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What's going on with this fish?


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Ok I caught this smallmouth yesterday and it looks like this fish has been in a fight or something. I talked to some other fishermen who said they thought we were still pre-spawn on this particular river. Is the appearance of this fish related to spawning activities? Seems a little late for them to still be pre spawn though, just based on what I've seen talked about for other ozark rivers. Any thoughts on that or does this picture give any clues? Thanks


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12 minutes ago, DainW said:

Look at his gill plate, it looks kind of chewed up to me. Then there's the black spot on his back, just below the dorsal fin...is that not a bruise?

IMHO, just pretty normal wear and tear. But I'm not sure.

"Honor is a man's gift to himself" Rob Roy McGregor

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According to a bit of google research, the black blotches are called melanosis, and are a concentration of black pigment in the skin, with no obvious cause.  Could be caused by a parasite or disease under the skin, but more likely just a benign pigment condition.  MDC even says it may be related to excessive sun exposure over several years, since it generally only occurs in adult bass.  No explanation of why some bass have it, or why it often happens to a bunch of bass in one area and not everywhere.  

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