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Here's a quote from Doug Hannon, who is widely regarded to be one of the premier authorities on largemouth bass. It appears in the most recent issue of In-Fisherman and may apply to hog growers like Cecil Baird, and others who like to grow fish extra big.

This in regards to California largemouth that reach twenty pounds:

"The balloon-like proportions of these fish indicate adaptive specialization at its extreme limits. Just as coyotes have adjusted to susbist on garbage and poodles in the Los Angeles suburbs, California bass have adjusted to feed on stocker rainbows. Staying close to this food source, which has a preferred temperature around 54 degrees F., keeps these bass in the cooler fringes of their environment, which in turn triggers the fat-storing mechanisms of a pre-winter metabolism. As a result, an 18-pound California largemouth is no longer than a 10-pound Tennessee bass, just a heck of a lot fatter".

Comments?--especially the part about stimulating the "fat storing mechanism".


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Three comments...

1) Doug Hannon knows his stuff...they don't call him the Bass Professor for nothing

2) His comments make sense to me. I wonder when exactly that fat storing mechanism kicks in, i.e at what temps? I also wonder if it varies by climate and perhaps even genetics. What is the range for a native bass in southern waters? What is the range for a Florida bass in southern waters? Or an F1? Sounds like a good research project.

3) That mechanism may actually fly in the face of those standard theories that LMB do not feed in the cooler temperatures.

I was going to stock rainbows last winter but the hurricane overcame those good intentions...this winter will see a couple of hundred pounds go into my LMB ponds...and I can't wait to see if Doug's theory applies also to southern LMB of various genetics.

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Guys :

One of the things that makes Hannon's info very interesting is the thousands of hours of spent underwater filming and watching. I have a tape he does which is full of comments most excellent a few of them odd. His comments are based on large lake/river observations and some seem not as applicable to pond LMB.

I have a paper on ranges of LMB all types. I will locate and post. LMB do feed in the winter but their metabolism slows down . I will check on temps. at which feeding slows. I am fairly sure it depends on genetics and local adaptation. My memory is those Calif. lakes never get real cold so the LMB track the RT to the DO/cool/thermocline in summer and in winter they can all be up in the water due to temp mixing. I will see if I can find a few answers or maybe just more questions.

Update. It looks like the water temp. line for LMB metabolism slow down is 10 C or 50 F +-. Does anyone have a temp. profile for the SoCal lakes. If so we might come up with an answer/guess.
















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The only additional thought that comes to mind when I read Doug Hannon's thoughts (as posted by Bruce) was genetics. I looked back through his interview in In-Fisherman (Apr/May issue), and neither the author nor Doug really distinguished between northern largemouth bass and Florida largemouth bass, so I don't know what source of bass genetics he might have meant (I assume that most PB readers know that the true Florida largemouth bass are from southern Florida; even in northern Florida, they originally just had the northern genetics). Fisheries biologists know that the Florida genetics lead to fish that are heavier at a given length than the northern genetic fish. Now, Hannon could very well be right about the "obesity" factor adding to this difference. Sort of a double whammy?


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 Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce Condello:
Here's a quote from Doug Hannon, who is widely regarded to be one of the premier authorities on largemouth bass. It appears in the most recent issue of In-Fisherman and may apply to hog growers like Cecil Baird, and others who like to grow fish extra big.

This in regards to California largemouth that reach twenty pounds:

"The balloon-like proportions of these fish indicate adaptive specialization at its extreme limits. Just as coyotes have adjusted to susbist on garbage and poodles in the Los Angeles suburbs, California bass have adjusted to feed on stocker rainbows. Staying close to this food source, which has a preferred temperature around 54 degrees F., keeps these bass in the cooler fringes of their environment, which in turn triggers the fat-storing mechanisms of a pre-winter metabolism. As a result, an 18-pound California largemouth is no longer than a 10-pound Tennessee bass, just a heck of a lot fatter".

Comments?--especially the part about stimulating the "fat storing mechanism".
Questions and thoughts:

1.) Doesn't adaptation take at least a few generations of natural selection vs. just planting a fish? Are these fish reproducing?

2.) What are Doug's academic credentials? Is he a self made scientist or does he actually have any training as a scientist?

3.) I don't see anything to back up his fat metabolism theory. Any lab analysis of these fish? Anything concrete to back it up? If not it's just a theory and theories are nothing more than glorified opinions in my opinion. \:D

4.) How do we know the extra fat isn't just due ot the high oil and fat content of the rainbow trout and nothing more? Maybe the KISS principal applies here? As a taxidermist I have to soak the skins of salmonids in a degreaser before I mount them. Not so with most other fish.

