By Molly Kirk
Virginia angler Jacob Moore was quite surprised when he reeled in this largemouth bass from the James River. Moore was expecting to catch a largemouth—he was targeting them. But he definitely wasn’t expecting to catch a golden largemouth!
“I was out there practicing for a tournament, catching a bunch of fish,” said Moore, who works as an arborist and participates in local tournaments. “I was on the lower James near Chippokes [State Park]. When I hooked into that one, I thought I had a saltwater fish on at first, but lo and behold, it was a largemouth! A very different largemouth, though. I haven’t seen anything like that before. I’ve seen bass with black spots, but I’d never seen an albino one.”
“Golden largemouth bass are extremely rare and most anglers have never seen them, let alone heard of them before,” said Alex McCrickard, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) Aquatic Education Coordinator. “The fish is a product of a genetic mutation that alters the skin pigments called xanthism. Yellow pigmentation dominates in xanthism, as you can see in Moore’s golden largemouth.”
Moore measured the fish at 16 ½ inches, took a few photos, then returned it to the water.
For more information, go to dwr.virginia.gov.