A Better, Dumber, Largemouth

Does the notion of an aggressive, fast-growing bass that can be caught repeatedly sound too good to be true?

The "F1" hybrid bass (nicknamed "Tiger bass"), created by fisheries biologists at the American Sport Fish Hatchery in Montgomery, Ala., has those characteristics. For more than a decade, former state fisheries biologists and hatchery owners Barry Smith and Don Keller have supervised the selective breeding of aggressive Northern- and Florida-strain largemouth bass to create the super-bass hybrid.

The project began when, during feeding in the hatchery lakes, the most aggressive fish were captured and bred. Their most aggressive offspring were segregated and bred, and so on through multiple generations. The result is a fish that is aggressive and hearty, like a Northern bass, and grows fast, like a Florida strain.

Smith said that depending on a lake's fertility and forage, Tiger bass might gain 2 to 3 pounds a year and weigh 8 pounds or better at four years. "What we're seeing is more people enjoying catching larger fish and catching fish more often," he says.--Alan Clemons

For more information, go to www.outdoorlife.com/news/snapshots