+1 +1 +1

Eric,

This is a bit off topic but one of the questions that interests me is why don't BG grow as much in their first year as LMB can. I ask this from the perspective that if a BG ate as much as an LMB, it could. So growth can actually be similar or even favor BG if the there is significant competition for food in the 0 year. But on the other hand, separate them and give them as much food as they will eat .... and the LMB will outpace the BG considerably. So perhaps the answer is in the "give them as much as they will eat" piece (which notably is controlled by genetics). In other words, the BG won't eat as much as an LMB of similar weight. Even when food for the BG is not limited ... its propensity to eat is insufficient to grow as fast as an LMB with an unlimited supply of food. Perhaps, if food is not limiting, how much they will eat (and probably other important factors like efficiency) limits the rate of growth.

So one thing did stand out to me in your post about the spawning of LMB in Florida where it is less seasonal and much broader. Could there be an influence from being in prespawn more than one period per year that influences the feeding behavior of Florida females. Bulking up and having high propensity to consume for the purpose of building egg mass?


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jpsdad, I think the mouth gape has to figure into it. A BG has to key in on much smaller food sources than a LMB of the same age because of gape. I believe that's why HBG grow faster for the first few years - a larger gape than regular BG can utilize more food sources.


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Originally Posted by esshup
jpsdad, I think the mouth gape has to figure into it. A BG has to key in on much smaller food sources than a LMB of the same age because of gape. I believe that's why HBG grow faster for the first few years - a larger gape than regular BG can utilize more food sources.

Probably key to a benefit of a larger gape would be the availability (supply) of the larger organisms. I have fished some trophy BG ponds where I never caught a LMB > than 12". The typical BG might have weighed as much as the typical LMB. Given the age of the ponds, it may well have been that the largest LMB I caught were 10 years or older. So at least in that case, gape wasn't the determining factor for which fish grew the fastest unless perhaps it was the reverse. This smaller gape of the BG and their focus on smaller prey might possibly have given them an advantage to grow to larger weights than the LMB. This is not to say that there are not circumstances where larger gape is an advantage to growth ... its just that it is not always the case. The stunted LMB - Huge BG pond is a contrary example.

Genetics seem to limit the growth in the length of fish and when they are able to consume more than required for this growth ... they can get really fat. But the growth, possibly driven genetically through hormones, is subdued in BG relative to LMB. They are wired to grow slower and have lower specific consumption (weight prey per weight predator per annum).

I failed to but meant to also mention that if male Florida bass in Florida were to tend beds more than 1 per annum ... that might explain in part why the males are so limited in size relative to the northern males.


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I have to add that a longer growing season is key but also, in very warm climates, it can actually be shorter as well due to water temps above optimal growing conditions. The longest growing season in days could very well be north of the Florida latitude depending on max water temps.
Just a thought.

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Great discussion. My focus was more on aggression difference between strains of LMB than accounting for size, though of course size is an explanatory factor. Eric, the 1985 study you cited noted northern BG as far less vulnerable to LMB and I thought that might play a role. Unless their findings were completely wrong, this is obviously a huge issue that may go far to explain differences in aggression behavior. Even if the genetics were identical, the epigenetics would likely differ, just as they do for bass that have been caught and released

Last edited by anthropic; 04/21/21 07:46 AM.

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I agree that your thoughts have merit and are consistent with the evidence that you cited. The most plausible explanation for the difference in aggression is adaptation to respective environments (which includes the susceptibility of prey ... a consequence of environment).

I consider aggression to be the most important trait that an LMB can have. In a trophy pond, there can't be a lot of LMB and so being able to catch the limited number that are present on artificial lures is important in terms of the quality of fishing. I just wanted to add, that in many cases, adding the Florida genes won't necessarily produce larger fish. It depends on competition (how low the number of LMB is) and forage supply. If they are getting sufficient forage per individual to grow the Florida LMB past the limitations of the Northern ... then they will make a difference. I used to want a pond with of F1 females but that is changing. I think I would be perfectly happy with LMB that top out in the 7 to 9 pound range and are easier to catch. This modest ultimate weight allows for more individuals/acre improving quality of fishing. At this ultimate weight, there is little if any advantage to the Florida genes so I will probably forgo them altogether.


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Originally Posted by anthropic
Eric, the 1985 study you cited noted northern BG as far less vulnerable to LMB and I thought that might play a role ...

I am interested to read this paper. Is there a web accessible copy that you can link into this discussion?


