Ajax Loader  Loading... Please wait...
  • My Account CALL TO ORDER 800.969.3337
  • Sign in or Create an account

Blog - fishing

Just What is a Trophy Bass?

Posted by

First published at by Norman Latona, a fisheries biologist and partner with Southeastern Pond Management, a private lake and pond service company. 

I recently read an article in a local newspaper, detailing the fortunes of two fishing buddies in California. On separate outings, the anglers boated lunker largemouth bass tipping the scales in the 20-pound range. The chance of two individuals - regular fishing partners at that - boating such giant fish, in a short period of time... well, the odds of that are simply astronomical!

I've had the privilege over the years to observe some truly outstanding bass fisheries, mostly private fishing lakes and ponds throughout the southeastern U.S. While none of them, at least to my knowledge, has produced a 20 pound-plus largemouth bass, many have produced 1 trophies, the kind of fish worthy of putting on the wall and telling stories about for years to come.

A1 trophy largemouth bass is a rare creature, indeed. Among anglers, nothing stirs emotion and excitement more than the prospect of tangling with the hunting equivalent of a Boone & Crockett record book animal. Catching a trophy largemouth bass, for many, takes on an almost mythical aura. For some, growing that fish, within their own private fishing ponds, is as important a part of the process as actually catching it.

And so, when my customer tells me for the first time, that his primary objective for his fishing lake or pond is to produce trophy size largemouth bass, my question is always the same: What do you mean by trophy largemouth bass?

For whatever reason, I've always had this idea in my mind that defining a 1 trophy fish is best accomplished by relating that theoretical critter to the ultimate in its class; i.e., the world- record.

Further, in order for the fish to qualify, I have the notion that the individual trophy fish must exceed, by greater than 50 percent, the weight of the world-record specimen. For example, the IGFA world record largemouth bass, caught by George Perry on June 2, 1932, is 22 pounds, 4 ounces. By my definition, a 1 trophy largemouth bass then, must weigh a minimum of 11 pounds, 3 ounces (roughly 51 percent of the world- record weight).

That is not to say that a bass must exceed 11 pounds to be worthy of the taxidermist. Case in point: several friends of mine get together once a year for a friendly, 6-8 boat buddy-style tournament on Weiss Lake in Alabama. Two years ago, after three days of fishing, our fishing tournament leaders were deadlocked - identical weights down to the ounce.

To break the tie, we decided to have a fish-off; first man back to the pier with a bass would win the title.

After over an hour of fishing, the eventual champion came back with a spotted bass weighing just over 9 ounces. Nine ounces. Naturally, that fish is now displayed proudly on the wall of his office!

The point is, trophy fish mean different things to different people. To me, a trophy largemouth bass must be a minimum of 11 pounds, and that is what I tell my customers. Most of them generally agree. If that's what you want, I say, then here's how to do it...

So, just how do we manage a fishing lake to consistently produce trophy largemouth bass? What are the magic ingredients in fisheries and lake management? With so many variables, can we reasonably expect to be successful in our fisheries management efforts? How long will it take to see results on our fishing lake?

There are real answers to these questions but they are somewhat complicated. What's more, the answers form the basis for a rather intricately woven fisheries and lake management program, where the primary objective suffers if each of the parts are not implemented. Simply put, producing trophy largemouth bass requires a marriage of three, more or less controllable variables: age, nutrition and genetics.

Trophy bass management is all about managing age-class structure; it is all about managing forage fish availability; and it is all about controlling the genetic component to the extent that we are able.

So I tell my customer: Clearly, we are attempting to do something special here. The implementation of this plan requires a commitment to intensive management efforts. Keep in mind, our ability to transcend the ordinary rests in your willingness to go the extra mile.

And make no mistake about it, producing trophy largemouth bass is extraordinary. Stay tuned - and let the fun begin!

