Introducing the “Choctaw” Bass

It seems that there is a new species of bass available for our country’s anglers to fish for. The bass is referred to as the “Choctaw” bass and was first discovered in 2007 while doing a broad-based genetic study on bass and the first “Choctaw” bass came from the Chipola. Additional DNA testing revealed the bass to be present in the Choctawhatchee River and other nearby streams on the western Florida panhandle and coastal river systems in Alabama. The bass is closely related to the spotted bass and any differences are not easily noticeable to the naked eye.

It is almost certain that a number of anglers will try to be among the first to catch a Choctaw bass, but since foolproof identification can only be made through DNA testing, these anglers will only be guessing as to whether, or not, they were successful. One also has to wonder if the Choctaw bass ever made it to California, would it get much larger than its southeastern counterparts – like the spotted bass where the 20+ heaviest spots ever weighed all ame out of California.

Extensive DNA testing may hold the key to discovering many other isolated bass species just different enough to have its own DNA. In the meantime, enjoy the Choctaw bass, which may have a limited run if fisheries personnel in Florida and Alabama cannot do a good job of protecting it from hybridization with other bass species – especially the spotted bass.

The name for the bass was chosen because its range is similar to that one held by the Choctaw Indians.

It seems that there is a new species of bass available for our country’s anglers to fish for. The bass is referred to as the “Choctaw” bass and was first discovered in 2007 while doing a broad-based genetic study on bass and the first “Choctaw” bass came from the Chipola. Additional DNA testing revealed the bass to be present in the Choctawhatchee River and other nearby streams on the western Florida panhandle and coastal river systems in Alabama. The bass is closely related to the spotted bass and any differences are not easily noticeable to the naked eye. It is almost certain that a number of anglers will try to be among the first to catch a Choctaw bass, but since foolproof identification can only be made through DNA testing, these anglers will only be guessing as to whether, or not, they were successful. One also has to wonder if the Choctaw bass ever made it to California, would it get much larger than its southeastern counterparts - like the spotted bass where the 20+ heaviest spots ever weighed all ame out of California. Extensive DNA testing may hold the key to discovering many other isolated bass species just different enough to have its own DNA. In the meantime, enjoy the Choctaw bass, which may have a limited run if fisheries personnel in Florida and Alabama cannot do a good job of protecting it from hybridization with other bass species - especially the spotted bass. This Choctaw bass was collected from Florida’s Holmes Creek in February 2012.

This Choctaw bass was collected from Florida’s Holmes Creek in February 2012.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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