*No picture available*
Species: Florida Bass (Micropterus floridanus)
Location: Lake Fran Urban Wetlands, Orlando, FL
Date: July 7, 2018
I’ve made some dumb choices over the years when fishing. Putting aside the ones that caused me physical harm, wasted time, and damaged gear, I still had plenty of things I would change.
For starters, I would take better pictures.
So many of the pics I’ve taken over the years for my “Lifelist Photo,” have been great. The fish is on a solid background (preferably in water or on damp vegetation), and is fully visible, facing to the right.
Left-eyed flatfish aside, I’ve mostly been able to accomplish this for most species — especially those caught within the past few years.
But not for Florida Bass.
I caught my first one by hand at night when it wouldn’t take anything else, just to say I did.
Of course, I wouldn’t count that because it wasn’t a legitimate catch.
I returned the next day and caught four more, all larger than my initial micro. As I spoke with the local anglers and found spots to fish, they all mentioned “Florida Bass,” but I just assumed they meant the “Florida Strain Largemouth” prized for their fast metabolism and ability to attain a greater size.
In 2002, though, they gained official status as their own species, Micropterus floridanus.
Though a few organizations contest this, the consensus is that they are their own species, and the simple disparity in their size and coloration would reinforce this to the layperson.
I failed to realize that “Florida Bass” were anything special, and since largest one didn’t even break three pounds, I failed to take one picture.
I didn’t even add it to my Lifelist until 2019, fully six months after I caught them, because it was only then that I learned it was a separate species, acknowledged my most powers that be.
Since my Lifelist is only for me, really, I count it without the picture. I caught nine total that trip, and I was even with half a dozen other anglers for some of those catches for several.
Chris Fowler, an Austin-based angler who specializes in European-style carp fishing and flyfishing for bass and carp, was one of my witnesses. He caught a nice three-pounder on the fly, and I took a picture of it. Mine were all smaller, but I caught them.
I’ll just need to add Florida Bass to the list of about a dozen species I never got good “Lifelist Pics” of. It shouldn’t be that difficult, right?