New bass species on Texas record books; California spotted bass world record likely a case of mistaken identity
Story by Matt Williams
There’s a new bass on the books in Texas. It’s called the Alabama bass (Micropterus henshalli), and it is making big waves a far piece from its home range.
Alabama bass are native to the Mobile River basin of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. For years scientists recognized them as one of three species of spotted bass (Micropterus punctulatus), hence the former name “Alabama spotted bass” that existed until scientists determined through DNA analysis and other research that Alabama bass and spotted bass are entirely different animals, particularly when it comes to growth potential.
Biologists say native spotted bass, sometimes referenced as Kentucky or northern spotted bass rarely grow beyond three pounds, whereas Alabama bass are genetically wired to reach much larger weights.
In 2013, the American Fisheries Society designated the Alabama bass as a species unto its own. Established in 1870, the AFS is a non-profit organization comprised of fisheries professionals nationwide whose goals are to advance fisheries and aquatic science and to promote the development of fisheries professionals.
Alabama bass have found their way into several different water bodies across the country over the years, some through illegal releases and some via state agency stockings.
Curious to see how the fish would fare in Texas waters, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s inland fisheries division in 1996 stocked 150 adult Alabama bass into Lake Alan Henry near Lubbock. Like many other lakes across the state, Alan Henry does not have a northern spotted bass population.