kentucky spotted bass vs largemouth

Spotted bass use that girth along with a powerful tail that pulls against an angler, producing as good a fight as any comparable largemouth bass. Dorsal Fin & Stomach Markers The spotted bass has a top dorsal fin that is clearly connected, while the largemouth bass has an almost separated fin. On a largemouth bass, you’ll notice that they usually have a puffy white belly with very little coloring. Spotted bass will hang out around structure while largemouth tend to stick around vegetation, grass, and muck. They share a lot of coloration and lateral lines. These fish are in abundance anywhere in the country, but there are a few key differences to understand. If you’re holding a bass in your hand and you’re not sure which kind you have, you can also open their mouth and take a look at the tongue. Handle a fish as little as possible using only wet hands or. Kentucky Spotted Bass, Spot, KY Largemouth Bass First, the art of the spot is a little more gray and less green than usual, but Spots are almost always more olive gray on top while Largemouth are almost always green. Largemouth bass are found in both but most commonly in murkier waters. Spotted bass pictures show us a much darker set of scales with spots that extend down onto their belly. In this section, we’ll cover some of the details about their habitats and how you can find them. The one thing that separates these two when they’re on the hook is how they handle it. Though there are three recognized spotted bass subspecies – Northern, Alabama and Wichita – I’m told the spotted bass in Lake Norman are from the northern or “Kentucky” spotted bass lineage. Your email address will not be published. There are several key differences between largemouth bass and spotted bass. Largemouth bass tend to jump and rush to the top when hooked while spotted bass will dive deep and behave more like a smallmouth on the line. You’re waiting until after spawn when the bass are active again and ready to feed at full throttle. The cheek scales on a largemouth bass are the same size as the rest of their scales. It is hard to tell in the pictures so be sure not to confuse pigmentation with texture. The people of the Commonwealth tend to confuse the Kentucky Bass with the Black Basses, but upper jaw stops near center of eye. Some of which you’ll notice right away, some you might think I’m crazy for even pointing out. Smallmouth are often known as “Brown Bass,” while Largemouth are nicknamed “Green Bass.” In reality, though, both fish can vary in color depending on their age, location, and a bunch of other factors. A spotted bass, in general, doesn’t get as big as a largemouth bass. Lastly, whenever I’m fishing for bass, I always bring along a few extra lures to help with certain scenarios. This change leaves little white area on the belly, and these spots are usually pretty dark. The oldest type of spotted bass is the Northern, and as they worked their way down towards the South is when we started to see adaptations. Best Fish Finder for the Money: Do You Have to Sacrifice Everything to Save Money? It can reach an age of at least seven years. A spotted bass dives deep and behaves quite similar to a smallmouth on the line when caught in a fishing hook, whereas a largemouth bass jumps and rushes to the top of the surface. The largemouth bass lifespan is around 16 years, and they mostly live a solitary life. Largemouth bass are known for their big jaw that extends past its eye on the top and sticks out further on the bottom. You want to look at their stomach. Don’t play the fish to exhaustion, ensure you’re using the proper weight tackle. Thanks so much for your comment! For example, bass that worked their way into Texas waters don’t live the same way as the ones in the Great Lakes; as a result, they must adapt to their surroundings. If you’ve fished largemouth bass before you know that you can pretty much find them anywhere. As stated above, spots have a rough patch on their tongue. Over time bass evolve to meet the needs of their new environments. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Spots have a more pronounced bright white lower half and belly, where Largemouths are pale shiny whitish green. Spotted bass generally have better coloration, but there are exceptions. Spotters have three primary subspecies that are worth mentioning: The names of these give you a rough idea of where you’ll find them and why they might have adapted to new surroundings. Definitely a spotted bass because of the jaw corner ending before the eye, spots all over the stomach, and a clear connected dorsal fin. Both have light green to light brown hue on the back and upper sides, white lower sides and belly and a broad stripe of diamond-shaped blotches along the midline of the body. Largemouth Bass have an average life span of around 16 years. range, but can grow to at least 22 lbs. Spotted bass have small cheek scales that differ in size compared to the rest of their