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Wesley Strader with his spotted bass confirmed as a
new state record on Dec. 10, 2010
More than four months after a
spotted bass weighing 6 pounds 7 ounces was caught on the Ocoee River in
Polk County, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has confirmed the
fish as a new state record.
Wesley Strader, from Spring City TN caught the fish July 30, 2010 on the
Ocoee below Parksville Reservoir. The agency delayed the record fish
certification because of recent research that has raised questions about
the species status of spotted bass. It was declared a state record on
TWRA currently recognizes two sub-species of spotted bass (Micropterus
punctulatus) in Tennessee: the Northern spotted bass and the Alabama
spotted bass. Yet, the latest taxonomic research is calling for the latter
to be its own species, the Alabama bass (Micropterus henshelli).
TWRA was considering adding this new species to the list of species that
would be recognized in its state record fish program. However, the state
record fish application reads “only species recognized by the IGFA
(International Game Fish Association) will be considered for Tennessee
state record certification.”
The TWRA Fisheries Division contacted the IGFA and they indicated that at
this time they only recognize the Alabama spotted bass under the “Spotted
Bass” category and do not recognize the “Alabama bass” as a separate
TWRA had tissue samples from Mr. Strader’s spotted bass genetically
analyzed and the results indicated that the fish was an Alabama spotted
bass or Alabama Bass, depending on name preference.
“Mr. Strader’s bass is a record regardless of which species or sub-species
it is listed under. If the IGFA determines that it is a separate species
at a later date then we will act accordingly,” said Bobby Wilson, TWRA’s
Chief of Fisheries. Wesley’s Strader’s 6-pound, 7-ounce spotted bass
breaks the former record of 5 pounds, 14 ounces caught by Jack Paul Watson
on Dec. 31, 2008. Mr. Watson’s fish was also an Alabama spotted bass
caught in Parksville Reservoir.
Alabama spotted bass are not known to be outside of the Ocoee (Parksville)
watershed in Tennessee. The TWRA did not stock Alabama spotted bass in
Tennessee. It is believed that they were illegally stocked by anglers.
Stocking public waters with any fish species is illegal and can damage
Steve McCadams is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing
area. He has also contributed many outdoor oriented articles to
various national publications.