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Florida Strain Bass Vs Black Bass

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What's the difference here between the two types of fish? I have heard that Florida's grow rapidly. Is that the only difference?

 

The lake I fish has been stocking fingerlings since about 2009 or 2010. Apparently I've been fishing an area where they have been stocking them as well. I guess they were right under my nose without me knowing.

 

How would I identify these fish? Should I try to target the Florida strain over native bass?

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Well first off, Florida strain bass, Northern Strain Bass, Spotted Bass, and Red Eye Bass, are "all" considered to be black bass.

 

Florida bass do grow bigger / faster, but often have shorter lifespans than the slower growing Northern's.

 

The best way to target Florida's, is to fish places know to hold only Florida's, or at least having been infused with a good amount of Florida genes to mix in with the Northern's.

 

Florida bass also tend to be less predictable (on today, off tomorrow) compared to Northern's.

 

Fish

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So, basically a larger, younger fish? The only thing less desirable would be less predictable fish behavior?

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Florida Bass are supposed to be smarter as well that or better memory on being hooked. I think they can tend to be a little shy after you catch them once until a little time has passed.

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Florida Bass are supposed to be smarter as well that or better memory on being hooked. I think they can tend to be a little shy after you catch them once until a little time has passed.

Ok, I want to catch the dumb breed then.

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haha well we have florida stocked in some farm ponds, one thing i notice here in OK that i can catch the Northern bass easier when the water temp is still cool. seems like the Florida bass are tougher to get to bite when its colder until that water temp gets up and stays up and then they become much more active.

 

But like above, they are stronger and get bigger but just a shorter life span.

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haha well we have florida stocked in some farm ponds, one thing i notice here in OK that i can catch the Northern bass easier when the water temp is still cool. seems like the Florida bass are tougher to get to bite when its colder until that water temp gets up and stays up and then they become much more active.

 

But like above, they are stronger and get bigger but just a shorter life span.

 

that is what I have heard the most: FL strain are VERY succeptible to even slight temp. changes.

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To answer your questions in regards to being able to look at a northern strain LMB and tell the difference from a Florida strain LMB the answer is yes, but it takes a close look and examination.

Northern LMB and Florida LMB are both black bass, 2 different strain with different genetic make up.

Looking at the bass up close you will notice the lateral line scales have a hole in each scale that runs along the lateral line. If you lay a live LMB flat on a wet towel to keep the bass wet and fold one wet end of the towel over the basses head to keep in calm and the gills wet, you can count the number of lateral line scales quickly.

Northern LMB have between 59 to 68 of these scales. Florida LMB have between 69 to 73. You will not be able to tell if the FLMB is a pure Florida or a inter grade mix with both NLMB and FLMB genes. However over 68 lateral line scales tells you it's a FLMB.

It's been my experience fishing for giant FLMB for over over 40 years in SoCal deep structured lakes the FLMB behave differently than NLMB. It's true some FLMB grow faster then NLMB, but not all, only a small percentage of the females will achieve 10 lbs plus weights, however a higher percentage than NLMB. FLMB over 15 lbs are very rare, 15 lb + NLMB are as rare as 20 lb+ FLMB.

FLMB are more selective feeders than NLMB and generally less aggressive when striking artifical lures than NLMB. I am not sure why FLMB seem to be more wary then NLMB, my guess is the FLMB is genetically wired to seek larger bait fish then NLMB and to find the preferred prey they had to learn to leave the shoreline cover and feed on pelagic fish located more in the open water main lake basin. Rarely will NLMB feed on larger prey fish like stocked rainbow trout, where FLMB prefer the 8" to 10" size fish. FLMB loose this wariness at night and are just as aggressive striking lures in the dark as NLMB.

There is a reason FLMB are not widely distributed and that is cold water tolerance; FLMB can not servive in water temperatures lower than 45 degrees.

It may be true that far north NLMB will live longer then FLMB due to the short growing season where NLMB in lakes freeze over. The life span for both NLMB and FLMB in California is about 15 years for both strains of bass.

What conditions allow a FLMB to grow to giant size is year around feeding opportunity and abundance of food during the first 2 years of their life, a FLMB can attain growth to 4 lbs in 2 years, NLMB max out about 2 lbs during the first 2 years. This spurt in growth gives the FLMB a big advantage and can feed on anything they want sooner than NLMB that can take 4 years to grow to 4 pounds and start feeding on a wider variety of prey.

Good luck.

Tom

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Good info Tom. I noticed that the FLMB were stocked in a small, timber-flooded, northern arm of the 40,000 acre clear water lake I fish. The lake will never freeze over where I live. We don't have that harsh of a winter. I would say there is plenty of forage for these fish in this lake.

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