Often mistaken for a largemouth this lesser-known species of the black bass is as fun to catch as any other. With its native waters not being as broad as the small or largemouth you can still find them among many of our southern states including parts of Florida. The spotted bass is also known as the Kentucky bass and red eye for their distinctive deep red eyes. Also found in fishing tournaments, this group of the black bass is as sporty and fun to catch as any small or largemouth. They are a tough swimmer and will chase most of the same types of bait as their more popular cousins.
Profile – (Micropterus Punctulatus)
What is a Spotted Bass?
The spotted bass is another subspecies of the black bass but smaller than their larger cousin. This species can reach a maximum length of twenty-five inches and can weigh in at eleven pounds. It is known to inhabit freshwaters from central Texas to Florida. The spotted bass is also known as a sport fish and can be featured in popular fishing tournaments. Often confused with the large and smallmouth bass this fish has a place of its own among the nine black bass subspecies.
Where Can I find spotted bass?
The spotted bass can be found from the Mississippi River basin throughout all the states bordering the Gulf and the northern portion of Florida. The spotty can also be found in the state of Virginia and North Carolina. This bass loves to hang in clear moving water that isn’t quite good enough for smallmouth and too deep or cool for the beloved largemouth bass. It prefers flowing streams and rivers that provide rocky outcroppings, downed trees, and riprap walls. They can be found at depths of over one hundred feet but also can be found in the shallows looking for food.
What is the Spottys Diet?
As with other bass species the spotted bass prefers insects and insect larvae in their youth but will soon be hunting for crayfish, worms, leeches, shad, shiners, and minnows. They are a reliable hunter and will feed often and aren’t too picky. As with other bass species, the spotted bass opens its mouth sucking its food into its mouth and swallowing it whole.
Reproduction and Life Cycle
A spring spawner, the spotted bass will reproduce in the months of April and May. Finding itself sometimes in competition with smallmouth breeding grounds, the spotted bass will find sandy and gravely areas to nest and attract a female to deposit her eggs. Once this is complete the male base will fertilize the eggs and protect them until they have hatched. Living up to six years the spotted bass will provide many years of reproduction and will produce a surplus of small fry that the male will guard for weeks after they have hatched.
How do You Catch Spotted Bass?
Fishing in different locations for any fish will often determine your gear choices and this is also true for the spotted bass. However, if you talk to the best there you hear similar answers for items such as pole size and bait types. Most of these answers will revolve around plastic worms and different types of jerk bait. Still, if you find yourself in a short supply of these types of bait you can resort to similar tactics and bait choices that you use to fish for the powerful smallmouth.
- Buzz Bait – As with the smallmouth these lures are one of the best lures for spottys. Due to their ability to sink on their own and still provide a flashing display of colors to attract the fish. These lures are relatively weedless and work well in fast-moving waters making them deadly.
- Crank Bait – As with other black bass species these lures remain a target favorite among anglers because of their versatility. Selecting the right one may be a challenge as there are endless varieties of these. Often found at the deeper depths of the river basins, the spotted bass can frequently be caught on a nice flashy gold deep swimming Rapala.
- Hair Jigs – These smaller and easier-to-use jigs are one of the best fishing tactics for these types of bass as they mimic some of their favorite foods. A simple jigging motion of the bottom of the basin with these can give your wrist a good workout.
- Spin Bait – Often confused as swim or crankbait by novice fishermen, spin bait is a breed of its own. These use an alluring tactic of flashy spinning devices to quickly catch the attention of the target fish. These lures can in many cases trigger a violent and immediate attack by the bass as they are trying to kill your lure.
- Fly fishing Jigs – These dissimilarly caught fish can even be snagged with a fly-fishing rod. Although this method shouldn’t be taken up as a first-try tactic it is usually left to the pros who are seeking a unique way of catching the beautiful spotted bass.
- Jerk Bait – Jackpot! Here is where the fishing gets consistent, and you will see many nets being used. This is the best way to catch this specific breed of bass. Finding yourself with a full tackle box of these lures, you will also find yourself often throwing back smaller catches for bigger ones. Professional anglers during competitions will start and often stay with jerk bait or rubber worms for the entirety of the day.
What Other Gear do I Need?
Angling for spottys can land you looking for a more specific fishing pole because of the control and sensitivity needed. A medium-action seven-foot extra fast action tipped pole is a great start and a choice setup for top anglers. Add on your favorite jerk bait or a five-to-seven-inch swimbait on a windy point where the spotted bass like to remain. With a suspended fish you are going to land yourself some of these fish. The pros are even bold enough to nearly guarantee it. Although, if you would like to start your day on the water with a simpler approach try some rubber works. These are set up as weedless and troll the shores where drop-offs are found. This is another great way to haul in some of these favored fish.
There is no wrong answer here, as the spotted bass isn’t the strongest bass. However, if you go to light they will snap your line. One of the best choices out there is the Seaguar invizX fluorocarbon line, anywhere between an eight and twenty-pound test will do a great job.
Where do I Go?
Well, everyone asks the guy next to him at the boat launch where to go. The simple answer is, that they are in the water, as no one wants to give up their secret spots. Although this may be true it isn’t very helpful. Let’s review this breed’s favorite areas as you launch your boat. Whether you’re at your favorite lake or while fishing on the shores of the mighty Mississippi, a great place to start is at a point where the water grows deeper to a drop-off. The well-known spotted bass will often be found at these points, especially on a windy day. If you prefer to fish rivers for this species, you will want to look for clear slow-moving waters that chase away the largemouth and leave plenty of room for the spotted bass to flourish. In the springtime as early as February in the south but typically during the month of April, these spotted swimmers will be in the shallower water. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to fish for the spotted bass.
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