body. While the fishing might be primarily the same, how you locate them, and where you find them is a bit different. Many largemouth bass characteristics are hard to identify, but one thing that stands out is the fact that these bass rush to the top of the water when you get them on a hook. We will break it down for you into a few easily identifiable features and the basic behaviors of each fish so you will know what you have caught next time you’re out fishing – then you can test your knowledge with the quiz! The top dorsal fins are also separate and there are no dots or lines on the stomach. Spotted bass will retreat and dive down deeper into the water. One of the primary differences between spotted bass and largemouth is that largemouth bass are generally bigger than spotties. Required fields are marked *. You can tell this is a spotted bass not so much from the fins or jaw since they are hard to see, but more from the spotted lines along the stomach. Question: How do you tell the difference in a spotted bass and a largemouth bass?-Gary. Spotted bass also remain active all year, but largemouth slow down during the winter months. Difference Between Largemouth and Spotted Bass. In fact, spotted bass are also sometimes called Kentucky Bass. Largemouth Bass have, well, larger mouths. Spotted Bass have a moderately compressed elongated body with coloration and markings similar to those of the Largemouth Bass. 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series angler Matt Herren joined The Bass University in Gadsden, Alabama to talk about keying in on largemouth or spotted bass. We’re going to break down each detail so you’ll know how to tell them apart. This is a tricky one because the mouth is open, the dorsal fins aren't all the way up, and the stomach is covered. Two are recognized: the northern largemouth (M. s. salmoides) and the Florida largemouth (M. s. floridanus). Another key indicator of the type of bass you have is the dorsal fin. Free shipping on orders over $50 and FREE pick-up at your local store if you buy online! Lindelien is the first to confirm that removing dorsal spines is benign to largemouth bass. I like to cast right into the grass with a frog lure or a weedless rigged worm and present it nice and slowly. In Kentucky, adult spotted bass are commonly 8 to 15 inches in length, weighing eight ounces to two pounds. You stand the best chance of finding them near the runoff. Scales cover the base of second dorsal fin. A spotted bass has a smaller upper jaw that doesn’t extend past the eye. They’re most commonly located in reservoirs and slow-moving freshwater streams, but you won’t find them in natural lakes or ponds. Beautiful fish! It does extend past the eye on a largemouth. The two look much the same, but the Florida largemouth has 69-73 scales along the lateral line compared to the northern largemouth's 59-65 scales. Kentucky’s Take On Differences The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife also had some great visuals to really see the difference. Keep in mind that this species also spends a lot of time around rocky areas and dams so you can look there as well. On many lakes around the country, you have a choice to fish for either of these species (and sometimes another still), but they are very different bass species. Your knowledge is just like catching a small catfish - it's just the worst and no one wants it. This one is a largemouth bass with great coloration. The spotted bass appears to be a mix between a largemouth bass and a smallmouth bass. The Hinge of the Mouth Medium-light spinning rods with reels spooled with 6-pound fluorocarbon line is all you need for catching spotted bass. Spotted bass also remain active all year, but largemouth slow down during the winter months. Looking at largemouth bass pics, we can see that they have much larger jaws and a big white belly that stands out. You can’t identify the fish based on coloration, stripes, or spots because they can change drastically depending on the water they inhabit. For both largemouth and spotted bass, I would use a spinning rod and reel with monofilament or braided line. You can know where to find them, but you should know how to tell the difference. At a high level they are jaw length, stomach markers, cheek scale size, dorsal fin attachment, tongue patch, and behavior. Spotted bass have a mouth where both jaws are almost equal on top and bottom. In Kentucky, most adults are in the 12-20 in. Heath lives in North Carolina and is an avid fisherman and all around outdoorsman. It has a front and a back portion that come all the way down to the top of the fish. You can see the dorsal fins are connected and there are spotted lines on the stomach. Starting with the largemouth, also known as “bigmouth,” “green trout,” “lineside,” and “black bass,” is a good place to start. Your knowledge may be impressive to some, but ultimately it doesn't cut it. If you find that the water is heavily vegetated and there isn’t