Home > Follow-Up > New Bass Species Could Create Dilemma for IGFA, Opportunity for Anglers

New Bass Species Could Create Dilemma for IGFA, Opportunity for Anglers

Is Bryan Shishido's World Record Fish an Alabama Bass or Spotted Bass?

Is the current world record Spotted Bass really a Spotted Bass?

Yesterday I wrote about how the American Fisheries Society is expected to recognize the Alabama Bass as a distinct and unique species later in 2010.  This opens a can of worms in regard to the existing International Game Fish Associattion (IGFA) Spotted Bass record.

The existing record of 10 lbs o4 oz is held by Bryan Shishido.  The fish was caught 4/21/2001 from Pine Flat Lake in California and is recognized by the IGFA as the World Record for Spotted Bass, Micropterus punctulatus.   But is the fish really a Spotted Bass?

If California Department of Fish and Game stocked fish from the Mobile Basin, then that fish is probably an Alabama Bass, Micropterus henshalli.  It is widely believed that the California Department of Fish and Game introduced fish to Pine Flat Lake containing Mobile Basin genetics.

All that is left of the Mr. Sishido’s catch are photographs.  Because the Alabama Bass and the Spotted Bass look so similar, it will be difficult for biologists to definitively identify the species based on photographs.  Obviously, the fish is no longer available for genetic testing.

“Assuming genetic testing is the only way to tell the species apart, it could be problematic for the IGFA” says Jason Schratwieser, Conservation Director of the IGFA.

Mr. Schratwieser says that the that the IGFA will recognize any species The American Fisheries Society recognizes. Therefore, one way or another, a new record for black bass will be available to be established later this year.

It is difficult to predict what the final outcome will be.  If the IGFA does not have solid evidence to reclassify the existing record as an Alabama Bass, then the existing record will remain classified as a Spotted Bass.  This opens a distinct possibility that a new record for Alabama Bass will be submitted from California.

If the IGFA does have enough evidence to reclassify the fish as an Alabama Bass, then Spotted Bass anglers from famous lakes such as Table Rock Lake, Kentucky Lake, and Lake Lanier will have the opportunity to establish a new IGFA Spotted Bass Record.

It will be incumbent upon the IGFA and California Department of Game and Fish to work together to examine the evidence surrounding the existing record and determine whether it will remain as is or be reclassified.  I speculate that if there is any evidence that Spotted Bass have ever been introduced in that lake, then the existing record will stand.

If the existing record stands, bass fishermen will put a large asterisk next to the official Spotted Bass World Record and be left to wonder whether the fish is truly a Spotted Bass.

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  1. Mark Kumataka
    November 15, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Bryan had the fish mounted but not sure if he would consent for you to take a sample. It’s a real skin mount so the gills are real. Not sure if he would consent. I think his cousin has the fish.

  2. Mark Kumataka
    February 6, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Bryan’s cousin has a skin mount of Bryan’s record. You might be able to convince him to give you a few scales from the back of the mount.

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