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Kentucky State Record Coosa Bass
Caught in Cumberland River

July 6, 2005

Frankfort, Kentucky - A Kentucky angler recently set a new state record for one of the most obscure species in the state: the coosa bass.
Floyd Howard of Cawood, Kentucky in Harlan County caught the new state record coosa bass out of Martin's Fork of the Cumberland River on July 6. The fish weighed 0.53 pounds, besting the old record of 0.15 pounds set by Gerald Gallagher in July, 2004. The fish was 10.8 inches long with a girth of 6.5 inches and hit a live cricket.

Many Kentuckians have probably never heard of the coosa bass, also known as the redeye bass. Coosa bass get their name from the Coosa River in Georgia and Alabama. The Coosa River flows through the heart of its home range.

"It is an isolated population that was introduced into the Martin's Fork drainage in the early 1950s," said Benjy Kinman, director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "Coosa bass are not native and there's been very little expansion of their population from the Martin's Fork system."

Fisheries officials removed the size limit on coosa bass in 2003. Coosa bass formerly fell under the same statewide regulations of largemouth and smallmouth bass in which an angler could keep 6 fish daily with a 12-inch minimum size limit.

"We were unnecessarily protecting this species," Kinman explained. "They rarely get above 12 inches. We encourage harvest of this population of fish."

Lures that work for stream smallmouth bass work for coosa bass. Small in-line spinners, small minnow lures, brown, green or black three to four inch curly tailed grubs rigged on lead heads, crayfish imitating crankbaits and small topwaters all attract coosa bass. Light lines of four or six-pound test and ultralight spinning rods are recommended for these fish. Despite their small size compared to other bass, coosa bass put up a tremendous fight, similar to a smallmouth bass in a stream environment. They also make excellent table fare.

For more information about the Kentucky Record Fish program, call 1-800-858-1549. The record fish list is on pages 20 and 21 of the 2004 Kentucky Sport Fishing and Boating Guide or may be viewed on the KDFWR web site at


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