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Why is everyone so concernced about releasing the big bass. The big bass aren't born big they are at one point small so shouldn't it be equally as important to be releasing the small ones?

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No. There are many, often too many, small ones. There are fewer big bass because they die, are eaten or kept by fisherman as they grow over the years. We like to release big bass so they can grow bigger and we can catch them again.

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A 5lber this year could be a 6lber or bigger next year when you catch it again.  That is a big reason California has all the big bass they do.  Catch and release.

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Both of the above posts are true. If you a regular on this forum, you will learn that

big bass are not common. Lets take it a step farther by looking at both the feeding

patterns and forage food for larger bass. Big bass don't get big by expending alot

of energy for their forage food. There is not doubt that bass get VERY large on a diet

of stocked rainbow trout. The stocked trout are a suitable size for the big bass, they

are also not very bright, and are high in protein and fat. A large sow bass will be able

to feed on a larger, nutrient dense food item less frequently. Thus they expend less

energy by consuming larger meals less frequently.

Tilapia is another good food source for large bass, their protein content is about the same

as trout. Largemouth bass in Mexico dine on the LARGER Tilapia WHEN AVAILABLE. Larger

Tilapia are also a favorite food source for HUMANS as well, so a good number of the

larger Tilapia are removed from the food chain with nets. My theory is, that if the big

bass in Mexico had as many LARGER Tilapia to dine on as the California bass have with

the larger stocked rainbow trout, we would see a few 20lb class largemouths come out

of Mexico. The release of Tilapia in Texas is STRICTLY forbidden. You can't even transport

live Tilapia without a permit in Texas, because they spawn several times a year.

Now lets look at the smaller bass. We know that bass like to eat perch, sunfish (bass are in the sunfish

family), etc.  The smaller bass primarily eat the smaller forage fish, therefore there are fewer forage

fish that grow to suitable size for the LARGE bass. When a bass has to expend a significant amount

of energy for growth, they will not live to their genetic potential. So why kill a larger bass,

when she/he has already defied the odds? Because of their rarity, that is why we practice

Catch and Release, along with selective harvest. Competition for forage food is why we

should occasionally remove 2lb class bass. Maybe, Fish Chris will weigh in on this topic as

well.

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I could be wrong and probally am but I thought I heard somewhere that big bass pass on certain genes to there off spring which in turn gives them more odds of being trophy size themselves.   Any truth to that   Anyways I don't eat fish so I have no desire to keep them and if its a mountable size 10+ then I will get the mesurements and get a replica.  So far I haven't had any in the 10+ range but I'm getting closer

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Bassnut, genetics are definately a factor. That is why we have the Sharelunker program

here in Texas. The offspring of the Florida strain Sharelunkers grow faster and are bigger

than their wild cousins. Your catch and release ethics should pay off with that 10 pounder

someday.

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Bassnut, genetics are definately a factor. That is why we have the Sharelunker program

here in Texas. The offspring of the Florida strain Sharelunkers grow faster and are bigger

than their wild cousins. Your catch and release ethics should pay off with that 10 pounder

someday.

True to a certain point, but you are missing the other 2 elements that allow the genes to express, genetics alone will not produce a large fish if the environment and/or the food source is not adequate.

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Raul, I addressed the food source factor in the first post. There are definately other

factors, such as water temps, water quality,etc. Quality and quantity are two different

issues. The point that I was trying to make, was that the practice of catch and release

of the larger fish combined with selective harvest help to increase the quality of the

fishery.

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Good post Lane, but I have a little trouble with your theory about bass in Mexico,

unless you're referring only to the northern fringe of Mexico. To my mind at least,

"latitude" is even more important than "forage".

My theory is, that if the big bass in Mexico

had as many LARGER Tilapia to dine on as the California bass have with the larger stocked rainbow

trout, we would see a few 20lb class largemouths come out of Mexico.

I believe that regardless of a high-fat diet, bass living north of Sacramento, California

do not enjoy the prolonged growing season needed for world-class weight.

Inversely, bass living south of Chihuahua, Mexico would be inclined to die from "thermal burnout"

before attaining world-class wieght (this would also include Cuba).

Again, that's only an opinion and not a fact.

Roger

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Rolo, you are correct about the, "thermal burnout" due to increased metabolic rate.

I was indeed talking about the extreme northern fringe of Mexico. I placed emphasis

on the forage aspect, due its relevance to the original question on the harvest of larger

bass. I have had several conversations with my friend Doug Hannon on the relationship

between lattitude, water temperatures and life span of the largemouth bass.

While, I do not know if a world record is possible in extreme northern Mexico, I do believe

that 17lb to 20lb largemouth are quite possible if suitable forage is available. Granted they

are rare! IMO,removing large bass will always reduce the quality of a fishery. Removing

smaller bass, can improve the quality by allowing forage to obtain suitable size.

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Height above sea level Roger, not latitude is what rules here, that 's what creates the different climatic zones, if latitude were of importance Mexico would be a tropical country all over, something like Florida but it 's not, Chihuahua is cold because the entire state is on the high part of the Sierra Madre Occidental. Mexico City should be warmer than for example León ( where I live ) because it 's 250 miles more to the south however it is a lot colder than here, the difference: 3000 ft more above sea level.

California big bass lakes are a special place where fish grow to behemoth size because they have:

1.- genetics

2.- abundant food source

3.- water cold enough to make them live long and grow fat for an extended period of time

4.- a strong catch and release mindset.

