Bass is the most sought-after game fish in North America. They have a voracious appetite and immense fighting power. If you use the right tips and tricks, then it is fun to go bass fishing. They are plentiful and are an easy catch.
We can broadly categorize them into three categories black basses, Asian basses, and temperate basses.
If you plan to go bass fishing, you should be aware of different bass species. Each species requires a different approach.
There are nine recognized bass species
- Alabama bass
- Florida bass
- Guadalupe bass
- Largemouth bass
- Redeye bass
- Shoal bass
- Suwannee bass
- Smallmouth bass
- Spotted bass
To identify different types of bass, we must know about their
- Number of scales on the lateral line
- Number of rays and spines on the dorsal and anal fin
- Number, size, and location of lateral strips
- Upper jaw length and position compared to the eye
- Region and country of belonging
When these species breed together, they result in the formation of sister species. A Guadalupe bass can breed with spotted bass and also with smallmouth bass, creating offspring non-identical to parents. Now we will find out more about different bass fishes.
Different Types of Bass Fish
Previously they were known as Alabama subspecies of the spotted bass as they are very identical to them. They have a dark and blotch lateral band running from head to tail. Below this band is the spots.
They also have a tooth patch which is rare in other species. These fish are from Georgia and Alabama. Their presence is noted in Lake Gaston, Claytor Lake, Diascund Reservoir, Philpott Lake, Martinsville Reservoir, and Chickahominy River.
They have spiny and soft dorsal fins with scales at the base of the anal and dorsal fins. It is difficult to differentiate them from spotted brass without a magnifying glass or genetic analysis.
These fishes can be caught in ponds, lakes, and streams. But it is rare to get hold of them. They can grow as large as 24 inches.
It was first described in 1822 and recognized as a species in 2002.
You won’t catch the Florida bass very often, and even if you do, without a scientist to help you sample and sequence its DNA, you’ll probably mistake it for a normal largemouth!
The American Fisheries Society also classifies it as a subspecies of largemouth bass.
It is a sought-after prize catch. But should not be consumed in large quantities because of the mercury present in them. Some experts recommend just six ounces a month to avoid toxic mercury levels in the body.
In 1874, it was first described. It is the official state fish of Texas. The upper jaw does not extend into the middle of the eye, and its tongue has a tooth patch.
Dorsal fins with spines and soft rays are connected by a shallow notch. Soft dorsal and anal fin bases are scaled. The dorsal fin has ten spines and the anal fin has three.
If you’re a bass angler in Texas, you have a chance to catch one of these fish as they are found in Texas only. They are adapted to small streams hence, Guadalupe bass does not grow to be huge.
They prefer quick-moving water and can use fast water to their advantage if hooked. It makes Guadalupe a common sport fish.
Micropterus salmoides or largemouth bass is a perennial favorite on lakes and slow-moving rivers from Quebec to Mexico and Virginia to California.
These brutes prefer sub-tropical climates, reaching a maximum length of 29.5 inches and weighing just over 25 pounds. They prefer warm water, tolerating a temperature range of 41 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with an ideal water temperature of 81 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit for feeding and development.
Largemouth bass prefers muddy or sandy bottoms, clear water, and abundant vegetation. On the stomach, a prominent, jagged, dark line of splotches runs from the gill plate to the tail, ranging in color from dark green to olive to light white and pink.
The largemouth bass is named for its massive expanding mandible and has nine spines on the dorsal fin and three spines on the anal fin. Scales are ranging from 59 to 72 lateral lines.
Looking for a mouth that protrudes beyond the posterior edge of the eye when closed and a distinctly separated set of dorsal fins is the best way to classify this species.
First described in 1940, there are currently five subspecies of redeye bass. The upper jaw of this bass does not stretch beyond the corner of the cheek.
On the edges, you will see dark, vertical blotches that fade with age and do not form horizontal bands. The dorsal, caudal, and anal fins of the second dorsal will be red with a white border.
The dorsal fin has 9 to 11 spines, while the anal fin has three spines. Scales ranging from 63 to 74 on the lateral line The first symptom to watch for is bright red eyes.
Redeyes will occasionally have a few marks on their sides, but they will be less than six. You can also identify them by patching the tongue.
These bass are native to Mobile Bay, Chattahoochee, and Savannah basins of Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee.
The shoal bass, which is native to Florida and Georgia, was first identified as a new species in 1999. It prefers undammed rivers with strong currents and can be found in Georgia’s Flint River, Blackshear, and West Point lakes.
It’s a prized bass to catch because it’s a warrior with plenty of stamina. It can be confusing to tell the difference between a redeye and a spotted bass.
Unlike red-eye bass, these fishes have no red coloration or white margins on their fins. They have 72 to 77 lateral line scales.
Since it can hybridize with spotted bass, anglers are advised to release all shoals but retain all spotted bass caught in these waters due to increased competition from this invasive species.
Shoal bass has red eyes and a big blotch near the back of the gill that is 50 to 67 percent the size of their eye. Long, vertical stripes, as well as striped cheeks resembling the smallmouth, are common.
The smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) is an aggressive predator with an insatiable appetite and a penchant for attacking topwater flies and poppers. They have two subspecies- Northern and Neosho.
Most small basses are between 15 and 20 inches long, with a maximum of 27 inches and 12 pounds. Smallmouth prefers clear water with rocky or sandy bottoms, so you’ll find them in rivers, streams, and creeks rather than ponds or lakes.
They prefer slightly colder water than largemouth, and they don’t mind current. As a result, you’ll hardly see smallmouth bass fishes living together.
Smallmouth bass is more uniformly colored than largemouth bass, with speckled scales that often form vertical lines. 9 to 11 sharp spines and 13 to 15 soft rays are found on them. Their anal fin may also have three spines.
Finally, a smallmouth’s upper jaw would not stretch past the back of the eye when the mouth is closed. That’s a telltale sign that will help you distinguish it from knockoffs.
The spotted bass, a well-known species in the Gulf states, is native to the Mississippi River basin. It lives in clearwater streams and rivers with gravel bottoms and strong currents, much like its near relative, the smallmouth bass.
It has a small mouth that does not stretch past the back of the eye when closed and is named for the dark spots that normally appear below its dark lateral line. However, since it can hybridize with the smallmouth bass, identifying it can be difficult.
It’s also difficult to tell apart from Alabama bass unless you live in Florida, Louisiana, or Texas, where that species isn’t found. Be aware that the named spots may form a more or less continuous line.
The three-striped cheek, connected dorsal fins, and a rough, sandpaper-textured tongue are all things to find in this fish. There are presently two subspecies of spotted bass. The base of the dorsal and anal fins have small scales. The lateral scales on the lower side form horizontal, dark stripes or rows.
The Suwannee bass prefers rocky-bottomed streams and rivers, where it can take advantage of tides and eddies that carry food to it. The dorsal fin has ten whereas the anal fin has three spines. There are 57 to 65 lateral line scales.
It’s found only in Florida’s Suwannee River and Ochlockonee River drainages. It is not a priority species due to its limited size.
It is small in size with maximum lengths of only 16 inches and a weight of just under four pounds.
Looking for a distinctive turquoise color on the cheeks, breasts, and ventral areas is the best way to tell if you caught a Suwanee. But this color is not always present in immature specimens. Just below the lateral line, it has dark vertical spots.
Next time when you plan for bass fishing, you will have enough ideas about which species to catch and how to identify them from others.