Copied from today copy of the Batesville Guard. After 20 years, the meanmouth bass has struck again. More than once. About two decades ago, an outdoors magazine Outdoor Life, I believe published an article about a hybrid bass that was so aggressive the researchers who created it called it the meanmouth bass. The article said the meanmouth a cross between smallmouth and largmouth bass was attacking people who waded into the shallow ponds where the hybrid was being studied or at least nipping their legs, sometimes in swarms. Swarms of meanmouth bass were also documented chasing dogs out of the water in the observation ponds by snapping at or actually biting the dogs. Researchers hands were also bitten on occasion as they handled the snap-happy fish. At least one bite brought blood. The news now is that meanmouth bass are occurring naturally, although most of the meanmouths being caught are smallmouth-Kentucky (spotted) bass crosses rather than smallmouth-largemouth hybrids. Not all of them, though. Some are identical to the original laboratory-produced fish which were destroyed, by the way, because they were so aggressive. A Cave City Bass Club member caught a meanmouth (smallmouth-Kentucky) on Lake Norfork last Saturday. He said it was, in shape, more like a rock bass, but because of its markings was obviously a smallmouth-Kentucky cross. The club made a rule four or five years ago that meanmouths cannot be weighed in during touraments because they are neither a smallmouth nor a Kentucky (or largemouth). The rule was instituted after a club member quit after being denied his request to weigh in a meanmouth as a smallmouth. That fish was long enough to meet the smallmouth length limit but not the Kentucky bass length limit. Weighing in the fish would have put the club member into the prize money. Some of these naturally-occurring meanmouths look more like pure smallmouths than others. Although found in Missouri and Georgia and perhaps other states, as well as Arkansas, the number of natural meanmouths appear to be highest in Table Rock Lake. Outdoor Life, which seems to be the magazine on top of the meanmouth issue, reports that Curt Walker of St. Charles, Mo., caught a 4.75-pound meanmouth from Table Rock Lake last fall. The fish reportedly was announced as a state record, although it probably won easily. I suspect no one else had ever tried to enter a meanmouth for a state record. Several other anglers report catching meanmouths on Table Rock, where spawning conditions apparently are conducive for the two species to create nests in the same areas. Several types of sunfish crossbreed in the wild, and some laboratory engineered fish have been successfully released in public and private waters. These include the saugeye, a cross between sauger and walleye; the tiger muskie, a cross between northern pike and muskie; and perhaps the most successful of all, the hybrid striper, which in Arkansas grow up to 60 pounds or so. The hybrid striper is a cross between striped bass and white bass. Hybrids often have desirable characteristics of both parents but sometimes develop unique personality traits (see mule, perhaps the most famous hybrid ever). One of those traits can be aggressiveness, which means meanmouth bass put up a good fight when hooked by a fisherman. Type meanmouth bass into your Google search engine and youll get several hits on sites that discuss the meanmouth, and some of those sites have photos. Have a good time searching for the meanmouth both on the Internet and in our lakes and streams!