5.) Could the cooler water they are alledged to hang out in cause them to live longer vs. a quick metabolic burst and short life span?

6.) Are these bass really hanging out in the 54 F. water all of the time or do they just go down there to feed on the trout and come back up to a more favorable temp? I've seen this in my own fishing. I've seen warmwater fish gillnetted in surveys that were far below their optimum temps after smelt in very cold water.

Just a few feet may be the difference between the layer the trout hang in vs. the epilimnion. I have a lot of experience fishing for rainbows in stratified lakes, and have seen the trout layer shrink to only 2 feet in thickness.

I do not lack any respect for Doug Hannon but I guess when it comes to theories I need proof.

BTW, I could have sworn I read in an an outdoor magazine a few years ago some of these largemouths are F-1 intergrades in California. Maybe the author was wrong? Or maybe they were talking about the Texas program?


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 Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Willis:
The only additional thought that comes to mind when I read Doug Hannon's thoughts (as posted by Bruce) was genetics. I looked back through his interview in In-Fisherman (Apr/May issue), and neither the author nor Doug really distinguished between northern largemouth bass and Florida largemouth bass, so I don't know what source of bass genetics he might have meant (I assume that most PB readers know that the true Florida largemouth bass are from southern Florida; even in northern Florida, they originally just had the northern genetics). Fisheries biologists know that the Florida genetics lead to fish that are heavier at a given length than the northern genetic fish. Now, Hannon could very well be right about the "obesity" factor adding to this difference. Sort of a double whammy?
Dave,

I've actually seen just the opposite in data with the norhern bass much heavier for the same length of Florida bass. I've also seen it with my own eyes with northern Michigan bass and Minnesota Boundary waters largemouths that I've mounted.

I'll see if I can find the article that was complete with charts etc. In that article upstate New York bass were the heaviest for their lengths. They just didn't get to the length the Florida's did.


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 Quote:
Originally posted by Robinson:
It is my understanding that Florida bass get larger than northern strain for one reason, all things considered. They live quite a few years longer, for some reason, and these extra years pile on the weight.

I was at a BASS weigh in when Kevin Van Dam won Lake Lanier around 1991. They stated the record largemouth from Lanier, which was 17 lbs 9 ounces was northern strain. It certainly is in north GA. So northern strain can get huge too. Add another 4 years to it's life, and it makes you wonder how big could it get?

Isn't Massachusets record over 15 lbs?
Not sure if the Florida strain lives longer but they do grow longer in length then their northern counterparts. In my area 23 inches is usually tops with very, very rarely a 25 incher. I've taken in bass to mount that were 25 inches and close to nine pounds but never ever anything over 25 inches. I believe some Florida bass regularly go up to the upper 20's in length. Keep in mind the bass can grow year around in warmer climes vs. up here where they shut down in growth for several months.

Yes, northern bass can get big but I've never heard of one getting to 20 lbs. like the ones in California. I would think a 10 lb. bass north of the mason dixon line is as rare as a 2 lb. regular strain bluegill.

One thing interesting about the 15 lb. plus Massaschusetts state record... It may have been feeding on trout too. I don't know if Sampson's pond was ever planted or is planted with trout, but having lived in Massachusetts I can tell you they stock just about every mud puddle with trout. They are getting some huge northerns now in some ponds (they call everything ponds out there) that are planted with trout. I think up to 35 pounds so far from South Pond in Brookfield.


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Mea culpa!! Cecil was right, and I was wrong. Guess I must have been perpetuating an "old wife's tale" about Florida largemouth bass, eh?

After Cecil questioned me, I started looking for information. I found a study from Texas where they comapred weight-length for Florida LMB and northern LMB. For 4-12 inch bass, the northern fish were plumper. For 12-20 inch bass, there was no difference. So, results much like those that Cecil knew about.

Guess I better stick to what I actually know. \:\)


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An interesting point that Cecil brought up about water temp. and where the bass hangout ,or just going down to feed and come back to warmer water.This would bring to light the secrets of how these huge bass were caught.I always hear they used large trout like lures,but I never hear if they are trolling shoreline or going deep and cold...

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Dave and CB1 I am not so sure. There are many studies on LMB of all types and locations and different time periods and conditions. Many are contradictory and some appear to be written with a purpose to prove a predetermined point. With a little time I can usually find different data and points of view on most aspects of LMB.

