Our study involving largemouth bass provides the
first direct experimental evidence that vulnerability to
angling is a heritable trait and, as a result, that
recreational hook-and-line fisheries can cause evolutionary
change in fish populations.
A twenty year study on Largemouth Bass yields an eye-opening conundrum for anglers, as the research suggests that Bass pass the likelihood for being caught from one generation to the next.
A 20-year study, led by University of Illinois research David Philipp, provided the first direct experimental proof that vulnerability to angling is an inherited trait.
Beginning in the 1970s, Philipp and his colleagues tagged and released largemouth bass in a pond in central Illinois. Some fish were caught up to 16 times a year. But when the pond was drained in the 1980s, they found that 200 of the 1,700 bass that were tagged had never been caught.
From that stock, the researchers bred groups of "high-vulnerability" and "low-vulnerability" bass. Then they stocked those fish in the same pond and repeated the experiment. Through three generations, the offspring stayed true to the parents’ tendencies.
– via Red Bluff Daily News
Years ago, US anglers took great exception to the practice of killing wild trout that was common on managed water in Europe and the UK. Angling restrictions required the fish be kept, as the prevailing theory was, “once it’s felt the hook – it’s not likely to eat an artificial again.”
The document mentions that Rainbow Trout have been used in similar research but fails to mention any conclusions of their use as subjects.
While the above conclusion is limited to Largemouth Bass, if it were to hold for most gamefish, then killing fish that take any fly, lure, or bait, ensures only the antisocial, cagey fish are left to breed, thereby ensuring that the fishery is ruined for us beer drinking vacationers …
Of interest is the description of the Largemouth’s vision, it can see about 50 feet with a resolution quality of about 10% that of a human.
Several lure companies have come out with highly touted lures with intricate paint patterns designed to imitate baitfish. But many of those baits proved to be a disappointment and never did sell the way manufacturers hoped they would.
The problem? They might have been too accurate.
Too much realism can make the bait invisible to prowling bass, based on distance and diminished vision quality. A bass might miss the movement should the lure be at sufficient distance (water being murky) whose camouflage was simply too good to be detected.
"The bass uses its eyesight and lateral line in combination when it is feeding," Jones said. "The lateral line is very effective in feeling local disturbances one to two body lengths away."
The full research paper was published in 2009 by the American Fisheries Society, and is available in PDF.
Now that we understand all those “red-state conservatives” no longer believe in Science, we can go down there and kick some tournament ass.