Crooksville, Ohio — Ever hear of a genetic mutation in fish called xanthism?
Not many people have, including Cody Gill and Candis Swain, boyfriend and girlfriend who recently caught a largemouth bass with the mutation.
Gill and Swain were fishing a pond on AEP ReCreation Land last month when the 12-inch bass hit their lure.
“It was kind of a slow (fishing) day and we weren’t catching too many,” Gill said. “And, we just hooked into that one.
“You could see it in the water because it’s pretty clear out there,” he said. “We could see it kind of glowing and we weren’t sure what it was. Never seen anything like it before.”
Not many people have, including Mike Greenlee, fish management supervisor for the DNR Division of Wildlife in Athens.
“Honestly, I nor none of our fish staff have ever seen this before,” Greenlee said. “It certainly looks like xanthism is the case here based on what we have learned since receiving the photo.”
It certainly appears that the bass has been affected by xanthism, which is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary online as “coloring (as of the skin or pelt) marked by a predominance of yellow pigments.”
“We didn’t know how rare it was before we got home and looked it up,” said Gill, who fishes three or four times a week at the ReCreation Land with Swain. “It was a pretty fish.”
According to Wikipedia, the cause of xanthism is usually genetic but it may also be linked to the animal’s diet.