BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA - With the cameras rolling from WKRG TV out of Mobile, Alabama, Spencer Ross of Chatom, Alabama, slipped his fingers into the waters of the private Bear Lake. In less than 5 seconds, a 6-pound bass attacked and bit Ross' fingers. But, the quick-handed Ross brought his thumb under the bass' jaw and snatched the Tiger Bass out of the water. "I've caught these man-eating Tiger Bass that weigh up to 10 pounds numerous times using this technique," Ross explains.
Ross had been developing his hand-grabbing bass technique for several months. He'd noticed that when he threw bread or crackers off the dock and into the water, that the bluegills there began a feeding frenzy. "I also saw the bass move-in and start to feed on the bluegills," Ross says. When only three or four would feed on the bluegills, the bass were very timid. But, when eight or 10 bass moved-in to feed - especially the bass that weighed 10 pounds or more - these Tiger Bass started attacking the bluegills furiously. One day I stuck my fingers in the water and moved them like a bluegill. A bass came-up out of the water and bit my fingers." After three or four more bass attacks, Ross wondered if he could grab hold of these bass by their jaws when they bit his fingers, like catfishermen hand-grab catfish in several southern states. His technique worked. "I've even had bass that weighed 10 pounds or more inhale my whole hand and bite my wrist," Ross explains.
Man-eating Tiger Bass - a cross of a highly-aggressive northern male bass and a female Florida bass that has a history of producing offspring weighing 10 pounds or more - have been stocked in private ponds and lakes for the last several years. Two fishery scientists, Don Keller and Barry Smith of American Sport Fish Hatchery near Montgomery, Ala., wanted to solve the problem of stocking the Florida strain black bass that would grow quickly, but these bass were reluctant to bite artificial lures. "A bass in someone's pond that weighs 10 pounds that no one can catch has very-little recreational value to the pond owner," Smith explains. "But, if that same 10-pound bass bites aggressively, the fish can be caught and released by many anglers. That's why Don and I developed the Tiger Bass."
The proof of the aggressiveness of these big tiger bass is not only in these videos, but also in the catch records of Spencer Ross. "I fish the lake 3 days a week, all-year-long, and I've caught and released over 100 bass that have weighed 10 pounds or more from Bear Lake," Ross reports. If you don't believe the Tiger Bass will bite you, then check-out this video, shot by one of Ross' friends (http://youtu.be/Mq76pbE6qDg). The news department at WKRG TV out of Mobile, Ala., didn't believe this tale either, until they sent-out a camera crew. See the results at (http://www2.wkrg.com/news/2012/jun/05/fisherman-catches-bass-bare-hand-ar-3922721/). To learn more about Tiger Bass, go to http://www.americansportfish.com/?option=com_content&view=article&id=34&Itemid=60.
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