Courtesy Sarah Parvin
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Sarah Parvin and her father, Dr. Dennis Olive, started growing trophy bass in their private five-acre family pond in Alabama nearly three decades ago. After an unfortunate fish kill, they switched their focus to raising unusually large coppernose bluegill, so large in fact that it wouldn’t be surprising if their pond, nicknamed the “Slab Lab,” produced a world record. We caught up with Parvin to find out more.
What exactly is the Slab Lab?
It’s a private lake that my Dad and I have worked on for nearly 28 years. It was originally a trophy largemouth bass lake. But after a fish kill in 2018, we decided to start over. Much to our surprise, we realized we had some very special coppernose bluegill in our lake, so we thought, let’s grow those.
Is Slab Lab a fishing destination?
We do a very limited amount of private anglers. Right now we have universities involved in studying our bluegill, as well as the USDA and the American Sportfish Hatchery. They’re trying to figure out what’s happening, how our fish grow so large—even for being pellet-fed.
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Did you grow up fishing?
My entire family fishes, for as long as I can remember. When my dad found the land to build his dream home, he dug the lake two years before he built his house. I still fish almost every day. Besides the bluegill, I also fish for bass in local lakes and go saltwater fishing with my brother.
Do you ever use a boat on your private lake?
We have an electric pontoon that we call the Slab Rocket. It can really fly, just kidding. But it’s great for taking out four or five anglers at a time.