Karl,

For me, just personal preference, I think I would enjoy the farmers recs and catch a lot of good panfish and scrappy small bass for recreation and eating. I know that this is what the farmer is thinking when he makes the rec he gave you. There is always the risk of dissatisfaction even though someone gets what they want. If he set you up for a trophy bass foregone conclusion there is the risk you might say about his advice:

"Yeah I have some big bass but I fish 4 hours to catch one and the bluegill are small. I can't catch the bigger ones because the little ones beat them to the hook every time. I dreamed of pond where I caught a lot of fish but I have a pond that I fish two or three evening to catch one (very big) fish."

Trophy bass are a different animal altogether. Most large impoundments either don't produce them or they produce them in concentrations that are quantified in acres/fish ... not fish/acre. In the best of them, it takes > 80 hours of fishing effort to catch one and many fishermen never do. Consider bass tournaments, the best of the best even bear this out. So if you can catch a 8lb bass once for every 4 to 6 hours of effort, the bass fishing for trophies is well beyond excellent.

An 8 pound bass (on average) needs 40 lbs/yrs of forage (>4" in length) in order to maintain its weight. At 50 lbs/yr, it will grow a pound. So if you have 8 of these in your 3/4 acre pond it will take around 400 lbs/year of forage to maintain and grow just them. Whether your bow can do this will depend on how many smaller bass you have and what standing weight of (too many-too big) BG and RES you have. For an 8 lb bass, 3.8" to 4.8" forage will comprise 68% of their numerical intake of prey(~ 60% by weight). This is the optimum length in terms of energy gained and capture success. Prey of this length have little defense against an 8 lb bass. They also eat larger prey and 4.8 to 6 in forage will comprise 13% of the their diet numerically(~24% by weight). Prey above 6" do not commonly fall prey to 8 lb LMB unless sick or dying but still would comprise ~13% of weight. Around 84% of the weight an 8 lb LMB eats is comprised of prey ranging between 3.8" and 6" in length. In a bow where 8lb LMB only have > 6" BG to eat, eg ponds where YOY are cropped by smaller bass, the 8 lb LMB begin making the trek of having a 2 lb head and a 3 pound body. Scroll down this thread to see an example of that.

Having a large standing weight of harvestable panfish that are too large for LMB to eat will significantly lower the production of 3.8" to 4.8" forage (especially when small bass are present) and this has the effect of starving Trophy LMB. So it is often recommended that one have a small forage pond to raise 2" to 3" BG to supplement the food chain. Other things people do is stock tilapia. So tilapia grow fast and can attain > 4" in less than a growing season. Furthermore, they eat foods that the BG can't expanding annual production of prey. Once your LMB get to 5 lbs, TP will do a lot to help them keep growing.

Big bass can be expensive to grow. But this can be lessened by stacking your deck. If you are willing to forgo the fishing diversity and enjoyment that big panfish can bring ... and would be satisfied with 2 or 3 trophies catches/week fishing evenings ... then I would expand on thoughts already presented that I think would help you to grow some massive LMB.

Last edited by jpsdad; 04/13/20 09:26 PM.

Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers