Stock Your Lake with the Best-Biting Bass, Crappie, Catfish and Bluegills
Day 1: Man-Eating Tiger Bass Created by Don Keller and Barry Smith
Editor’s Note: Barry Smith and Don Keller own and operate American Sport Fish Hatchery near Montgomery, Alabama. Smith explains, “Many years ago we stocked ponds and lakes with the Florida strain of black bass, because they grew to trophy-size quickly. But the problem with the Florida strain of bass was they were reluctant to take artificial lures. So, we began to use the northern strain of largemouth bass, by selecting the most-aggressive bass out of each year class of northern bass that we spawned. These bass were so aggressive, they’d attack anything that hit the water. We next decided to cross this very-aggressive strain of northern largemouth with the Florida strain that had a history of producing bass 10 pounds or larger. The result was the Tiger Bass.”
When Spencer Ross of Chatom, Alabama, put his hand in a pond’s water, he couldn’t believe that a bass came-up and bit his fingers. When WKRG TV of Mobile, Alabama, came to investigate the story of the man-eating Tiger Bass, the station filmed what happened when Ross put his hand in the water and a bass came-up to bite it. Ross was able to grab the bass by the mouth and land the fish.
“These Tiger Bass are super-aggressive, and I’ve been able to hand-grab bass weighing up to 10 pounds off the dock,” Ross reports. Ross fishes at Bear Lake (a private lake in south Alabama), which has an area where fishermen occasionally feed bream, bread crumbs and crackers after they come-in from fishing. There’s also a fish feeder on the dock. When the bream start feeding, the Tiger Bass move-in to feed on the bream. “I noticed that when there was only three or four bass feeding on the bream, the fish were very-cautious,” Ross explains. “But, when I could get a feeding-frenzy going, and eight or ten bass weighing from 6- to 10-pounds each started feeding on the bream, the bass became very-aggressive and would attack anything that hit the water. So, I put my fingers in the water and started wiggling them like a bream swimming – suddenly, a bass came-up out of the water and bit my fingers.”
After several-more bass attacks, Ross came-up with the idea of trying to catch the bass when they attacked. Ross explains, “I finally learned how to move my fingers to resemble the movement of a bluegill. When a bass bit my fingers, I’d get my thumb under the bass’ jaw and lifted it out of the water, just like I would when I landed bass on hook and line.” Ross fishes Bear Lake about 3 days a week and says he’s caught and released over 100 bass weighing 10 pounds or more from this lake. “These Tiger Bass are super-aggressive and a lot of fun to catch,” Ross says. “Our lake was stocked with these man-eating Tiger Bass in 2003, and the fishing has been phenomenal.”
Smith and Keller knew that they had developed a man-eater, when they’d invite some of their colleagues to put their fingers in the Tiger Bass tank. Keller and Smith observed these bass biting their colleagues’ fingers. But, it wasn’t until they saw Ross’ original video ( http://youtu.be/Mq76pbE6qDg) and later the WKRG TV video ( http://www2.wkrg.com/news/2012/jun/05/fisherman-catches-bass-bare-hand-ar-3922721/), that they realized they had created a real man-eating Tiger Bass. Today, this new strain of fast-growing, very-aggressive largemouth bass is being stocked in ponds and lakes throughout the South. To learn more about Tiger Bass, go to HYPERLINK "http://www.americansportfish.com" http://www.americansportfish.com, or call 334-281-7703.
To learn more about how to catch every species of bass, get the new Kindle eBook, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro” by John E. Phillips. click here. Or, you can go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks and type-in the name of the book to find it. You can also download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone.