John's Journal...

Stock Your Lake with the Best-Biting Bass, Crappie, Catfish and Bluegills

Day 4: Why Stock the Coppernose Bluegill in a Lake to Help Bass to Grow

Editor’s Note: The man-eating Tiger Bass, developed by American Sport Fish Scientists’ Don Keller and Barry Smith, has gained wide-acceptance for pond stocking throughout the Southeast and many-other states, because it’s aggressive, grows quickly and is fun for anglers to catch. But, a major component of the phenomenal growth rate of the man-eating Tiger Bass is its diet. In most ponds, his primary food source is the coppernose bluegill. We wanted to know why this particular variety of bluegill was selected to be stocked in the lakes where you find the man-eating Tiger Bass. So, we asked Barry Smith, one of the owners of American Sport Fish, why he and Don Keller chose this particular variety of bream to stock.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewSmith: The first consideration was we had to find a variety of bluegill that would take pelleted food easily. We discovered that the coppernose bluegill will feed-heavily on pelleted food, gorging themselves and putting-on weight quickly, especially, if there’s an automatic fish feeder on the pond or lake that goes-off two or three times a day. Because the Tiger Bass grows so quickly, we have to have a continuous supply of bluegills that are all different sizes, from bluegill fry, for the little bass to eat, all the way up to mature bream, for the bigger bass to eat. We feel that the coppernose bluegill fits that niche better than any of the other variety of bluegills that we’ve studied. Another reason that we’ve chosen the coppernose is because its a pretty fish with a copper band across its nose.

Question: How fast does a coppernose bluegill grow?

Smith: These bream can weigh as much as 1/2- pound the first year, if the pond has an automatic feeder. We’ve seen coppernose bluegills that weigh as much as 1 pound at 26 months, and some that will weigh 18 to 20 ounces in that same 26 months. The coppernose is fun to catch and delicious to eat. Some days you just may want to catch a mess of fish or take some children out and let them catch a bunch of fish, and because the coppernose is very-aggressive, it’s perfect for a fishing trip.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewQuestion: Barry, how much time is required for these coppernose bluegills to weigh 2 pounds?

Smith: Every serious bream fisherman wants to catch a bream that weighs 2 pounds or more. However, most bream fishermen fail to realize that the 2-pound bream is the Boone and Crockett of bream fishing. There older-age class bream have survived for a long time and are the exception rather than the rule. When an angler catches a bream that weighs 20 to 24 ounces, they’ll almost swear that that’s a 2-pound bream. But, big bream are notorious for shrinking when they’re laid on the scales. Yes, you can catch a 2-pound bluegill, and quite a few people have caught them, but seldom. We like to stock the coppernose bluegill, because we know it helps to produce trophy-size Tiger Bass. We also know that it’s easy and fun to catch, reaches a respectable size, quickly, and provides a lot of recreation, enjoyment and food for our pond owners. The coppernose bluegill meets all the management objectives that our pond owners want for their bluegills. To learn more about Tiger Bass, go to or call 334-281-7703.

How to Bass Fish Like a ProTo learn more about how to catch every species of bass, get the new Kindle eBook, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro” by John E. Phillips. click here. Or, you can go to and type-in the name of the book to find it. You can also download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone.

Tomorrow: American Sport Fish Explains What to Consider Before Stocking Crappie and Catfish in Your Pond

Check back each day this week for more about "Stock Your Lake with the Best-Biting Bass, Crappie, Catfish and Bluegills"

Day 1: Man-Eating Tiger Bass Created by Don Keller and Barry Smith
Day 2: How to Grow Man-Eating Tiger Bass Faster with Perfect Pond Plus Fertilizer
Day 3: Fertilize the Man-Eaters
Day 4: Why Stock the Coppernose Bluegill in a Lake to Help Bass to Grow
Day 5: American Sport Fish Explains What to Consider Before Stocking Crappie and Catfish in Your Pond

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Entry 670, Day 4