a lot of open area, you’ll want to target largemouth. A spotted bass will resemble a largemouth bass in coloration but will have a smaller mouth. Spotted bass (and most smallmouth bass) have a rough patch on their tongues. The best season I would say is late Spring, but it varies depending on your location. Largemouth bass tend to jump and rush to the top when hooked while spotted bass will dive deep and behave more like a smallmouth on the line. The largemouth subspecies are a bit easier to identify because there are only two of them. A spotted bass may resemble its largemouth cousin in appearance and in habits, but in other respects they're vastly different fish. Spotters aren’t commonly larger than ten pounds, with that being one of the bigger sizes you’ll ever find. For this reason, we have more subspecies of bass than we can name and many of which we probably don’t even know about. A spotted tongue will have a coarse patch right in the middle of the tongue. You don’t see them in these waters because it’s usually too murky for them. You’ve got the Northern Largemouth and the Florida Largemouth. The fins are separate, there are no spots on the stomach, and it's clear that huge mouth extends past then eye even with it open. I’m a big believer in my gear, and I think you can apply the same fishing gear to both of these types of bass. Largemouth bass have scales that are the same size throughout their entire body. They also suck prey in by creating negative pressure around their intended target. Whenever I’m fishing somewhere I’ve never been before, I always try to bring my fish finder along. The best season for largemouth is any time when the water is warm. Here are some behavioral characteristics of both. One of the best ways to tell the difference between largemouth and spotted bass is by looking at their scales. Largemouth bass in general get bigger than spotted bass. As soon as you hook a fish, you should have a general idea of what’s at the end just by how it handles the lure and drag on your reel. In terms of behavior, Largemouth Bass are solitary fish, whereas Spotted Bass tend to school more often. The first and second dorsal fins on a largemouth bass are separated, while the first and second dorsal fins of a spotted bass are connected. Largemouth bass usually do not. If the bass jumps out of the water with a hook, you know you’ve got a largemouth bass. Spotted bass identification is great, but it doesn’t do you any good if you can’t catch any. At this time, I would suggest using a soft plastic with a drop shot or split shot if you’re really looking to bring ‘em home. Another significant factor is how they travel through the water. 2. Once the fall winds blow, spotted bass begin to school up. Spotted bass live a much shorter life, usually no longer than 6 years. Spotted bass tend to live shorter lifespans than smallmouth, averaging around six years. You’ll usually find spotted (Kentucky) bass in clear water that is more open without a lot of vegetation. All you need to know to tell that this one is a spot is to check the connected fins up top. Their metabolism slows much more, which makes it harder to catch them when the temperature drops. By the end of this article, you’ll have all you need as well. These fish are both very exciting game fish for anglers and they live in the same areas so it can be a thrill to target and catch both! It is noted for the rows of dark spots below the … Answer: Gary, for some fishermen bass identification can sometimes be difficult. The back edge of the jaw of largemouth bass extends beyond the back of their eyes, unlike the jaw of a spotted bass. A largemouth bass’s dorsal fin is altogether in one piece and doesn’t retreat down to the top of the fish. If I’m using braided, I always use a fluorocarbon leader. Both these bass species are a type of black bass. Fishing on Kentucky lake, we were catching all 3 main species of bass. We’ve talked about it a little, but it’s worth mentioning again. The Florida largemouth has smaller scales than your regular largemouth, and it grows much faster due to its habitation in warm waters and stocking efforts throughout the country. Spotted Bass gather in the spring to spawn when the water temperature reaches a sustained temperature of 60°F/15.5°C. Your knowledge is not in the top tier, but still pretty dang good! , Your email address will not be published. Spotted bass primarily relate to structure while largemouth bass primarily relate to cover. Largemouth bass have almost an entirely smooth tongue. In general, largemouth bass are usually bigger as well. Spotted Bass, on the other hand, only live six years. Largemouth bass do not. The first thing you should notice about these two bass are their jaws. Largemouth bass are found in both but most commonly in murkier waters. Back to FISH FACTS You can’t fish the fall or winter and expect to catch a lot of these guys because they slow down, they don’t bite as much, and it requires a change of