7 New Bass Species Just Became Eligible for World Records, Including Florida and Alabama Bass

Plus, any new world-record, all tackle submissions for largemouth bass will require genetic testing to qualify for the record books
Bob McNally Avatar
Black bass
Seven new black bass species have been added to the record books and four existing records have been revised. Courtesy of IGFA

The International Game Fish Association has greatly expanded the species of black bass that qualify for its record books. IGFA now recognizes seven new black bass species for all-tackle world record availability, and the organization has revised four of seven existing black bass records, according to a Thursday press release by the agency.

This expansion of bass species included for IGFA records comes following an extensive professional fisheries study that appeared in an American Fisheries Society journal. The research was reviewed and accepted by IGFA staff, who have now altered its record keeping categories. The world record changes have been made to adhere to “current fisheries taxonomic consensus.”

The seven new species IGFA recognizes are Alabama bass, Florida bass, Neosho bass, and four redeye bass (M. cahabaeM. chattahoochaeM. tallapoosae, and M. warriorensis) as distinctly different fish species. Alabama bass are distinguished from the smaller, and more widely distributed, spotted bass.

Alabama bass are not spotted bass.
An Alabama bass.

Courtesy of IGFA

Spotted bass
A spotted bass.

TPW

The fisheries study showed distinct enough differences to warrant separate categories for Florida bass and largemouth bass, which are often indistinguishable without genetic testing. For this reason, IGFA has made these clarifications:

  • Florida bass (Micropterus salmoides) are eligible for line class, tippet class, junior, and length records under the category: “bass, largemouth (Micropterus nigricans/salmoides).” Genetic testing will not be required for submissions in this category.
  • The standing All-Tackle World Record for largemouth bass (22-pounds, 4-ounces under Micropterus nigricans) will remain unchanged.
  • Any new All-Tackle record submissions for largemouth, however, will require genetic verification to qualify.

Because this genetic testing process varies by region, anglers who are interested in submitting a potential world-record largemouth should contact their local fisheries department for additional information, says IGFA

The new fisheries research confirmed that many records previously attributed to spotted bass were, in fact, Alabama bass. Consequently, the IGFA has corrected these records to reflect the accurate species identification. With Alabama bass now recognized as a separate species, it’s eligible for line-class, tippet class, junior, and length record categories. This change allows for 35 new IGFA record opportunities, including seven new line class and tippet class records for men and women.

While genetic verification will be needed for some future black-bass world records, IGFA officials realize implementing that requirement may create barriers for anglers who want to submit potential record catches. IGFA hopes, however, that this requirement encourages anglers to learn more about black bass species diversity.

Read Next: The Biggest Largemouths in History

“These updates are a testament to the IGFA’s ongoing dedication to science and conservation,” said IGFA president, Jason Schratwieser. “By ensuring IGFA World Records reflect the most accurate scientific data available, we not only honor the integrity of our sport but also promote the conservation of these diverse species and the habitats they call home.”