IN THE FIELD
- WITH JOE SADOWSKI
backed trout – is what Bass were called in the very early 1800’s!
According to James A. Henshall M.D. in his classic, “Book of the
Black Bass” it was in the year 1802 that Lacepede, the noted
French Naturalist, first claimed discovery of the “Spiny backed
trout”. It would be over 85 years and almost 90 different
scientific name changes before a Smallmouth Bass would be called a
Smallmouth Bass. It would be almost the same for the Largemouth
Bass. However, one of the more interesting misnomers would be the
“Oswego Bass”. For a member of the Sunfish family (TRUE), the bass
has a distinct history! Originally, bass were found mainly in
Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain and Lake
George. But, the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 changed
everything! It allowed the bass to migrate into other waters by
way of the canal system. The scrappiness of the Smallmouth
endeared it to many anglers who had a difficult time trying to
catch the disappearing Brook Trout. The quality of the water was
changing and the Brookies were not as prevalent as cities and
towns were created along the canal route.
appearance of bass in New York State waters, previously inhabited
by Brook Trout, was a blessing in the minds of the area fishermen.
The introduction of Bass into the nations non-bass areas really
gained momentum after the Civil War by way of the Railroad. Many
wealthy sportsmen used the railroad to ship live bass from upstate
New York to their private ponds in other states. Heavy rains and
their resulting floods inadvertently assisted in the spread of the
bass population throughout the Northeast and Midwestern states.
It was about 1870 that many fish culturists discovered that a
serious error was un-intentionally made. The bass were destroying
the native Brook Trout and its habitat. In order to nullify the
problem, CARP were introduced in New York waters between 1875 and
1880 as food for the voracious bass. They soon realized that was a
early days of artificial fish propagation and planting mistakes
were made that will haunt the fish culturist for years to come.
The intentions were doubtless always good, but subsequent events
proved them to be errors of judgment in the light of greater
experience.” This was written by Mr. A. N. Cheney, the New York
State fish Culturist in the 1895 Fisheries, Game and Forest
Commission Report. He also wrote – “The error of planting black
bass in waters wholly unfitted for them cannot be charged entirely
to fish culturist or to those in authority, but following mistakes
of this character another great mistake was made in planting the
German carp as food for Black Bass.” “Desirable as the Black Bass
is, as the universal game fish of the people, the spread of it
should be checked, in spite of the desire constantly showing
itself to plant the fish in yet new waters, by those who do not
understand the harm that may come from it. To all such this is
written as a warning!”—A.N. Cheney (1894)
“powers that be” built the Erie Canal in the early 1800’s, they
had absolutely no idea what they were unleashing upon the fishing
world. It has been said that “Necessity is the mother of
invention”— or something like that. Human nature has the tendency
to find the easiest way to do things and in this case it was the
invention of the first multiplying reel. George Snyder, of Paris,
Kentucky, is credited with its creation about 1810. Little did he
realize what type of Pandora’s box he was opening. In this case
one could say it was the “worlds largest tackle box”.
fateful era, there have been thousands of reels created in
countless models to go along with tens of thousands of different
rods in all weights, lengths and actions. The rods have gone from
hickory to bamboo to fiberglass to most anything on the market
today. The lines have gone from braided horsehair to linen and
silk to cotton to nylon to synthetic line that is almost invisible
lures, it would be safe in saying that there are well over a half
of million in various weights, types, and colors. Some really
catch fish, but most just catch fishermen. It was at the 1987
Outdoor Writers Association of America Conference in Kalispell,
Montana that I was sharing some of “Kentucky’s finest” with Ed
Zern, without question one of the greatest outdoor humorist of all
times. The subject of lures was brought up of what may be the best
lure ever created. Ed said that he had created a self motorized
lure that blinked, wiggled and did all sorts of strange things,
but it never hooked a fish. When a fish saw it, it usually died
laughing, as a result it has been banned in all 50 states and
Canada as being too effective!
been numerous fishing clubs and societies formed over the years
all dedicated to the scrappy and hard fighting BASS. There are
specialized boats, television Programs, a language and things that
are impossible to keep track of—all because of the Black Bass.
Largemouth Bass have been introduced into Canada, M exico and
numerous Latin American countries, all with great success. In most
Latin American countries that have Largemouth Bass, there are a
great financial asset to the local economy. Serious bass fishermen
are willing to pay dearly for very large bass trophy.
New York State, the record for a Largemouth Bass is 11 pounds 4oz.
The Smallmouth record is 8 pounds 4 oz.
My top five
bass spots are:
Lawrence River—The River has more Bass along it than an angler can
try for in a lifetime. Many believe World Records, both Smallmouth
AND Largemouth, lurk in it depths!
Lake—With the Zebra Mussels constantly at work cleaning the lake,
it’s helping the allow the bait fish to flourish which in turn
feeds some very large Bass.
3) The Lower
Niagara River—north of the two power stations, has an unbelievable
huge population of bass.
Erie—A lake with ideal conditions for great Smallmouth Bass
Lakes—The ESPN Great Outdoor Games proved to the world as to what
great Bass fishing exists in our Adirondacks!
waters, New York’s Bass season opens on the third Saturday in June
a.k.a. Father’s Day weekend. The date hasn’t changed since the
late1800’s, —- thank you New York State for many things!