Different Types of Bass
As an avid bass fisherman, you probably know what types of local bass you can catch. But did you know that there are many different types of bass in North America? While they're collectively called black bass, there are actually four major types of bass and many subspecies of bass out there. In fact, these fish actually types of sunfish, although they're rarely called such. The four main types of bass that fisherman in the US can find are the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and Guadalupe bass.
The first of these types of fish is the largemouth bass, which is also called the bigmouth bass, black bass, Florida bass, Oswego bass, great trout, as well as many other names. It's easily identified by the dark, almost black, stripes that run horizontally down its flanks. Its jaw extends backwards more than most bass, ending back behind its eyes. The largemouth bass – as the name implies – is the largest type of bass. Some of the largest largemouth bass caught have measured over thirty-five inches long and have weighed as much as twenty pounds or more.
Closely related to the largemouth bass is the smallmouth bass. This is the bass that many people catch in the lakes and rivers of the United States – especially the Mississippi River and Hudson Bay, which are the smallmouth bass's native waters. The smallmouth bass, unlike the largemouth bass, has dark vertical strips instead of horizontal ones. Unlike the largemouth bass, its jaw does not extend back behind its eye. In addition, take note of any dead smallmouth bass you see in a river or lake – smallmouth bass are very susceptible to pollution, so a sudden increase in dead smallmouth bass is often an indicator of a polluted lake or river.
The spotted bass, also called the Kentucky bass, is also native to the Mississippi River, states surrounding the Gulf of Mexico, and some western and northern states as well. It's very widespread – in fact, the spotted bass has even been introduced to some waters in southern Africa. On sight, the spotted bass and the largemouth bass look very similar, but the spotted bass has a smaller mouth that is similar to the smallmouth bass's jaw in size. The coloring, however, is nearly identical to the largemouth bass.
The final major type of bass is the Guadalupe bass – a fish that appears only in rivers on the Edwards Plateau in Texas, including the Guadalupe River. Because it's located in such a small area, many fishermen – especially fly fishermen – make trips to Texas to fish for the Guadalupe bass. The Guadalupe bass is significantly smaller than the other three types of bass, with the longest on record being a mere eighteen inches, while the heaviest Guadalupe bass weighed only 3.7 pounds. This species of bass was one the vulnerable species list, requiring most fishermen to catch and then release the fish to keep the population from decreasing.
Because of the widespread range of these different types of bass, you should be able to find and fish for at least one species near your home. However, as you become more involved in the sport of bass fishing, you may want to travel to try fishing for each specific type. Enjoy learning all the different tips and tricks bass fishermen have developed for the different species of bass – the more you learn, the more fun you'll have fishing.