The Hybrid Striped Bass

By | May 1, 2021

The hybrid striped bass is a cross between the striped bass (Morone saxatilis) and white bass (Morone Chrysops). This hybrid was first produced in the mid-1960s in South Carolina. The experiment involved using eggs from striped bass and sperm from white bass. However, in the late 1980s, hybrid striped bass culture began to rapidly develop into a major aquaculture in Southeastern United States. Although most states in the south have hybrid producers, most of the production takes place in Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, North and South Carolina. Stripe Atlas review

Creating this hybrid has produced fish that have a much better tolerance to extremes in temperature and dissolved oxygen than both its parents. This makes the hybrid more suitable for pond culture.

The hybrid striped bass is also known as whiterock bass or wiper, if it is a cross between a female striped bass and a male white bass. Another accepted common name of this fish is Sunshine Bass, which is actually a cross between a male striped bass and a female white bass.

What are its physical characteristics?

It is a silver, deep-bodied fish that is similar to white bass. It has distinct, broken stripes along its sides and back, extending to its tail. It has two parallel patches of teeth arranged on the base of its tongue.

Where can you find them?

Hybrid striped bass are stocked into different water types for purposes of recreation. But hybrids outside of production ponds are mostly found in fresh water habitats like large lakes and reservoirs. They also thrive in rivers, small lakes or ponds. They are rarely found in areas with dense growth of aquatic weeds or extremely shallow water, except when they are chasing schools of baitfish. They can always be found in open water.

Beginning in late winter, this hybrid tends to stay in deep water, near inflowing streams. In the spring, spawning migrations into upstream areas may take place.

What do they feed on?

The hybrid striped bass are voracious feeders. Young fish feed on mayflies and crustaceans. When they are usually larger than 100 mm. threadfin shad and gizzard shad are a big part of their diet. But species of forage fish have also been found in the stomachs of hybrids. They usually travel and feed in schools and they are most active during periods of low light such as early morning (dawn) and early evening (dusk).

What Factors Affect Their Age and Growth?

Optimum growing conditions for hybrids occur when water temperatures are between 25 0C to 27 0C. They grow rapidly during their first two years of life. They grow from 275 mm. in length in the first year to 550 mm. in the second year and from 225 grams in weight in the first year to 1.5 kg. in the second year. Growth rate is similar in males and females and declines rapidly with increasing age. The life span of hybrid striped bass is 5 to 6 years.

The growth rate of hybrid striped bass in production ponds is affected by the quality of the water, the water temperature, the quality and quantity of food fed to the fish, even the food’s taste and the frequency of the feeding can affect its growth rate. Hybrids are harvested when they reach the weight of 1.5 to 2.5 pounds which is usually when they are 18 to 24 months old.

How Do They Spawn?

The hybrid striped bass is oviparous or egg-laying. Unlike other hybrids, it is fertile. It produces eggs and sperm during the spring when temperatures are between 15 0C and 20 0C. All males mature by the time they are two years of age while all females mature at three years. Males spawn many times during the spawning season while females produce an average of 160,000 eggs per pound of body weight but spawn only once a year.

Depending on the location, spawning season occurs from mid-March to May. It usually lasts four to five weeks.