Different Types of Bass (A Comprehensive Guide)

types of bass fish

For one of the most popular and common fishes around the world, did you ever wonder about its nomenclature?

The family of bass fishes is named after the Middle English bars called bass. The word bass means ‘perch’.

Let us get to know various members of the perch fish family.

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Types of Bass How To Identify Them

More About Bass

Bass is a name that includes many different types of fish. Each of these is a bass species while being different from the next.

Bass can be found in freshwater as well as saltwater habitats.

In essence, Bass pertains to fish belonging to the Perciformes order.

This name signifies perch-like fishes. No wonder, their common name bass represents the Middle English bars.

Bass fish are carnivores and big eaters themselves.

They are not choosy about what they eat, ranging from other small fish to even aquatic insects and plants.

They are known to also eat snakes, crabs, lizards, and frogs.

There are some species of fish that are not true bass but are closely related in terms of habitat and physical features.

Bass fishing is a popular recreational activity among anglers.

This variety of fish is highly popular in the USA. Not just for fun, serious fishing as an industry also prefers the various types of fish that come under this umbrella.

The science behind different bass species and hybrids

Bass fishing is getting increasingly popular among anglers, both on a recreational as well as industrial scale.

In fact, catching a prized bass is something anglers cherish and weave a tale around for years to come.

To sustain and maintain the feasibility of this activity, it is important to maintain bass populations, from the most recognized largemouth bass to other bass species.

This entails a lot of science, like maintaining supplies of food for bass, a balanced habitat, and checking for the genetic diversity of this fish.

Bass varieties can be found to naturally occur in diverse habitats.

From the East Coast to rivers in Florida to the Great Lakes in North America, these fish abound.

To this end, extensive genetic analysis of various types of bass is being carried out worldwide.

Ensuring genetic purity matters to many people, and of course in the interests of science.

It is but natural that a lot of intermixing of different species happens in the wild.

A lot is also carried out in controlled environments.

Why should you know your bass?

For a species of fish that is so popular and has such numerous subspecies, it is but natural to be drawn to it.

When one is seriously pursuing an activity, it helps to know more about the topic and its various implications.

It is quite okay to simply head out on a day to ‘catch bass’.

That might provide you with the entertainment you seek, but not quite the results.

Fluke catches are always possible; however, if one can get better results with more detailed knowledge, it is always better.

This knowledge is not only about types of bass but also how one needs to prepare for an angling day out.

We have tried to cover all important points in the following sections.

Different types of bass

According to avid anglers and fish conservation bodies, there is ‘true’ bass, and then there are those that are not ‘truly bass’.

We will have a look at all the varieties that come under the umbrella name ‘bass’.

It is important to know that bass is divided scientifically into two separate genera – Micropterus and Morone.

True bass varieties

1) Largemouth bass

When someone says ‘bass’, this is the commonest image that pops up in minds of most people.

The scientific name of this bass is Micropterus salmoides.

These stout-bodied fishes belong to the sunfish family.

Northern largemouth is a popular subspecies of this group and is found in abundance in Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

Florida bass, as the name suggests, is found in water bodies around Florida. It eats almost everything that it can fit into its largemouth.

2) Smallmouth bass

This species is so named because its mouth is smaller than its body compared to the largemouth.

It is known as Micropterus dolomieu scientifically. In fact, in a closed position, the smallmouth’s upper jaw does not go beyond its eyes.

There are many subspecies in this category. Although introduced to a variety of water bodies, it prefers deeper and colder climes.

They prey on alewives and shad for their dietary requirements.

They are available in plenty in the Black Warrior River system.

3) Spotted bass

This variety is one of many black bass species that is popular among anglers and goes by the scientific name Micropterus punctulatus.

The spotted bass group also has an entire subspecies called Choctaw bass or Alabama bass.

As their name suggests, spotted bass has distinguishing spot marks along their lengths.

Physical features that distinguish them are their relatively smaller size.

Also, their first and second dorsal fins are connected.

They also have a rectangular rough tooth patch in the center of their tongue.

4) Bartram’s bass

Also known as redeye bass, this group has five other species.

It goes by the scientific name Micropterus coosae.

These are distinguished by subtle differences like the number of spines on the anal fins and dorsal fins.

They are similar to the smallmouth bass in structure. Mostly found in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia, they are much smaller in size compared to other basses.

They are measured in inches and ounces as opposed to feet and pounds. Warrior bass is an example of redeye bass.

5) Shoal bass

This is a less famous cousin of the more popular smallmouth bass.

Micropterus cataractae is its scientific name. Its habitat is mainly in the Flint River drainage system. Technically it is a separate bass species altogether.

It resembles the Redeye bass, they are characterized by a clear green tail with a spot at the base.

6) Guadalupe bass

The Guadalupe bass is considered to be the last of the true bass species.

It is found widely in Texas and is the official state fish of Texas.

It goes by the scientific name Micropterus treculii.

They are a smaller variety though bigger than Redeye.

They have a tooth patch like spotted bass.

There are sustained efforts to preserve its purity in light of hybridization with other types of bass.

