My Latest New Book

My Latest New Book
Fishing Different

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Strange Looking Bass Isn't Strange at All

A friend of my, Bob Curan, a Lake Norman guide, recently told me about a bass that he caught that had strange black blotches over its body. On first description, I thought it might be a Sauger, that has dark blotches on its body. Bob contacted the Wildlife Commission and determined that it was a condition called Melanosis, caused by over-exposure to the sun. The fish that Bob caught is shown below

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I did some additional research on the subject and found that the condition is relatively common among catfish and bass that have continued heavy exposure to sunlight. The photo shown in the research is shown below.
The two fish look quite similar. The condition is not an infection but a genetic condition that shows up in older mature bass and catfish. It is not transferable to humans and humans cannot get the condition. Fish with this condition are safe to eat as long as they are cooked to at least 145 degrees. The condition results from an overdose of Melanin in the skin, received from continued exposure to sunlight. The clear water on Lake Norman creates a situation where fish can develop the condition more easily than in waters that are less clear or even murky.
Since fish almost never like exposure to the sun. I decided that there is another condition that the bass have that might lend itself to this condition. it is call "stupid bass syndrome."

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