You might like hunting for Bigfoot or Celebrity Ghosts, but something discovered just recently in Florida is sure to cause concerns in bass fishing. The irony, of course, the biologists in Florida were not hunting for a new species of bass, but sure enough, when the DNA results came back, what they found that looked like a spotted bass–wasn’t.

And now watch. We’ll get to deal with it.

As you know, in many parts of the country (California one of them, for sure) black bass are not a native species. I don’t know the whole story about those red-eyed spots from Lake Oroville years back, but largemouths and Alabama (who knew?) spotted bass have been imported. Stripers are also immigrants.

So as soon as someone wants to reconfigure the environment as they perceive it must have looked 200 years ago, anglers always face the threat of someone plucking these established populations from what has been the reality for the last century or longer.

It’s a bit different issue with these newly dubbed Choctaw bass as it appears they are native to the localized areas. But on one map I encountered, Florida wildlife officials have dubbed an adjacent zone as holding “invasive” spotted bass–whatever the generic spot found in that part of the country.

So you can see the problem. We’re told there in an invasive species present. Yet, we’re also told, identifying the Choctaw by sight is virtually impossible without a DNA test meaning everywhere this thing swims–or anywhere it might be projected to swim, there are surely going to be some regulatory, protective “walls” built up–and soon.

Now I think this isolated discovery, just like the rare Guadalupe bass of Texas, are pretty cool–and frankly, being so far away, they don’t affect my fishing. That is, until some species preservationist takes a governmental position that can put the squeeze on local bass fishing.

This makes me nervous. I think I would recognize Bigfoot (Photoshopped or not), but if we can’t ID this “new” bass, imagine what regulations it might inspire?



9 Responses to “‘New’ bass could mean trouble lies ahead”

I hear you George, but remember that there is a pretty big fishing and marine industry out there and they ought to know how to lobby – too.

by Kevin Linehan

The fishing and marine industry is no match for the psychotic, liberal tree huggers. On a side note, how about we transport a whole bunch of those Choctaw Bass to Elsinore? We can change the name to the Pechanga Bass.

Due to my lack of out west experience I might be misunderstanding the problem. But, there are bunches of species of bass (some hard to tell apart for sure) in the south east (now that we know about this new one, I’d bet there are other “hidden species”) and it doesn’t impact the fishing much.

I wonder how big this new species will grow? Do they know yet which species mated in order to create this new species? What did the DNA tests show?

by George Kramer

Jody: Preservationist attitudes when they reach the action stage mean trouble for anglers. These things come up periodically in different parts of the country and each time they do, they have more traction. It’s worse here, but the trend is everywhere.

by Jason Prewitt

Question….Have biologists actually classified these bass as NEW species? Or are they simply an extreme variance in genetic makeup in a certain body of water or two? Remember, the basic definition of species based on the biological concept is a collection of individuals that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring of both sexes. I wonder if this “spot that wasnt” is part of a population of fish that have separated in behavior, niche occupation and relative physiology so far away from our more common species of bass that they will only mate and reproduce with each other. If that is the case, then yes, there might be changes down the road. It sounds like we only have half the picture so far. I enjoyed this article Mr. Kramer.

by George Kramer

Splitters and groupers were the face of taxonomy in my day. I’m just going by what the biologists are saying in the published material, including the link. But it doesn’t take a “real” discovery–only the perception of one to stimulate environmental “assistance.”

by Terry Foreman

Lumpers and splitters. Groupers are marine serranids. :o) The problem is that DNA protocols now available will show allegedly “vast” differences in species, and the splitters will hold sway for a while, until common sense takes over. My opinion only.

by George Kramer

You’re right–it was the more technical term “lumpers.” Science has brought us so far… 🙁