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Originally Posted by anthropic
Great discussion. My focus was more on aggression difference between strains of LMB than accounting for size, though of course size is an explanatory factor. Eric, the 1985 study you cited noted northern BG as far less vulnerable to LMB and I thought that might play a role. Unless their findings were completely wrong, this is obviously a huge issue that may go far to explain differences in aggression behavior. Even if the genetics were identical, the epigenetics would likely differ, just as they do for bass that have been caught and released

Can you post the study name so I can find it or give me the PB article date. Will be glad to revisit or post the article.

I can email the study if I can id it from the many I have saved.

Last edited by ewest; 04/21/21 11:37 AM.















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Eric, page 57 of Jan/Feb 2021 PB magazine, article named Fish Growth. Study you cited: Latitudinal Growth Effects on Predator-Prey Interactions between Largemouth Bass and Bluegills in Ponds. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 5: 227 - 232, 1985 by Modde and Scalet.

What got me interested is that I've often wondered why Northern LMB are so much more aggressive, and also why they didn't grow as large despite being much more eager to feed. Of course, the answers will certainly involve more than one factor, but it occurred to me that if, as Modde & Scalet found, northern BG were only half as vulnerable to LMB predation as southern BG, this would likely have profound consequences, both behaviorally and epigenetically.

One of these consequences would be to encourage aggressive feeding for northern LMB to make the most of their much more limited predatory opportunities. Southern LMB, on the other hand, would be under far less pressure to feed aggressively. Northern feeding strategy comes with risks & costs, after all, including exposure to other predators (including larger LMB, herons, gators, etc) and burning lots of calories. Adaptation can happen fast epigenetically, such as how caught LMB pass along lure shy habits to their progeny, so I hypothesized this was at work.

Last edited by anthropic; 04/22/21 04:25 PM.

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I will dig out the info and post.

In the meantime here is a bit to think about.

In the first year (and subsequent years also) warming spring/summer water temperatures ramp up metabolism and the need for food (feeding) and with it increased growth. An example is the information contained in Growth Rates and Temperature Selection of Bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus by Thomas L. Berttinger and John J. Magnuson in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 108:378-382, 1979 which provides growth and temperature information for Bluegill. Interestingly maximum feeding and growth occur at different water temperatures. Bluegill feeding rates were best at 77 to 82 F and food conversion efficiencies at 83 F. High growth occurred over a broad range from 68 to 93 F (a few degrees below the upper lethal of 96 to 99 F). However, there was a difference between water temperatures at which highest growth occurred (86 to 88F) and maximum feeding (77 to 82 F).

And another one that may help

The Effect of Largemouth Bass Predation on
Overwinter Survival of Two Size-Classes of Age-0 Bluegills
DANIEL E. SHOUP*1
AND DAVID H. WAHL
Illinois Natural History Survey, Kaskaskia Biological Station,
Rural Route 1, Box 157, Sullivan, Illinois 61951, USA
Abstract.—Overwinter mortality is an important force structuring year-class strength of many fishes.
Conventional wisdom is that overwinter mortality is primarily caused by starvation; however, recent research
has demonstrated that piscivores continue to feed during winter and may also contribute to overwinter
mortality of their prey populations. We conducted experiments in ten 0.04-ha earthen ponds in central Illinois
to assess the effect of predation by largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides on survival of two size-classes
(20–30 and 40–65 mm total length [TL]) of age-0 bluegills Lepomis macrochirus. Bluegills (400 fish/sizeclass)
were stocked into each pond at the end of November. Half of the ponds also received five small
(90–124 mm TL) and four large (166–192 mm TL) largemouth bass. Survival to the end of the 113-d
experiment was higher for large bluegills than for small bluegills in all ponds. For both bluegill size-classes,
the predator-present treatment had higher mortality than the predator-free treatment. Relative to the predatorfree
treatment, mortality of bluegills in the predator-present treatment increased by 16% for the large sizeclass
and 49% for the small size-class. Mean length and relative condition (Kn) of both bluegill size-classes
increased by the end of the experiment in both treatments, suggesting that the observed mortality was not
caused by starvation. Further exploration is needed to elucidate why bluegills in the predator-free treatment
suffered overwinter mortality despite the increase in Kn during the experiment. Length and Kn of largemouth
bass increased (large size-class) or stayed the same (small size-class), suggesting that at least some of the
predators foraged during winter. Our results indicate that size-specific overwinter mortality of bluegills occurs
at the middle latitudes of the species’ range. Further, winter predation can be an important component
influencing size-specific overwinter survival and size-structured interactions between fishes.

Last edited by ewest; 04/23/21 10:05 AM.















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Great thread guys! I don't track all of it, but think I'm getting the gist. It would seem to be proof positive that northern LMB feed in winter since I've caught lots of them through the ice in my Iowa pond. And if only a portion of an individual BOW's LMB population are winter feeders, this would explain superior growth rates for some of the LMB in a given northern BOW, yes? I thought I read that forage conversion rates are lower in cold temperatures, but slow conversion beats none.


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Dr Luke, I think you're right. Also explains why so many pondmeisters suffer frustration when they can't catch their Fla LMB after the first few years. Electro surveys show plenty of big fish, but nearly impossible for anglers to fool on artificial lures.

Of course, even northern LMB become smarter about biting lures when they get big, but they still are more catchable than Fla bass of similar size.

Last edited by anthropic; 04/23/21 11:45 PM.

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Good stuff, Eric. Informative. Thanks!

I recall Bob Lusk saying that LMB had just as many "perfect growing days" up north as down south, but that BG had far more down south. What I didn't realize is just how much more heat tolerant BG (and probably CNBG to an even greater, uh, degree) were than LMB. Given how many voracious CNBG there are at my BOW, I'm surprised every spring that they are the last fish to show up at the feeders. LMB and HSB feed for several weeks before CNBG make their debut. Dunno about RES because they feed on bottom where I can't observe.

Last edited by anthropic; 04/24/21 12:00 AM.

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Originally Posted by DrLuke
I thought I read that forage conversion rates are lower in cold temperatures, but slow conversion beats none.

That is absolutely right. Even with very slow winter metabolism there is still minimum body function that must be kept going (heart beating , liver function , breathing , swim function) and it requires energy. If there is no food then the fish use up fat them muscle tissue is converted back to energy resulting in weight loss and eventually death by starvation.


Originally Posted by anthropic
Of course, even northern LMB become smarter about biting lures when they get big, but they still are more catchable than Fla bass of similar size.

In both types of LMB discussed - feeding aggression is genetic. If you catch (or remove) the biters then you are removing those genetics and the remaining fish well be less aggressive feeders (ie low to no catchability).
















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So, the Texas state record bass was 13.5# caught in 1945. That record stood for many, many years. When I was a kid, a 5# plus bass would get your picture in the home town paper. 10# fish were unheard of.

In 1971 the first Florida bass were brought to the hatchery in Athens, Tx by Charlie Inman. I live on Charlie's home lake, a 50 acre private east Texas lake. Charlie's wife still owns the home directly arcoss from mine. Charlie did the studies that created Florida bass stocking in Texas public waters. He also did the plan for Lake Fork, leaving almost all of the timber standing.

The top 50 bass in Texas were all caught since 1981. 36 of them from Fork. All have Florida genes, all but 4 have majority Florida genes. Of the 147 Lone Star Lunkers (over 13# bass) studied for DNA, all have Florida genes, and 89% have majority Florida genes. In every lake that was stocked with pure Florida genes, northern genes have shown up.

I fished Fork almost exclusively for 20+ years. I have caught over the slot bass in every month of the year. I have caught over the slot bass on a buzz bait in every month of the year except January. I didn't fish January very hard most years. Floridas feed all year in this climate. They are aggressive enough to chase down a buzz bait pretty much all year. Yes, they can be cranky and hard to catch at times.

Im my own limited study in our lake, almost every fish I catch has marks of being caught before. On occasion I'll catch a large fish that shows no marks. I think catchable fish are just that, catchable. I think a fair percentage of fish are naturally wary. Deer are similar. A truly big buck is naturally wary. That's how he got big.

In short, if you want to catch bass over 5# in Texas or other southern BOW, stock Florida genes. You already have northern genes most likely.

https://www.beaumontenterprise.com/...th-bass-changed-Texas-fishing-747031.php

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/201...ewell-to-the-florida-strain-bass-master/


https://www.itemonline.com/sports/outdoors-florida-bass-are-much-different-than-the-northern-largemouths-native-to-texas-waters-particularly/article_8fe8f2e1-50fd-577e-9cba-a8dafdb85676.html#:~:text=The%20first%20Florida%20bass%20fingerlings,snugly%20inside%20two%20insulated%20boxes.

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Good info, Ross. Thanks!


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To raise and catch big fish, you have to make available appropriately sized forage. A 3 to 5 pound fish will starve on a diet of fatheads. They need bluegills.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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