Red Hills Fishery, is a dynamic and well capitalized initiative which, over three years ago, began to develop and deploy cutting edge aquaculture science specifically focused on isolating a combination of multiple genetic traits that are inherited by largemouth bass progeny (such as enhanced growth rates, larger ultimate size, catchability, disease resistance, and the like).
This is in addition to enthusiastically allocating a substantial amount of resources towards the goal of providing all-female TITAN Bass® in the not too distant future.
Red Hills’ scientific and breeding processes stand out for one principal reason…they focus on improvements to the genetics of the fish itself, which is something that has been noticeably lacking from the bass industry for decades. In short, Red Hills’ mission is to “Break Bass Barriers”, which, among other things, are currently reflected in lessening numbers of new “records” being set, and a perception, shared by many in the industry, that less trophy bass are being caught.
Red Hills’ management, for a variety of reasons, is convinced that its TITAN Bass® are the wave of the future for largemouth bass. Why? Because it is the first and only program to employ a family-based, pedigreed breeding process for largemouth bass that encompasses measuring and improving the performance characteristics of entire families of progeny, not just of one single member of a family. Red Hills’ pedigreed breeding approach can be a real game changer for the bass industry and for recreational fishing.
What is different about the genetics of TITAN Bass ®?
Red Hills’ unique approach to pedigreed breeding (sometimes referred to as family based breeding) scientifically examines the characteristics of many families of brood stock to identify those brooders possessing superior genetic potential. With each successive breeding generation, the elite brood stock selected pass on enhanced genetics targeted at higher performing annual growth rates and size. That is, the genetic potential of the entire brood stock population is increased in a sustainable and predictable manner. Accordingly, Red Hills expects to see 10%-15% increases in growth rate within successive generations of TITAN Bass®.
This is to be contrasted with many of today’s selective breeding approaches which focus on the physical characteristics of a few individual bass (which could, in and of itself simply be “outliers” arising within an otherwise poor performing family). In a word, such approaches focus on a BIG plus BIG equals BIGGER notion. Because those breeding methods do not trace the genetics or performance of entire families of brood stock, their progeny are far less predictable in terms of performance, and the reproduction of superior traits is far less replicable.
On the other hand, the complex scientific protocols that Red Hills employs allows it to breed TITAN Bass® with a high level of genetic replicability, diminishing the “random”, non-replicable results that are associated with many of today’s selective breeding techniques. The result is a program that ratchets up overall family performance with every new generation of the breeding program, and results in consistently high performance across the entire population of bass stocked in ponds.
As previously noted, Red Hills’ pedigreed breeding processes are designed and revised each year based on what scientifically based growth data directs, based on performance of the progeny of Red Hills’ brood stock families…optimized pairings of next generation brood stock are accordingly made to maximize genetic improvement with each successive generation of TITAN Bass® bred. It bears repeating once again that although the initial focus of Red Hills is on increased growth rates, its breeding framework can and will be used to improve other traits crucial to bass fishing success, such as large ultimate size, catchability and disease resistance.
Red Hills' TITAN Bass® are bred and their performance measured within a controlled environment that correlates to performance in ponds. This is possible because Red Hills designed, built, and operates within state-of-the art indoor facilities (based in Boston, GA). From both scientific and physical plant standpoints, Red Hills has invested at a scale not ever seen across the private bass breeding landscape.
The organization that consults with Red Hills on its pedigreed breeding protocols is The Center For Aquaculture Technologies (“CAT”). CAT is an internationally renowned firm in the field of aquaculture genetics, as has been instrumental in the success that pedigreed breeding programs have brought to the performance of multiple other species of fish.