Bass or Not? Either Way, Florida Has 'Em All

By: Terry Gibson

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A bass may or may not be a true bass.

All the common names for these fishes, true bass or not, give the biologists fits.

For instance, there are a couple of related native and stocked species in the Morones family here in the Fishing Capital of the World that are called “basses” but they’re not related to the five species of actual bass found here, including our own legendary Florida-strain largemouth.

Click here for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s top spots for this family of fishes.

Striped Bass

These fish get big. Really big. And the biggest fish from all the Morones spp. family came from the Apalachicola/Lake Seminole system. The state record is 42.25 pounds. Most of the state’s best striped bass fishing takes place in the St. Johns River watershed, especially from Deland north to Jacksonville.

White Bass

White bass look like short stripers. They are silvery-white with five to eight dusky black stripes on the sides. Stripes below the lateral line are faint and may be uneven. Whites are stockier than stripers, with a smaller head, and dorsal fins are set closer together.

Their aggressive nature and schooling tendency make them easy fish to catch. Use light tackle. Look for feeding schools that occur toward evening in shallow areas. This is great fun fishing for kids. One of the best places to catch them is below Lake Seminole, near Tallahassee.

Sunshine Bass

Sunshines are voracious feeders and consume any kind of small fish including threadfin and gizzard shad. They are a hybrid of a female white bass and male striped bass that does not occur naturally. The mouth of the Escambia River near Pensacola has good hybrid fishing. Also, check out Newnan's Lake near Gainesville.

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