Here is some direct data from one of the Calif. lakes in question. In the same lake under the same conditions Fla. and Northerns. There are also some interesting text points I will try to scan tomorrow. Here is a chart. The chart is of age , length and weight.

Nort. ------------------ Fla.

1 6.07 .20 ----------1 5.92 .15
2 11.62 1.10 --------2 12.75 1.50
3 14.73 2.15 --------3 15.69 2.84
4 16.37 2.91 --------4 17.65 4.15
5 17.94 3.80 --------5 20.39 6.44
6 19.11 4.57 --------6 22.05 8.32
7 20.28 5.39 --------7 23.08 9.61
8 20.35 5.53 --------8 23.36 10.05
9 none none --------9 24.80 12.15
10 none none -------10 25.63 13.32

A couple of their points - Flas live longer that is why no data on 9+ yr. Nort. - Waters rarely drops to 50 and thus a year long growth season - while shad are a forage RT were necessary to get to very large size - RT stocked in coldwater mths at 9-11 inches no fear and fat are easy pickings for large LMB - big LMB do not go deep after shad ( + 30 ft.) in winter but stay up ( less than 25 ft.) and eat RT and craws.

I have another study from Tenn. on topic that ties together the fattening up process Bruce ask about. From the 2 it appears on first examination that LMB really fatten up in fall 55-65 temps because they keep eating but metab. (food use) slows thus fats added . It also shows that LMB keep eating below 50 but at much reduced rate. More to come. \:\)
















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 Quote:
Originally posted by california guy:
An interesting point that Cecil brought up about water temp. and where the bass hangout ,or just going down to feed and come back to warmer water.This would bring to light the secrets of how these huge bass were caught.I always hear they used large trout like lures,but I never hear if they are trolling shoreline or going deep and cold...
That sounds like the kind of thing we're not likely to hear, either.


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From a temperate area (water temps. 40 to 85)lake study not like SoCal lakes where temps stay not to high (80) and not to low (55) , but just right.

To maintain condition in a system where their
primary prey undergoes large fluctuations in seasonal abundance, largemouth bass maximize
caloric growth in the fall, store visceral fat, minimize standard and active metabolic demands,
and undertake some winter feeding in warm thermal areas.

winter water temperature
dictates the abundance and sizes of
available prey, which affect consumption by
largemouth bass and, therefore, growth. Seasonal partitioning of this consumed energy into
body processes by largemouth bass has not been
investigated.

In contrast, the visceral-somatic index
(VSI) varied widely between sexes over the
year. The VSI was high in the fall for both
sexes prior to cessation of feeding at around 10C or 50F.

Variations in condition indices of both sexes
during the year were influenced by consumption,
metabolism and reproductive demands.
Both sexes built up their fat reserves in the fall when consumption was high as evidenced by
the fall increase in the visceral-somatic index
(VSI).

Variations in the liver weight of largemouth
bass reflect storage of glycogen fat, and water,
which vary with consumption rate. Consumption was high during the late spring and summer, yet the liver-somatic index (LSI) of both sexes declined. This decline may have been related to utilization of energy for reproduction and temperature-induced metabolic demands. This same pattern in the LSI was found in
field-collected bluegills Lepomims macrochirus over a year and was attributed to summer
spawning and temperature. Because the liver
of largemouth bass is relatively small and glycogen is the primary storage product this organ probably provides short term
supplies of intense energy for activities
such as reproduction and pursuit of prey and
does not function as a major winter energy storage depot as it does in many northern predators.

From this info one could conclude that because temps in SoCal lakes in fall through spring stay at the temp. where LMB are generally gorging and adding fat (as opposed to temperate lakes which have only a short period for this activity before cold sets in) the fish just keep growing and getting fatter ie the fat-storing mechanisms of a pre-winter metabolism. Therefore it appears the the quote of Hannon by Bruce was partly correct. I say partly because the last sentence was IMO misleading in comparing a Tenn. LMB (which may well not be a Fla. strain) and one from SoCal (which is) is not a valid one. Apples to apples. From the direct yr/lgth/wt. data from a Cal. lake it should be an 8 yr old , 20.35in , 5.53lb Nort LMB from Cal and a 5 yr old, 20.39in , 6.44lb. Fla LMB from Cal. -- they just weigh a little more (20%+-) at the same length but get that size much faster and keep on going. My analysis for what it is worth. \:\)
















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That analysis kicked tail. I think I'll read it another twenty times or so, and when it sinks in I'll make a comment. \:\)


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Usually being in the company of smart people makes me feel smarter. I said usually...