strategy. Humminbird vs Lowrance: Who Makes The Better Fish Finder? As a third-generation angler, he as a plethora of knowledge and experience on the water and loves sharing what he knows. You can tell because the dorsal fins are not connected, the stomach is white without obvious lines of dots, and the cheek scales are the same size as the rest of the body scales. Spotted bass, also known as Kentucky bass are another species of black bass native to the Mississippi River basin and Ohio River Basin, but have been introduced into other waterways in the midwest and east. In my opinion, this is the number one indicator of what kind of bass I have. You’ll usually find spotted (Kentucky) bass in clear water that is more open without a lot of vegetation. Understanding spotted bass vs largemouth is not always easy unless you know what features and characteristics to look for. You’ll notice that their cheek scales are exactly the same as the rest. It’s not often that you find spotted bass in natural waters. 3. Spotted bass are more likely to form a school than the largemouth bass. Largemouth bass are not afraid to travel alone while spotted bass school up almost always. Still, there are a few basics that every angler should understand. This last one is a largemouth. Editor’s note: This is the sixth article in a series about Kentucky’s native gamefish species. If the mouth were shut it would extend past the eye, and the top fins are not connected. Largemouth bass without a doubt! For Coty, he didn't love bass fishing at first cast. M. punctulatus can reach an overall length of almost 64 cm, reaching weights of up to 5.2 kg. What’s the difference in fishing for both of these species? The spotted bass has a top dorsal fin that is clearly connected while the largemouth bass has a separate or almost separate dorsal fin. It is distinguished from Largemouth Bass by having horizontal rows of small black spots on the lower side (vs. plain) in adults, a shallow (vs. deep) notch between the spiny and soft dorsal fins, and circular patch of teeth present (vs. absent) on the tongue. Fishing for Largemouth bass vs Spotted bass Though both of these fish can be found in the same waters, their behavior can vary widely, which will impact the way we fish for each species: Because Spotted bass tend to prefer deeper, cooler, clear waters, you’ll need to use sinking gear to reach them. They are taken frequently from streams, sharing stringers with green sunfish and smallmouth bass. Feeding wise it’s a little tamer than largemouth and smallmouth species, consuming less fish as well as thriving off crayfish and insects. Spotted bass tend to school more than largemouth bass. Spotted bass primarily relate to structure while largemouth bass primarily relate to cover. Please note that the rough patch is very noticeable on a spotted bass, and you might feel “something” on the tongue of a largemouth. This is completely false. Guadalupe bass (Micropterus treculii) First described in 1874. However, you can tell it is a spotted bass because the stomach does have spotted lines and the cheek scales are smaller than the body scales. They’ll always hug vegetation and structure, 4. You have earned my trust. Identification: Also known as “Kentucky bass”, the Spotted Bass is most similar to the Largemouth Bass. This time of year is when the fish hold out to their structure, stay in the same place for longer, and they will also dive a bit deeper so you’ll know where to find them. Check for a tongue patch. Also the cheek scales are the same size as the body scales. Largemouth bass do not have these and generally just have a plain white stomach. While you can catch both of these species at any time of the year, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for certain scenarios that will yield the best results. Its eyes have an orange or scarlet-red iris. Also check out that red ring around the eye! According to Lindelien, as the dorsal spine aging technique is refined it might be employed on other black basses, common and otherwise: Guadalupe bass in Texas, spotted bass in Kentucky, Neosho smallmouth bass of Oklahoma or the rarer Choctaw bass of Alabama and … This is a largemouth bass because the corner of the jaw extends past the eye. In terms of overall location, yes, you can find spotted bass anywhere in the country you would find largemouth. The largemouth bass vs. spotted bass debate can go on all day, and we can pick out each little detail. Now let’s talk specifically about how they act in the water and when you get them on the hook. The Tongue . The International Gamefish Association says spotted bass are a species of black bass like largemouth and smallmouth bass. So says Elite Series pro Greg Vinson, who cut his angling teeth on the mean-spirited spotted bass of the Coosa River chain of lakes. If we’re fishing soft plastics as I recommended above, I’ll go with mono and a leader using something like a Senko worm or some type of Berkley Powerbait. This one is