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#11763178 - 08/07/16 12:00 PM Health of Athens Bass
jbcarroll3000 Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 672
Loc: Denton, TX
I've noticed this the past couple of years, but not nearly as bad as a recent trip to Athens--many of the fish I'm catching out there look SICK. I'm not talking skinny--I'm talking skinny to the point of deformity. Knocking on death's door...and it's not just one here or one there. It was every other fish.

Has anybody else noticed this and have any good guess as to why? I'm definitely in the camp that says Athens has been hit too hard in the last year or two (if you've fished this lake for 10+ years, you've seen the pressure increase exponentially), but would that really cause these fish to be that skinny? I know ingestion of plastics can make fish look like the ones I'm seeing, but I can't believe that Athens fish are ingesting that much more than in every other fishery. There seems to be plenty of bait on Athens--fish are schooling and in some areas of the lake, there are huge bait balls of shad. I just can't figure it out--what's everyone else's thoughts?

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#11763200 - 08/07/16 12:14 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
Chris_K Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 01/14/15
Posts: 854
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: jbcarroll3000
I've noticed this the past couple of years, but not nearly as bad as a recent trip to Athens--many of the fish I'm catching out there look SICK. I'm not talking skinny--I'm talking skinny to the point of deformity. Knocking on death's door...and it's not just one here or one there. It was every other fish.

Has anybody else noticed this and have any good guess as to why? I'm definitely in the camp that says Athens has been hit too hard in the last year or two (if you've fished this lake for 10+ years, you've seen the pressure increase exponentially), but would that really cause these fish to be that skinny? I know ingestion of plastics can make fish look like the ones I'm seeing, but I can't believe that Athens fish are ingesting that much more than in every other fishery. There seems to be plenty of bait on Athens--fish are schooling and in some areas of the lake, there are huge bait balls of shad. I just can't figure it out--what's everyone else's thoughts?


Yes I've noticed this as well

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#11763267 - 08/07/16 01:06 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
5Redman8 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 2544
Loc: Forney
Not anything new....the summer is tough on them. The water temp boosts their metabolism and they burn calories.

I have plenty of old pics showing the same thing.

I've been fishing Athens for 32 years but I'm only 40

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#11763295 - 08/07/16 01:36 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
jbcarroll3000 Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 672
Loc: Denton, TX
Redman--why only Athens? What you're describing should then affect all Texas bass. Don't get me wrong, bass from other lakes can get skinnier during Summer, but not like they get on Athens, and not where it's every other fish.

And I'm not convinced it's just a summertime thing on Athens. This last trip was more pronounced, but I've definitely caught bass on Athens in Spring or Fall where the head size and length should have made it a 5 or 6 lber on any other lake, but instead it's a 3 or 4. There are exceptions, because I've definitely caught healthy fish--just more unhealthy in comparison to other lakes. This is a pattern I've noticed over quite a few trips the last few years.

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#11763311 - 08/07/16 01:51 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
jbcarroll3000 Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 672
Loc: Denton, TX
These are a few examples of what I'm beginning to consider as the "normal" Athens bass, and these were caught in November. They're not the "ready to die" fish I'm talking about, but the three of them were between 19 and 20.5 inches, decent sized-heads, just no stomach whatsoever. If you were to catch them in August, I'm sure they'd look even worse. (sorry for the pic rotation--for some reason I still can't figure out what makes a properly rotated picture on TFF).




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#11763344 - 08/07/16 02:09 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
5Redman8 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 2544
Loc: Forney
Not sure why it is worse on Athens. Clear water, relative small size of lake, relatively shallow living fish???

I have seen it over and over there.

2010






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#11763353 - 08/07/16 02:16 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
jbcarroll3000 Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 672
Loc: Denton, TX
Yep--those are the kinds of fish I'm talking about Redman (especially that 2nd one which almost looks deformed--caught a lot of those this past trip). Maybe it is nothing new. Maybe I've just been paying closer attention to it.. And you're right--take a skinny fish and it looks even worse mid-summer, but I just don't get why in what seems to be a healthy fishery, the majority (in my opinion) of 16+ inch fish are so skinny.

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#11763434 - 08/07/16 03:13 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
SS7 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 37
Loc: Athens, Tx
I think it is pressure, I.e. Plastics and hooks in their belly. Lots of very healthy fish as well, only thing it can be. A 24" bass can range from 4lbs. to 9.5 right now. Caught a 19" last week that dindnt weigh 2lbs. 3lb 22". I also catch lots of fish with line sticking out of their gullet.

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#11763448 - 08/07/16 03:21 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
meP2too Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 2789
Loc: dallas,tx,usa
I would agree that quite a few recent catches have been skinny. Last night while launching a fellow angler asked my partner to photograph a 10+ pounder that he had just caught, it was in perfect shape. It looked like a pre-spawn bass. Unlike the fish I caught last Friday night, which were scale wrapped skeletons, the bass last night were in better shape. They were caught in extremely shallow water.

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#11763610 - 08/07/16 04:25 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
SK1 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 05/27/14
Posts: 184
I too fish Athens quite a bit and you're right about the skinny/anorexic looking bass. They don't fight well at all, but to the lakes defense there's also alot of fat chunky bass in the lake too.I assumed that there were to many fish and not enough food but the lake is slap full of shad so I don't know.

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#11763766 - 08/07/16 05:28 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
BThomas Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 02/15/09
Posts: 7057
Loc: Rockwall,Tx
Only way to get your answer, is harvest a few of them and check the stomach contents.

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#11763799 - 08/07/16 05:48 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: SK1]
Der Vorsteher™ Online   shocked
TFF Guru

Registered: 02/11/11
Posts: 20708
Loc: The 903
Originally Posted By: SK1
I too fish Athens quite a bit and you're right about the skinny/anorexic looking bass. They don't fight well at all, but to the lakes defense there's also alot of fat chunky bass in the lake too.I assumed that there were to many fish and not enough food but the lake is slap full of shad so I don't know.


Time for a fish fry.
_________________________

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#11763815 - 08/07/16 05:57 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
Cougar FTD Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/27/16
Posts: 148
Loc: Keller TX
They fight good there every time I go
_________________________

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#11763822 - 08/07/16 05:59 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: Cougar FTD]
jbcarroll3000 Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 672
Loc: Denton, TX
Originally Posted By: Cougar FTD
They fight good there every time I go


Cool...thanks.

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#11763840 - 08/07/16 06:08 PM Re: Health of Athens Bass [Re: jbcarroll3000]
txmasterpo Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/10/12
Posts: 4489
Loc: Emory
100 club and other tournaments a year?
_________________________
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"What goes on around you compares little with what goes on inside you."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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