The Alabama Bass is best known for its ability to protect and maintain its own territory. This subspecies of the Black Bass has no plans on becoming extinct as it will hybridize the Smallmouth and Spotted Bass. Often confused with the Spotted Bass experts will resort to genetic testing to determine the exact range and population of this copycat bass. These fish are great to eat but you need to be sure to check the water’s mercury levels before you fill your fridge, because some areas in Alabama are quite high.
Profile – (Micropterus Henshalli)
What is an Alabama Bass?
Previously known as a subspecies of the more well-known Spotted Bass the Alabama Bass has a region that is contained to Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. This species is so closely related to the spotted bass that they are differentiated by genetic analysis. Sporting the lateral black band running the length of the body the Alabama Bass is well known to have a tooth patch present on their tongues.
What does Alabama Bass eat?
This fish eater is very much a cannibal. In their youth, the Alabama Bass will eat small crustaceans, tiny minnows, and tadpoles. As they mature, they focus mostly on other fish. They will go after small ducklings, snakes, and other small aquatic animals as well. They will generally dine mostly on other fish from minnows, and shad to bluegill, suckers, and yellow perch and will even devour smaller bass if given the opportunity.
In the early phases of springtime during March the Alabama Bass will begin its journey from the cooler depths of the rivers and lakes and head into warmer waters. During this time the bass will devour anything, but they much prefer eating as many crayfish as possible for the calories. As the water warms up even more the bass will head to more shallow waters to nest with the females. After fertilization, the males will stay in the shallows as with other bass species to protect the young fry. The larger females will head back to deeper waters in search of more food.
Where to find Alabama Bass?
This subspecies of the Black Bass is found mostly in the major rivers of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. This fish likes clear flowing water that overlaps with smallmouth and can outperform and outsurvive the largemouth causing them to be considered in many areas to be an invasive species.
As with other species, you can eat the Alabama Bass as well as the others. Be sure to check that the mercury levels are safe advisories in the state of Alabama.
Angling for the Alabama Bass
Casting for Alabama bass can lead you into a new hobby. Alabama bass can be extremely excited to fight into the boat. After casting a few topwater lures or the best Magnum Zoom Lizards which are weightless and love to pull juicy bass out of their wedded beds in rivers and lakeshores. As with other aggressive bass species, the Alabama Bass will attack anything that enters its nest area. This includes any lure that may mimic food and swim or dance.
Choosing the correct bait for Alabama Bass is mostly situational. In the early spring, the males can be found in the shallows guarding the nests and will attack almost anything that comes close. The females will remain a bit lower in the water. Choosing a lure may have you looking for a quality swim or jerk bait. Nearly any jig in your bass tackle box will get the job done but the pros seem to think the best is rubber crayfish and plastic garlic-scented weightless lizards. Any good topwater lure to start your morning off is a great choice as well.
Rod and Reel choices
Picking the correct rod and reel for the job will mirror choices found in fishing for smallmouth and shoal bass as well. They share similar waters in some cases and have been known to hybridize with both cousins. Let’s get started with a medium pole with a fast action tip. A 2500 series reel and approximately a seventeen-pound fluorocarbon line will suffice. This should get you set up nicely for a great first day on the river angling for Alabama’s best!
What Anglers look for
As the State freshwater fish of Alabama, the Alabama Bass is abundant. The conditions in this state are perfect for them and they are not threatened as they outperform the competition. They can be found in rocky, sandy bottoms that butt up to heavily weeded areas that provide good cover and a great place for breeding. As the warmer months of summer come, the fish will disperse to other areas of the lake and rivers. They will search for more diverse food, leading anglers back to the typical areas such as Lilypad’s, rocky outpoints, and drop-offs. The Alabama Bass will fight hard and make you think you just landed a monster smallmouth.
Image Source – https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=398