While sampling bass during lake surveys, we’re asked how to identify Floridas?  It’s obviously not a scientific method, but one casual way to determine if a fish has Florida genes is the appearance of irregular-shaped spots on the back and a broken lateral line.  Its northern cousin typically has a smooth, solid color, no spots, and more clearly defined lateral line.

Florida’s became the rage years ago with their genetic potential to reach super bass status.  As first generation fish reached record classes, however, anglers experienced the “too good to be true” reality.  Lunkers grew to anticipated sizes, but also demonstrated trophy moody biting habits.  Fishermen had to decide if they were willing to cast all day and risk not having a story at the coffee shop Monday morning or compromising management philosophy to see some action.

During this period, consultants added two new terms to the pond management vocabulary—“quantity” and “trophy” fishery.  Lake owners were asked if goals included catching greater numbers of three to six pound fish or fewer numbers in trophy sizes.  Folks who originally stocked pure Floridas, but desired better catch rates, introduced Northern largemouth.  Since Northerns have a more aggressive biting profile, quantity programs benefited from a cross strain with routy behavior, plus Florida genes to help it exceed typical Northern growth rates.  Quantity managers get more story telling time, but we still have some hard-core managers who are holding out for final bragging rights.

Transitioning to the “cross strain” program is simple regardless how your lake was stocked originally.  If the lake’s five-years-old or older, consider introducing new genes, even if you stay with a pure Northern or Florida plan.  Future bass health will benefit from new fish that refresh genetic diversity.  Let’s visit about weights of your mature bass population.  It may influence the size of new stockers.