Roberts: Trophy bass have higher standards

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 1, 2004

The bass and crappie are spawning in our area lakes.

Warm weather pushed water temperatures into the upper 50s to low 60s, which triggered the annual spawn.

The first wave of big female bass and crappie are roaming the shallow flats looking for a place to lay their eggs.

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There is no better time to land that lunker fish of a lifetime than right now. The females are forced to move shallow and hold on visible cover near open water.

The nest is usually in open water less than 5-feet deep, without shade. Fish eggs require sunshine to hatch.

The drawback is the females are full of eggs. If you kill the fish you have destroyed thousands of eggs.

Most sportsmen and women set their own goals as to what size the fish would have to be in order to have it mounted.

Years ago, prior to the stocking of Florida bass, a 6-pound fish was considered a trophy. Not anymore.

With the introduction of the fast growing and much larger Florida strain bass, a trophy fish in our area is a bass weighing 10 pounds or more.

More and more sportsmen and women are caring cameras in their tackle boxes. They take pictures and measurements of their trophy fish and release it.

You can take those pics and measurements and have a fiberglass replica made that looks better and will last longer than a skin mount.

You no longer have to kill the spawning fish to have something to remind you of your successful day on the water.

Personally, I believe the big female bass should be protected by law.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they would rope off the famous North Flats of Lake Concordia and the South Flats of St. John during the spawn? In just two years the lakes would be loaded with big bass. More and more people would visit this area.

Area merchants would greatly benefit from the money left behind for gas, food and lodging.

Louisiana laws concerning bass are way to lenient. The limit is 10 bass per person with no minimum length.

There is no way the bass in our lakes can withstand the tremendous amount of fishing pressure we have this year.

If they don’t do something real quick, the tough fishing conditions we had in 2002 and 2003 will return.

Please do you part and practice &uot;Catch, Photograph and Release&uot; this spring.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at