The Florida Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus) occurs naturally in all Florida, though some are considered integrades. Integrades are mixed breads of the Florida Bass and the largemouth bass from the north.
These mixed breads occur from Florida to Maryland. Due mainly to the warmer climate, the Florida bass grow to maturity much quicker than their northern counterparts, and as a result, they have been stocked in many places such as California. Moreover, Florida also offers a chance to fish for the famed Peacock Bass.
The Florida Largemouth Bass is actually a member of the sunfish family, a close relative to the Black Bass.
The Florida Largemouth Bass is known for its fast growth, large size and the great challenge it provides to anglers more so than its northern cousin does. As Florida is a sub-tropical to temperate climate, it increases the growing season for bass and provides comfortable year round fishing as winter fishing is rather difficult in the north.
Florida also offers a large habitat for the Florida Largemouth Bass with over 10,500 miles (16,898 kilometres) of rivers, streams and canals. Amazingly, there are some 7,710 named lakes within Florida. The record Florida Largemouth caught in Florida is a stunning 17.27 pounds (7.8 Kg), however, it is rumoured that a 20.125 (9.13 Kg) bass was caught. I guess BassFishing-Gurus.com would not be a proper site without some exaggerated fish story.
The Florida Largemouth Bass has a Large impact on the tourism dollars spent in the state and a large part of Florida's tourism is actually outdoors-based, essentially fishing and hunting and several programs have been implemented to increase this industry further including the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) that is in the process of implementing a five-year $50 million outreach effort to “increase participation in recreational angling and boating.
Florida even offers free freshwater fishing days in the first full weekend in April each year.
Bass Tournament have become very popular in the state as well with ESPN covering several events live. The Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and moved their headquarters to Florida, and will be aggressively promoting their events and even WalMart is now sponsoring the FLW tour. Florida Largemouth Fishing is a huge industry in the state of Florida.
Florida in Texas
The florida largemouth bass is so popular that it has been introduced to many other locales. In Texas, it has become even more popular than it is in Florida. Florida has two subspecies of the Florida Largemouth Bass: the Micropterus salmoides salmoides and the Micropterus salmoides floridanus.
The Florida bass, as the name indicates, have a large mouth and a high ratio of fin surface to body size. While this observation may appear overly simplistic, many angler failed to realise the size of prey they can go after. This large fin helps the fish fight aggressively and manoeuvre well.
Largemouth bass have light greenish to dark green and brownish, sometimes almost black bodies with lighter grey bellies. The Florida Largemouth Bass has a rather large, slightly sloping mouth and a slightly compressed body laterally, though it appears oval in cross section. One way of recognizing a largemouth bass is from their jaw, which extends significantly beyond the rear of the eye.
There are two subspecies of the largemouth bass and they are generally referred to as the northern largemouth and the Florida largemouth. There is very little difference in appearance between the two, however, there is a different in size with the Florida growing much bigger and faster making it the preferred fisf for anglers.
The Florida Largemouth Bass has slightly smaller scales than the northern Largemouth Bass in relation to the size of its body. It has 69 to 73 scales along the lateral line, compared to 59 to 65 on the northern largemouth. It grows faster and reaches larger sizes in warm waters than the northern largemouth, leading to its popularity in stocking efforts across the US.
Being similar in appearance, it is often confused with the Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus), which is itself mistaken for the Kentucky bass. The spotted bass has its spiny and soft dorsal fins fused. Also, its upper jaw is noticeably smaller than that of the Florida Largemouth bass and does not extend beyond the eye.
The Florida Largemouth Bass is a member of the sunfish family and differs only in size from a southern subspecies, the Florida largemouth bass. Measured from gill to tail, the northern largemouth has from approximately fifty-nine to sixty-eight scales in the lateral line, while the southern largemouth has approximately sixty-nine to seventy-three scales.
In general, you could consider a six-pound largemouth to be a trophy fish in the north, whereas a 12-pound (5.4 kilograms) largemouth in the south would not be uncommon.
The average length is 18 inches (46 cm) but the Florida Largemouth Bass may attain a length of 24 inches (61 cm) or more. The world record Florida Largemouth bass was caught in Montgomery Lake, Georgia in 1932 at a whopping 22 pounds, 4 ounces (10 kilograms). However, there are a few fish stories about a 20 pound (9.1 kilograms) Florida Largemouth Bass being caught in Florida in recent years. Go figure, an exaggerated fish story... The largest bass ever caught in Florida is actually 17.125 pounds (7.77 kilograms), still a respectable fish.
They are not a long-lived fish with an average life-span of 7.5 years. The females have a maximum life-span of nine years, while the males only reach a maximum of six years.
Now let's look at the size of the Florida Largemouth you are likely to catch. 17.25 and 20.125 are the largest ones caught on record. Don't expect to land a 17 or even 15 pound largemouth bass. The average size of a Florida Largemouth Bass caught in Florida is somewhere around five to seven pounds, though there are several that are caught above ten pounds.