One of the best ways to start growing Trophy Bass is to invest in a Texas Hunter Products Directional Fish Feeder. With its patented dual motor system, it disperses feed in a large wedge-shaped feed pattern. This allows for maximum coverage of the lake's surface while only needing a small shoreline or dock footprint. Texas Hunter's Directional Fish Feeders for ponds and lakes come in multiple sizes with two leg options (adjustable legs for the shoreline, or straight legs for a dock) to fit your pond or lake's setting perfectly. Shop now or contact us at 800-969-3337 for a lake manager near you.

POND BOSS Magazine is the world’s leading resource for fish, pond and fisheries management information including discussions on muddy water, raising trophy fish, fish feeding, building a pond, algae control and more. Check us out at or contact Bob Lusk, the Pond Boss himself, at 903-564-5372. His books, "Basic Pond Management", "Raising Trophy Bass and Perfect Pond, Want One", may be purchased by calling 800-687-6075 or ordering online at

More Articles:

​10 Freshwater Fishing Tips

Prep Prep Prep! Nothing beats good ol’ preparation. This will make the whole fishing trip a lot more enjoyable and comfortable for everyone! Make sure to dress for the weather and pack any extras you might need later (sunscreens, hats, jackets, etc.) Also make sure that your bait and tackle is organized and ready to go. [...]

Read More »

Stressed? Go Fishing

Many of us enjoy fishing as a pastime or even competitively. No matter how skilled – or unskilled – you are, fishing is a great way to unwind and spend time bonding with family or friends while enjoying the Great Outdoors. Beyond being enjoyable, fishing actually has numerous health and wellness benefits, particularly in terms of [...]

Read More »

Fishing a Flutter Spoon in Summer

Pro angler Matt Arey of North Carolina has some specific things he does with his tackle setup that answers many questions about how to fish a flutter spoon. (Photo and article credit: Alan McGuckin - GrandView Outdoors) Team Toyota’s Matt Arey had just slapped 21 pounds of Guntersville bass on the scales to take the tournament [...]

Read More »

50 Best New Fishing Spots in America

By Mark Modoski, and Joe Cermele - Field & Stream Magazine Everything in fishing changes. On the minutest level, that change can be as simple as fish suddenly turning off of green-pumpkin worms after they’d been hammering them for hours, or a slow bite ­suddenly going bonkers before a storm. In the grander scheme, what can [...]

Read More »

U.S. Interior Secretary Proposes Historic Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities

Thursday, April 9, 2020 WASHINGTON - Continuing the Trump Administration’s significant efforts to increase recreational access on public lands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced today a historic proposal for new and expanded hunting and fishing opportunities across more than 2.3 million acres at 97 national wildlife refuges and 9 national fish hatcheries. This proposed rule is the single [...]

Read More »

Winter Bass Fishing on Ponds and Small Lakes

Breaks in winter weather offer evenings like this when the bass remain sluggish but are active enough to take the bait. Photo: Amy Hatfield Winter Bass Fishing on Ponds and Small Lakes If you Google, “What do bass eat in winter,” the first things that pop up are jigs. But never mind the fishing, what do they [...]

Read More »

Blog - Bank Fishing Tactics for Cold Weather

This is a tricky time of year to be a bank angler. I can remember being stumped for years while trying to catch winter bass from shore. It'd be miserable weather and I'd often go weeks without getting a bite. It was enough to darn near drive me crazy. It took me a long time and a lot of [...]

Read More »

Blog - 4 Tips for Better Shoreline Fishing

Consider these helpful tips to increase your chances of catching fish from the shoreline. Corks: Structure in ponds and lakes can be heavy along the shorelines. When anglers are casting from the shore, they get snagged a lot, especially when fishing on the bottom. Consider using a popping cork in areas with lots of tangles. Adjust the depth so you [...]

Read More »

Blog - Catching More Catfish

Catfish are one of the staples for anglers who enjoy eating their catch. Channel catfish are abundant throughout the south, spawning in holes and crevices in flowing water. Channel catfish may exceed 40 pounds, although the typical size is less than five pounds. White catfish, yellow bullheads and brown bullheads usually range from one to two pounds, and readily spawn [...]

Read More »