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What To Feed A Gorilla

Editor's Note: Barry Smith of Montgomery, Alabama, a longtime fisheries biologist, co-owns American Sport Fish in Pike Road, Alabama, one of the largest private hatcheries in the Southeast, with his partner Don Keller. Smith and Keller have developed several breeds of fish that landowners enjoy stocking in their ponds that may find their way to public waters one day.

To keep the readers of Strike King's Webpage updated on the newest information and the future of bass fishing, Strike King talked with Smith about the two, new strains of super bass that have been developed and now are being stocked into farm ponds, the Tiger Bass and the Gorilla Bass.

Question: Once you stock the Gorilla Bass in your lake, what other kind of food do you put in the lake to grow them to 8 pounds in 3 years?

Answer: To get a bass to grow, it has to have a large food supply. The bigger the fish that it eats, the faster it will grow. If you put shad in a lake, you'll increase the amount of intermediate-size bluegills. If you want to grow a big bass, you need bluegills that are 5- to 7-inches long for the bass to eat.

Question: So should you exchange shad for bluegill and bet on that?

Answer: If you are interested in growing big bass and increasing the growth rate of your smaller bass, then shad are the way to go. If you want to grow big bluegills in a lake smaller than 5 acres, I would not recommend threadfin shad.

Question: How many threadfin do you stock, and do you stock the threadfin shad every year?

Answer: Typically, you don't have to stock threadfin shad every year. When you first stock them, you can expect the bass to eat many of them. You need to stock enough so that there will be plenty to survive and spawn. Typically we stock 8 to 10 pounds of threadfin shad for lakes ranging between 5 and 25 acres.

Question: If you live north of Tennessee, and you want to grow Gorilla Bass, how big should your bluegills be before you start putting in these super bass?

Answer: You can start stocking the bass in the spring if you stocked the bluegills in the fall. You just need to make sure you have enough food for the Gorilla Bass to grow.

For more information about American Sport Fish, write P.O. Box 20050, Montgomery, AL 36120, or call (334) 281-7703.