Two of North America’s freshwater favorites; are the Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. What are the differences between these two aquatic predators, and what makes them alike?

These two fish are among the world’s most sought freshwater sport fish from their habitat to their prey.

We’ll breakdown everything about the Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass.

Largemouth vs. Smallmouth

These two predators have many apparent differences, from their colors, dorsal fin, mouth size, and location.

The smallmouths and largemouths can share territories. If put in the same body of water, they will separate into different areas of the river or lake.

They both have ideas on what prey is and how to catch it. They know what type of cover they prefer, and how to use it.

However, one thing is true about both species: they are both incredible hunters.

Habitat the Bass Live In

These two fish may find the same cover appropriate; however, they will utilize it differently. Let us take a rocky point, for example. The Largemouth will use it for cover to ambush their prey, while the Smallmouth will not enter the shelter but will hunt the game around it.

Smallmouths much prefer the colder running water if they have the choice. You will be in smallmouth territory anywhere near a damn, creek, or river. The lazy Largemouth prefer to sit in the murky shallows under vegetation of trees and lily pads and ambush smaller prey.

In short, the Largemouth prefers the stagnant lake water while Smallmouth prefer to use cooler flowing water to their advantage. They wait for their prey to float downstream.

Remember, when fishing for both fish, you don’t always have to find them per se, but you do need to find their favorite cover.

How Big Do They Get?

Smallmouth world record holders have caught eleven-pound fish before, but this species usually tops out at around ten pounds, while Largemouth can grow much more prominent. In 1932, the world record largemouth bass was set at twenty-two pounds and four ounces and hasn’t been beat yet. Anglers from all around the world still try, but the record remains.

What do they look like?

Often known as “Brown Bass,” the Smallmouth bass has a jawline that will never extend past its eye. Also, the Smallmouth has no break in its dorsal fins, while the Largemouth has a distinct separation between the two.

The Largemouth, also known as “Green Bass,” has a much bigger mouth that extends a noticeable distance past the eye. Also, the Largemouth have a lighter olive-green tone with fewer black markings as theirs usually show up in a stripe running parallel with their bodies.

Their bellies will typically have a white tenor to them as it fades to green up their sides.

The Smallmouth will retain darker colors as the black on their bodies runs vertically in faded tiger-striped patterns. Their sides have a much darker tail as well.

Which One Should You Catch?

The answer to this is easy; you can and should catch both. Although the Largemouth bass will almost always be bigger and more exciting to look at once it’s in the boat, the Smallmouth retains its qualities that anglers can’t keep to themselves. Maybe you plan to do some flyfishing. This may change what you should look for that day.

Depending on how you fish for them can help you determine what you’re after. Spring a violent surface attack by a hungry morning Largemouth, or do you prefer the epic fight of a lunker Smallmouth on a river.

You must ask yourself what you are after, and if you are after an exciting day on the water. I suggest fishing for both. They both have similar qualities, and they taste great after they have been filleted and cooked to your preference.

Each of these fish will jump from the water to show their acrobatic abilities, and both have and will throw your hook right before you land them forcing you to reload and cast again. Make sure you have one of the best rods on the market to make life easier.

No matter the thrill, edibility, beauty, or challenge, the small and Largemouth bass will fulfill your day with exactly what you are after. When comparing the smallmouth vs. largemouth bass, you now know what to think about when deciding to fish for these species.