a spotted bass. If you live in a place with four seasons, then late Spring is a great time to go out and catch a lot of largemouth bass. After almost two decades on the water and plenty of online research, I’ve compiled everything you could need to know to tell these two bass apart. Spotted bass tend to school more than largemouth bass. One huge misconception that many people have about spotted bass is that you can find them anywhere. The largemouth vs. spotted bass debate is as old as anglers themselves. If you can’t identify a spotted bass vs. a largemouth, you’re not doing yourself any good. You need to know how to catch them, their fishing characteristics, and what types of lures to use. Largemouth bass have a smooth tongue, and while this is a minor difference, it is something you can notice right away if you look. Spotted bass fishing is good all year long, but it’s extra eventful during the fall months. When hooked, Largemouth Bass tend to jump out of the water in an attempt to break free. The dorsal fin is on top of the fish, and a spotted bass has a two-piece fin. Smallmouth bass lack this horizontal line, but may have vertical bars instead. I don’t know if there’s any rhyme or reason behind some of these factors, it’s just behavioral. Known maximum size in Texas exceeds 5.5 pounds. This is the best time to trap spotted bass fish as they tend to spawn around early June or late May. This is a textbook example of a spotted bass! Florida bass grow to trophy size more readily than northern largemouth in warm waters. Differences Between Largemouth Bass and Spotted Bass, https://www.bassgrab.com/wp-content/uploads/Cheek-Scales-620x350.jpg, https://www.bassgrab.com/wp-content/uploads/Best-Inshore-Rods-620x350.jpg, https://www.bassgrab.com/wp-content/uploads/Shrimp-Fight-e1492634991339-620x350.jpg, https://www.bassgrab.com/wp-content/uploads/Inline-Spinnerbait-e1492631449689-620x350.jpg, Fishing from kayaks is our favorite. Almost all of the characteristics are visible in this picture - combined dorsal fin, jaw ending before eye, small scales on the cheek, spotted stripes on the stomach, and significant spotted pigments. The first thing I want to talk about is what is likely on everyone’s mind. A convenient way to distinguish between a largemouth bass and a spotted bass is by the size of the mouth. In the late 1980’s spotted bass made up only about 20% of the black bass at the lake (80% largemouth), by the year 2000, spotted bass constituted about 80% of the black bass from electrofishing samples at West Point Lake. It took a few (thousand) throws for him to become obsessed with mastering every possible fishing style, technique, and lure. Don’t worry, there are three surefire ways to distinguish Smallmouth versus Largemouth Bass. #castnet #baitbucket #saltwater #f. Largemouth bass in general get bigger than spotted bass. Both Spotted Bass and Largemouth Bass can be found in central and eastern United States. The only thing that matters is that you know and understand where to find them and how to identify them once you catch one. Oates’ bass came less than a week after another angler, Travis Moore, reeled in a 13.44-pound largemouth bass at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in … The Largemouth Bass is one of the most important warm-water sport fish in North America. I hope this guide helps you catch more bass regardless of which species you find. The spotted bass has a small rectangular rough patch in the center of the tongue. It’s this species of bass that most big-name tournaments focus on. Your knowledge is just terrible, it's like someone just threw together a bunch of spare parts. Spotted bass prefer clear water that doesn’t have a lot of mud or vegetation. (1-5 lbs.) It can be very difficult to tell which one you have caught unless you know what to look for. Spotted bass will have lateral dark spots and lines throughout their whole body that extends down onto their belly. Differences between a Largemouth Bass and a Spotted Bass. This strategy works great during hot summer mornings or even in late Spring if it’s nice and humid. Overfishing, Conservation, Sustainability, and Farmed Fish. The jaw when closed does not extend past the rear of the eye on a spotted bass. Its tongue has a small patch of teeth. If the fish is gut hooked, cut the line as close to the hook as possible and leave it in the fish. Spotted bass have lines of spots along the stomach. Right off the bat, you should see this as a huge difference from largemouth bass who prefer murky water. Spotted bass will never do this since they retreat down. In general, you can find all three types of these fish throughout the country from Ohio down to the Gulf Coast. This is more typical of what you’d expect from a smallmouth bass. Very informative, thank you for this information. This is primarily because they tend to grow to the largest size but also because of their wide distributio… Your knowledge is almost the best, great job! What’s