Age and Growth of Trophy Largemouth Bass in Florida

Otoliths from 822 trophy (>4.5 kg) largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) caught by anglers in Florida were obtained from taxidermists during 1987-1993. The fish were harvested from 211 different water bodies. Longevity and mean growth exceeded those reported previously in Florida. Mean age of trophy largemouth bass statewide was 9.7 years and ranged from 4.0 to 16.5 years. Mean growth averaged 0.54 kg/year with a range of 0.28-1.27 kg/year. Growth rate of trophy largemouth bass increased from north to south Florida. Accelerated growth, longevity and strong year classes were important for trophy largemouth bass production in Florida. Fifty-six percent of the trophy fish were harvested by anglers during January-March. Peak months for trophy harvest were progressively later in the year from south to north Florida and coincided with the largemouth bass spawning season.

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