Bass in Mexico have the genetics, have the abundant food source ( tilapia where available spawn frequently ), but lack in water cold enough to make them live long ( fast growth but lower lifespan ) and no catch and release mindset by most anglers, a big momma makes the stupidity of biting a lure and most probably it 's going to be the last day of it 's life.

We, the anglers that have the mindset of catch & release for trophy size fish are continously making the effort to educate other anglers to do the same. It 's not easy, it 's going to take a lot of time but it 's better than not to do anything about it at all.

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Rolo, you are correct about the, "thermal burnout" due to increased metabolic rate.

I was indeed talking about the extreme northern fringe of Mexico. I placed emphasis

on the forage aspect, due its relevance to the original question on the harvest of larger

bass. I have had several conversations with my friend Doug Hannon on the relationship

between lattitude, water temperatures and life span of the largemouth bass.

While, I do not know if a world record is possible in extreme northern Mexico, I do believe

that 17lb to 20lb largemouth are quite possible if suitable forage is available. Granted they

are rare! IMO,removing large bass will always reduce the quality of a fishery. Removing

smaller bass, can improve the quality by allowing forage to obtain suitable size.

That makes sense to me thumbsup.gif

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Height above sea level Roger, not latitude is what rules here

On balance, as the elevation rises, the mean air temperature falls 3.3 degrees

for every 1,000 ft above sea level. On that basis, Chihuahua might average

about 10 degrees cooler, which is very significant. In addition however,

Chihuahua is situated over 400 miles from the ocean, which I give more weight

than elevation. The word they use is "oceanicity", where contintental locations (inland)

such as Chihuahua, are not moderated by the maritime effect of the ocean.

This phenomenon helps to explain the superiority of the California climate (and bass).

California lies on the leading edge of the Prevailing Westerlies, which moderates

the continental effect. Although few know or talk about, a goodly portion of Florida

also enjoys a mini California-like climate because it lies in the Northwest Tradewinds,

where the air flow is coming off the Atlantic Ocean.

California big bass lakes are a special place where fish grow to behemoth size because they have:

1.- genetics

2.- abundant food source

3.- water cold enough to make them live long and grow fat for an extended period of time

4.- a strong catch and release mindset.

All True.

The genetics of California bass however were transplanted, therefore the genetic vigor

is subject to wane over time. Which is to say, revert back to the natural gene pool.

I think this is why we're seeing the "Hot New Lake" hop-scotch around the state,

as each new test tube losses vigor: Miramar -> Castaic -> Dixon -> ???

"Catch-&-Release" plays a role of course, but any region that's satisfies "all" other criteria

will ultimately be disclosed by inaccessible waters &/or by private waters.

#3: Water cold enough to make them live long and grow fat for an extended period

To be sure, which underscores the importance of "latitude" and "oceanicity",

and the reason why I rank latitude so high.

Roger

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Not really much I can add. Lane's post is spot on. Roger is right about thermal burnout too.

All I can really do is reitterate that removing big bass "NEVER" helps anything. I have yet to find a lake which was overpopulated with giants.... But if I ever do, I'm moving there ! :-)

Sure, I believe that a bass which has proven that it has the right genes to get huge, should be allowed to pass on as many of those genes as possible, but I think its even more important that that specific fish be allowed to stay alive as long as possible, as the odds of it being C/R'd again are VERY high. On the other hand, whether that huge bass ever produces offspring which will grow to its same huge size, or even larger, will always involve the luck factor.

Peace,

Fish

PS, Hey Lane, I do see one major difference in the presence of lots of "dumber than dirt" hatchery trout, and lots of wild "raised themselves from a tiny egg, with no outseide help" Tilapia. Obviously, the Tilapia would be a LOT harder to catch, which would = more energy expended, even if the Tilapia was just as nutritional in the end.

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Chris, your are absolutely right about the Tilapia. While Tilapia spawn several times a

year, I doubt that there is an ABUNDANT amount of larger Tilapia.  There would need

to be a significant population of larger Tilapia for the big bass. I will know more about

this when I go down there this winter. We will be working with the government on conservation

issues. They are starting to realize the value of LARGE bass, and are eager to learn

conservation methods, etc.

BTW, your care package is on it's way!

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Guest avid

My home lake is C&R only, so there is no debate about what to do with any bass one catches.

That being said it is a healthy fishery.  There is nice balance of bigguns to dinks so all seems well.

I don't think any healthy fishery is going to be harmed by keeping a percentage of the bass, whatever the size.  It just makes sense to actively seek release of the larger bass.  These are the fish who are closest to trophy size for any given body of water.  Let em keep on growing and passing down their superior genetics.

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Release the big ones so your angling bretheren can try to catch them.  Release the medium ones so they can get big.  Release the small ones so they can grow to medium.  Eat the three pounders on a steak roll (but only one).

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I know many of our Florida lakes are full of Tilapia. Perhaps that is why we have so many large bass over here? Does anyone make a Tilapia swimbait? Might be worth looking into.

Always release big bass. Sometimes I like to fish lakes that I know people are keeping bigger fish in hopes that every fish I catch I sore mouth and release so that someone else would have a lessor chance of catching that fish. Sort of my way of helping out those fish  ;)

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This is exactly what I love about this place. The technical discussions and knowledge of the members in here is unreal.

Thanks to everyone for the insight.

Wayne

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