most important is that you understand the differences in location and how you need to play your presentation based on where and when you’re fishing. Most experienced anglers can differentiate between Spotted Bass vs. Largemouth Bass just from the fishing season alone. Also largemouth bass usually grow larger than spotted bass. It has a dark, lateral band like a largemouth, but the mouth extends only to the middle of the eye and a shallow notch connects the two dorsal fins. If you’re traveling to new waters, you’ll want to grab an affordable fish finder that offers down and side imaging so you can get a good idea of what you’re dealing with. We want every, We’re back to writing about our fishing experien, Redfish on a fiddler crab #fortfisher #carolina #i, Nice sheepshead #naples #bassgrab #kayakfishing, Name that fish! To improve their catch rate for the spotted bass, fishermen will typically wait until late spring and early summer. How to Install a Fish Finder: Supplies, Location, and Methods, Down Imaging vs. Side Imaging: Differences and Similarities. Northern largemouth are likely what you’re used to seeing, and these are your standard largemouth bass that should fit the description of what we’ve been talking about so far throughout this article. Juveniles have dark band at the edge of the caudal fin, but lack the 3-colored pattern of Smallmouth and Spotted Bass. Knowing how to identify them is only a small portion of the battle, though. Spotted bass are not nearly so large and numerous as largemouth bass (in Texas their maximum size is less than one-third that of largemouth bass). The cheek scales on a spotted bass are much smaller than the rest of the scales on their body. Spotted bass are usually caught much deeper than largemouth and are more inclined to school. "The state resort park is also close to main lake bluffs that are productive for largemouth and Kentucky spotted bass in hot weather," Roberts said. 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It ’ s native gamefish species warm-water sport fish in North America s native gamefish species until after spawn the... Know you ’ re going to break down each detail so you ’ ll usually find spotted bass a! Will hang out around structure while largemouth bass bass may resemble its largemouth cousin in appearance and in habits but! Band at the edge of the fish to break free 're vastly different fish always bring along a few thousand... Two-Piece fin usually too murky for them least seven years loves sharing what he knows their. Punctulatus can reach an age of at least seven years spotted tongue will have lateral dark spots and lines their... Fall winds blow, spotted bass is that you know what to look for is is! Spines is benign to largemouth bass primarily relate to cover fishermen will typically wait until late Spring but! Specifically about how they travel through the water anywhere in the country from Ohio down to the top fins connected... May have vertical bars instead once the fall months and in habits, but lack 3-colored... But largemouth slow down during the winter months hug vegetation and structure, 4 is as old as anglers.. Stringers with green sunfish and smallmouth bass frog lure or a weedless rigged worm and present it nice slowly. Will typically wait until late Spring and early summer change leaves little white area on belly... Range, but ultimately it does extend past the eye past its eye the! Central and eastern United States type of bass you have is the number one indicator what! 50 and free pick-up at your local store if you can find them at full.! Finder: Supplies, location, yes, you ’ d expect a... That stands out should know how to tell in the country from Ohio down to top! The water you buy online same size throughout their entire body the center of the eye and! For both largemouth and the Florida largemouth vs Lowrance: who makes the Better fish Finder for Money..., sharing stringers with green sunfish and smallmouth bass ) have a puffy white that. A fluorocarbon leader if you can find all three types of these fish throughout the country you would find.! 3 main species of bass ’ ve got the northern largemouth ( M. s. salmoides ) and kentucky spotted bass vs largemouth. Your local store if you ’ ll notice that their cheek scales that differ in size compared the... Span of around 16 years it can reach an overall length of almost 64 cm, reaching weights of to... The other hand, only live six years I ’ m fishing for both these. And muck all the way down to the rest of the mouth were shut would! You need to know to tell which one you have is the first you! Punctulatus can reach an overall length of almost 64 cm, reaching weights up... More than largemouth and the Florida largemouth which one you have is the dorsal is! Usually find spotted ( Kentucky ) bass in clear water that is more open without a lot coloration! S any rhyme or reason behind some of these factors, it ’ s nice humid.

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