Dark coloured bass

Steve Wood

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Fished two wks bk, from 5.30pm till approx 8.30, low water was at 7pm and at a local mark in the south east of Kent, there where two of us and we managed 12 fish between us all off the surface as there wasn't much tide run and the water was relatively still and almost gin clear, the lures used where xorus frosty 500g, patchinko 500g and a duo realis 130 prism shad (being the main lures) which caught the bass in the picture, rod used was a majorcraft n-one 9ft6 seabass edition with a twin power 15 4000xd sw loaded with suffix 131 braid and PowerPro fluro leader & breakaway mini link, sun was out with very little cloud and just as the sun started to set bang this little beauty hit the lure, didn't measure it as up to groin in water but I'd say it was an easy 55cm and approx 4 to 5lb, its more the dark colour that fascinated me, it had gold & black scales on its top flank and silver underside, released as always to fight another day
 

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Diarmuid Drew

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Lovely fish Steve, it always seems to me that the bigger ones have the dark colours.
 

Steve Wood

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Thanks mate, it's strange because half a mile along there silver but seem dark here at this mark, I assumed it's because of the kelp beds, maybe I'm wrong, I really don't no tbh
 

Mathew Spence

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It seems fish change colour in response to the prevailing conditions. In my course fishing days in a long dry spells you could catch a barbel that was deep gold and bronze with a dark back. If you caught the same fish ( it occasionally happened and certain injuries would help with ID) in a sustained flood it would look anaemic, milky and washed out. The same goes for bass and numerous other species, yet it’s not selection due to environment ( such as eg with welk shell colour and the rock colour with non camouflaged ones more likely to get eaten) it is actually change over relatively short periods of time in pigment. If the water clarity is very good where you caught this fish this would back this up. From memory there are scientific papers to back this up - I looked into it about 15 years ago when discussing this but I can’t recall the references.
 

Steve Wood

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It seems fish change colour in response to the prevailing conditions. In my course fishing days in a long dry spells you could catch a barbel that was deep gold and bronze with a dark back. If you caught the same fish ( it occasionally happened and certain injuries would help with ID) in a sustained flood it would look anaemic, milky and washed out. The same goes for bass and numerous other species, yet it’s not selection due to environment ( such as eg with welk shell colour and the rock colour with non camouflaged ones more likely to get eaten) it is actually change over relatively short periods of time in pigment. If the water clarity is very good where you caught this fish this would back this up. From memory there are scientific papers to back this up - I looked into it about 15 years ago when discussing this but I can’t recall the references.
Hi Mathew yes it was clear water, so it's basically a micro evolution of sorts depending on where there feeding ?
 

Mathew Spence

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I know this is far from proof of my point, and is weak evidence at best. Both are of similar weight ( 11 1/2 and 12 pounds) , but the winter caught fish was from long-standing very coloured water the other from an absolute aquarium that had been crystal clear for weeks ( the aquarium fish ( that was built like a carp!) was memorable as there was a brief 45 min slight but relatively to what had gone before significant blow that suddenly switched the bass on, before the blow stopped completely as suddenly as it started and the fishing again died a death.)
1B0D5084-59D4-414D-AAEF-36C779EB566B.jpegE42A7981-DBD7-4C5D-91B0-CEA3F40B2F7D.jpeg
 

Steve Wood

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Awesome fish, and I totally see what you mean, do you find the darker bass seem to fight a bit more as the ones here put up a much better fight than the silver on lures for some reason
 

Robin Bradley

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Thanks mate, it's strange because half a mile along there silver but seem dark here at this mark, I assumed it's because of the kelp beds, maybe I'm wrong, I really don't no tbh
I think that's right Steve. As Matt says, bass seem to be able to adapt to their surroundings, and presumably this helps them to catch their prey and avoid their own predators. And because they move around, especially when migrating, the ability to change quite quickly must be important.
 

Steve Wood

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I think that's right Steve. As Matt says, bass seem to be able to adapt to their surroundings, and presumably this helps them to catch their prey and avoid their own predators. And because they move around, especially when migrating, the ability to change quite quickly must be important.
Well I've certainly learnt something there, interesting stuff, thanks guys
 

Thomas Spires

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They definitely change colour depending on where they are. I'd love to know how quickly they can do it. If I catch fishing a certain stretch, which is pretty much clean sand, they look almost ghost like.

Here's one over sand and another from a rock mark...
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P8150027.JPG
 

Steve Wood

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They definitely change colour depending on where they are. I'd love to know how quickly they can do it. If I catch fishing a certain stretch, which is pretty much clean sand, they look almost ghost like.
I'd like to no also
 

Neil Osborne

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I've noticed that when a bass is killed, their colour can change very quickly, sometimes within ten seconds or not much longer. That suggests to me that their colour is a function of their brain activity.
 

Diarmuid Drew

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I was shocked how silver the fish were this weekend from the Menai, very bright and white. I'm used to rock fishing and very dark fish.

1633449445801.png
 

Greig Lewis

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Here's a couple of pics from a few years ago of the darkest coloured Bass I've ever caught.
IMG_2291.JPG
This particular mark has extensive weed beds.IMG_2293.JPG
I'm guessing it's spent a significant amount of time in this habitat to take on such a deep bronze colour.
 

Geoff Gonella

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From the Pickett & Pawson book, page 18:

.............. The body of the bass is covered by large, regular scales, and its colour varies considerably, depending on the fish's origin, ranging from dark grey, blue or green on the back to a white or pale belly. The flanks are silver-blue, sometimes gold or bronze. Visible scale margins are often black-edged, particularly on larger specimens. .......

One other point - I remember an article in Sea Angler about some cod having dark coloured scales - but they came from the Seaham area, and back then Seaham had coal mines close to the sea and there were conveyors that tipped the waste coal dust into the sea. So there could be environmental factors at work at the 'fish's origins' .
 
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