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Brian Jones

"Meanmouth" identification/verification please

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Pretty sure it's a smallmouth/spot hybrid, but would like to hear some other opinions.  What say y'all??

Caught it today out of one of my favorite rivers and one that according to a fisheries biologist from the MDC DOES NOT have a spotted bass problem.  

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I think MDC needs to rethink their spotted bass numbers for this river. My unofficial survey says they are in the smallmouth management in increasing numbers. I'm guessing 10% of all bass I've caught there this year have been spotted bass.

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Yep, hybrid, though probably 3/4ths smallmouth/1/4th spotted bass.

The entire Gasconade river system needs the same spotted bass regs as the Meramec river system.  There's no doubt the rivers in that system are spotted bass friendly, and they have been slowly spreading for many years.  This year was disastrous for spotted bass spreading upstream, because of all the high water.  Spotted bass on these streams instinctively move upstream in high water, and the more high water the more of them move farther upstream.

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Help me understand how you can tell that is a hybrid? Is it the markings on the body, or something else I am not noticing?

If I caught that fish, I would never think twice about it being a smallie.

 

 The "bars" running down the side of the fish are more definitive than they would be on a smallmouth.  Also, the fish is more of an olive green color than brown.  This fish also had the rough patch on it's tongue that is common with spots.  But that is not a foolproof means of identification.  I was pretty sure that this fish was a hybrid before I ever landed it.  If you've caught many smallmouth, or spots for that matter,  I'd bet that you'd be able to tell the difference as well.  I had caught a few smallies and spots today so their color and markings were fresh on my mind.  Side by side, you can definitely see the difference.  

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counted the rays and spines in the fins 

look   at that upper  jaw in relation to the eye

 the size of that tail

has some typical smallmouth marks also, some brown bass have them some don't

and it looks more brownish on my screen

but, it could be a cross, like Al said it looks way more smallie than  a spot 

 

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