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CG, it's been stated before. I would rather be amongst the fine people assembled here, than amongst the smartest people in the world.


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"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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One other thought on this very informative thread regarding the CA Big Bass equation is that hatchery raised trout probably do not have the predator avoidence savy that wild trout have, thereby making hatchery raised trout extremely easy targets for the bass. IMO this would be very similar to difference between "hunting" wild quail vs. "shooting" pen raised quail, one group is very savy at avoiding predators, the other is not. This difference is very benificial to the LMB in terms of the amount of energy needed and used by the CA LMB to actually procure one of it's food sources. ;\)



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Shorty :

You are right and the Calif. study says just that. Not about quail but about the timing , size and non-avoidance of the RT and that they are critical under those circumstances for the LMB to get real big.
















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Ewest, I can imagine a hatchery raised RT swiming right up to a big LMB just out of curiousity, right before it gets sucked in. \:D



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What lb. test line would you rig up with when going after a 25lb. fish? I assume they are quite strong and I realize it depends on the skill of the fisherman also not to try and jerk it out of the water rather than fighting it slowly to submission...Kevin

p.s. just cause I'm from Cali. doesnt mean we have huge bass all over...except for down stream from the nuclear power plant.

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I guess I would base my line size on how far I wanted to ski behind the thing before the line broke and I had to swim back to the boat or maybe how much force it would take to dislocate my joints before the line broke. \:D \:D ;\)
















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I would use enough line size to set the hook but would really count on the drag to keep me out of the water.


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.

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What about a harpoon? Just kidding. Seriously Dave what would be your choice of test if you were going for a 25lb.'er.Good point about the drag, I've been known to keep mine a little too tight and lost a couple fish because of that.

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I'm trying to remember what test line I used on my last 20+ lb. LMB. Memory fails me and I don't often keep good records.

My thoughts for what it's worth. For that type of fishing, it is about the entire "tool set" with all parts complimentary. I'm assuming that this is for the fish of a lifetime. Line size and type are a lot different for deep lake fishing than for stump knocking and fishing trash. I like going for the smallest line possible given the conditions as regards lure presentation. I wish I knew more about Spiderwire and the Fluorocarbons that are claimed to disappear underwater. I love good quality 14 lb. test line but it needs to be new and not something that has had the opportunity to soak up some UV rays. If I ever backlashed, I would lay the rod aside and pick up another.

But it's not just about the line. For that kind of fishing I like a really long rod. The rod takes and applies the brunt of the pressure on the fish. If you think about it, fly fishermen use the equivalent of well rope for the main line, their projectile, and very light line for the terminal end. The long rod exerts the real pressure and you try to stay away from anything that would cause abrasion. The knot or knots in fly fishing can be very key and I'm not very knowledgable about knots or fly fishing in general. I do know they are the main failure point in the "tool set". A good reel with a smooth drag keeps the fish from putting undue pressure on the knot.

My personal experience with really huge fish has been off the Gulf Coast with pool cue size rods but that's a different world. Usually we were shark fishing. However, we used to catch 10 to 12 pound mackrels using standard bass gear with large jointed Rapalas. The lures didn't last long and it's not for the faint of heart. 100 yds. of line often weren't enough. It's been years since I've done that.

In freshwater, I have caught some nice stripers below dams. My personal best has been 17 lbs. and I didn't catch many even approaching that. After some experimentation, my Brother and I built our own rods using long Calcutta cane matched with big surf spinning reels. Not all of the canes worked. This also worked great for large catfish just above the dams.

On what would have been my personal all time best striper, I had to cut the line and release the fish. I was fishing below the dam and Possum Kingdom Lake. They had just stocked trout on a put and take basis with a 5 fish limit. I caught my limit of 8 inch rainbows and then started striper fishing. The Game Warden had told me that for every trout a fisherman caught, the stripers got 5. It was illegal to use the trout for bait but it seemed like a good idea to me. I hung a huge striper and the fight was on. Then somebody said "Here comes the Game Warden" and I cut the line. Who, me? Don't know what you're talking about, Officer.


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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I bet most of those guys use braided lines. You can buy 50lb. test braided line that is about the same size of 12 lb. test in monofilament.

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Awesome stuff ewest ! What is your opinion on the F1, is it as simple as generally taking the average on the chart, or do you think the Fla strain bears more weight ?

Cecil, as I read your post...I was amazed at how the points and logic fell into order, nice job. It's a shame we can't use trout as steady forage in the south...is there a similar fish, or are we looking at gizzard shad ?

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