Tiger Bass is a buzzword among pond owners and bass anglers. Word of its success has traveled even overseas to such places as Japan and Italy. What is this fish, where does it come from, and what is the real background on its growth?
The name Tiger Bass is a registered trademark of American Sport Fish Hatchery in Montgomery, AL. This name refers to the specific cross developed at ASF. It was created utilizing genetics of aggressive, pure northern largemouth bass bred with a strain of proven trophy Florida largemouth.
The goal for this breeding–create a true F-1 bass that would be easy to catch and have rapid growth. The term F-1 is used in fisheries science to denote offspring resulting from mating two different species, subspecies, or genetic strains of animals. In this case, F-1 refers to breeding two recognized subspecies of bass: Florida and northern. The F-1 utilized by state game and fish agencies during 1960’s and 1970’s, was a cross between a pure northern (native) and pure Florida. This is not the same as the Tiger Bass. Tiger Bass were created through a selective breeding program to bite artificial lures more readily (aggressive northern strain), and to grow at a more rapid rate (offspring from trophy Florida bass blood lines). There are many so-called F-1 bass available today, but most are merely intergrade bass containing an unknown mixture of Florida and northern genetics.
Today’s pond owners are more informed about pond and bass management. There has been considerable progress in bass management, especially among private sector biologists. Thinking outside the box and challenging many paradigms of the 1950’s and 1960’s has yielded greater predictability in creating outstanding fisheries. Changing traditional bluegill-bass stocking from the traditional 10:1 to a 30:1, or even higher, has resulted in consistent growth rates in excess of 2-pounds per year. There also are more pond management tools available to biologists and pond owners today than in the 70’s. We have aeration and destratification systems, automatic fish feeders, liming barges, supplemental forage, such as threadfin shad, golden shiners and tilapia─ plus an understanding of selective bass harvest. All of these factors contribute to bass growth rates and trophy bass available to lake owners.
The biggest factor limiting a bass from achieving trophy status–FOOD. Most management experts agree, producing proper size forage is the key to rapid growth. As bass reach big sizes, they prefer big meals. In well-managed lakes and ponds, Tiger Bass have shown consistent growth rates–often exceeding 2-pounds per year. The majority of these lakes are well fertilized. The forage base includes bluegill and threadfin shad. Some owners have seen exceptional growth of 2.5 o 3 pounds per year.
ASF has numerous reports of 18-month-old Tiger Bass ranging from 2.5 to more than 4.5 pounds. These lakes were stocked at 20 to 30:1 ratios. Many also are stocked with golden shiners and threadfin shad. Larger bass were females. One owner’s records show a Tiger Bass weighing 9-pounds, 12-ounces in only 32- months! That lake has numerous 7- to 10-pounders. An AL fishing club reported several over 14-pounds before the lake was 7-years-old.
Producing Tiger Bass requires extra hatchery work, but growth rates document results. We would enjoy helping you develop a food chain to attain above impressive success.