“Trending” is a term used to describe a hot topic, typically one gathering lots of input on social media. In our sport, “black bass management” fits the bill.

Everywhere I turn, the topics of breeding, moving and introducing bass often lead the conversations. In the past, stocking “Florida-strains” was all the rage. Those fish are now known to be entirely different species. Pros and cons exist with Florida bass; they grow big, but have been scientifically determined to be difficult to catch. Catch-22, I suppose.

The newest trend is stocking F-1 hybrid bass. These are a cross between the Florida and Northern species of largemouth bass. The idea is that the combination produces a superior end product.

It’s often theorized that the U.S. World Record bass – the George Perry giant taken in Georgia nearly a century ago – may have been a naturally occurring cross. Both Florida- and Northern-strain bass live in and around the waters where Perry fished. While this may just be scientific romance, it’s sure compelling.

Black bass management includes negative press, too. Lately the big concern revolves around the expansion of Alabama bass. Here, again, we have a new classification of a unique species of bass. Recently, it was determined that Alabama bass, native to the Mobile River watershed, are distinctly different from spotted bass. Red-eye bass are closer cousins, evidently. It can all be confusing.

We’re learning more about the places Alabama bass now exist, and how they’re displacing native fish. In fact, it’s been determined that Alabama bass have reduced native largemouth stocks in several lakes by as much as 70 percent! Reports suggest Lake Murray may be next in line to feel the Alabama heat.

Alabama bass grow big when compared to spots. That trait has made Alabamas desirable to many bass anglers, where size is everything. Alabama bass exceeding 8 pounds hold the top spot on many reservoirs.

In reality, though, comparing Alabama bass to spots is no different than comparing them to largemouth. Different species, regardless of looks.

Alabama bass continue to present problems to fisheries managers. Known to bring nothing but “negative impacts to native black bass” by the American Fisheries Society, Alabama bass are on the hit list with management agencies across the country.

While this is certainly understandable, it must be pointed out that Alabama bass were, in fact, stocked by these same agencies not long ago. Alabama bass were introduced in Texas in 1996, and California in 1974. Anglers have moved them to numerous reservoirs and lakes since.

Also consider that the agencies and media that now condemn Alabama bass sang their praises when California pumped out a string of giants in the late '90s. Google searches confirm, news reports of “world record spots” flooded the headlines as 8 -to 10-pound fish – now known to be Alabama bass – came over the gunnels at Lake Perris and Pine Flat Reservoir. High-fives all around.

Twenty-five years later, it’s a different story. Everywhere we turn, massive concern exists over the spread of Alabama bass. Public advisories appear on websites and social pages.

I often think of situations like this when I see news of stockings, or the idea that we can grow better bass. That we know better than nature, and planting what were once thought to be subspecies, like “Florida-strain largemouth” or “Alabama spots” is the answer to our prayers. Sure doesn’t look like it now.

Remember, less than one generation later, we find ourselves in a bind. Maybe we’re not so smart.

Consider, too, that any introduced specie is rarely as successful as its original counterpart. Sure, new species can often reproduce like gangbusters and establish robust populations. So much so that our latest worry – the Alabama bass – is now classified as invasive.

But those same exotic intruders are more susceptible to disease, forage over-consumption and population crashes. Massive swings in fish stocks can be a result, creating boom and bust fisheries with complete overhauls of stocks. The end result can be, in fact, little or no bass at all, at least temporarily.

Fisheries managers would then need to re-stock our waters, using the most updated knowledge of the time.

Which, of course, is how we got here in the first place.

(Joe Balog is the often-outspoken owner of Millennium Promotions, Inc., an agency operating in the fishing and hunting industries. A former Bassmaster Open and EverStart Championship winner, he's best known for his big-water innovations and hardcore fishing style. He's a popular seminar speaker, product designer and author, and is considered one of the most influential smallmouth fishermen of modern times.)