7) Temperate bass

This bass species is also known as true bass. It belongs to a different genus, Genus Morone.

These are great catches and are medium to large in small.

They are found in both saltwater as well as freshwater.

They can grow as much as 100 pounds in weight.

There are two different subspecies in this classification, white and yellow bass.

Other bass varieties

a) Sea bass

This species of bass might not classify as true bass, but it is widely available.

There are three distinct species of sea bass. These are the Black Sea bass, sea bass, and striped bass.

In general, sea bass spawn in the sea but can thrive in brackish or freshwater. These are mostly found in the Atlantic.

b) Wipers

These are essentially hybrid bass also called hybrid striped bass or whiterock bass.

As its name suggests, it is a hybrid between white bass and striped bass.

The variety of yellow bass also falls under this category of fish.

These fish are grouped into different genera. White bass is called Morone chrysops and yellow bass is called Morone mississippiesis.

Their appearance is categorized by two tooth patches on their tongue.

Also their lower jaw projects beyond the upper jaw. Fish called monster white bass are basically wipers.

Mostly found in the Osage River system, these hybrids prefer fast-flowing water bodies.

c) Panfish bass

Panfish is an umbrella nomenclature that includes a variety of different fishes.

These include black crappie, white crappie, sunfish, catfish, bass, and perch families.

These fish are so named because of their size, which fits in perfectly in the pan.

They are edible fish that are small in size but not small enough to be illegal to fish.

d) Suwannee bass

Micropterus noitus is the scientific name for this bass.

It belongs to the river systems of Georgia and Florida. It is comparatively a smaller size of bass.

Young fish of this variety show a large blotch on the caudal fin.

Its appearance is marked by dark vertical blotches on the flanks.

e) Chattahoochee bass

Named after the Chattahoochee river, this variety of bass is found in great numbers in this habitat.

Its scientific name is Micropterus chattahoochae. Environmental changes and excessive damming have created habitat problems for these small fishes.

f) Kentucky bass

Another member of the spotted bass group, this fish is also called spotty.

It has specific markings along the lateral line and goes by the scientific name of Micropterus punctulatus.

These are mainly found in freshwater lakes like Lake Palestine, Lake Larnier, and Lewis Smith Lake.

g) Tallapoosa bass

This bass is mainly found in the Tallapoosa River, whence it gets its name.

It is found in clear shallow waters in southern Alabama.

They have olive-green coloration with a light belly. Their scientific name is Micropterus tallapoosae.

h) Rock bass

This fish also goes by Ambloplites rupesteris. It is commonly called the rock perch, goggle-eye, or black perch.

It is mainly found in freshwater habitats around east-central North America.

These are small-sized game fish that prefer rocky bottomed lakes and streams.

Its dorsal fins are connected and it has 6 spines in its anal fins.

i) Cahaba bass

This type of bass is found in the Cahaba River basin, where it derives its name from.

Originally it was placed in the Micropterus coosae group of fishes, which is basically Redeye bass.

However, despite having the characteristic red-eye, Cahaba has been recently moved out of this classification.

This fish has dark blotches along its sides.

Note: If you’re looking for the best bass fishing rods on the market, look no further than these top ones.

Essentials of Bass Fishing

Given its popularity among anglers and ample availability in the US and Canada, bass fishing is very prevalent in these regions.

In light of this, it is important to conserve bass populations and ensure the balance of nature.

Bass is topmost among preferred game fish and steps must be taken for their welfare.

  • There are organized tournaments and bass fishing expeditions. The most well-known of these is the Bassmaster Tournament which draws in participants from different regions. Most tournaments conduct their activities with great commitment to the conservation of bass and their habitat. Many of these events have limits in place on the number of basses that one can fish. Some even entail releasing bass into waters after catching.
  • Boats are equipped with systems to keep bass alive when fishing while looking for bigger specimens. When folks are seriously into bass fishing, they tend to move along the river flow for long periods of time. When they are lucky to get better and bigger specimens, sometimes previously caught fish are released back. Till such time, their boats need to have systems in place to keep captured fish in good shape.
  • Different types of bass populate different waters and climes. Know exactly what kind of bass are found in surrounding rivers around your chosen site before you embark upon your expedition.
  • Responsible disposal of plastic items is vital to nature conservation. Bass tend to prefer clearer habitats and this must be ensured for a better experience. Only if the environment is taken care of will the fishing thrive.

The Distinguishing features of Bass Fishes

Like every other creature, there are so many different species of bass as to confuse anyone at all.

This mind-boggling range can make identification a challenge.

However, the best anglers who are into bass fishing as a hobby or profession take this very seriously.

While some features are common to bass, others help distinguish one from another.

Following is a list of features that occur in various bass fishes.

A combination of two or more of these features helps to identify recognized species.

  • Mostly silvery-white in color. However, many basses can be olive, dark green, or brown in color with a light-colored belly.
  • Basses are spiny fish with pelvic, dorsal, and anal fins.
  • Their dorsal fins are usually connected.
  • Some bass fish are known for tooth patches on their tongue.
  • Many bass fish have marks on their bodies, like blotches, spots, and lateral lines.
  • Mostly a defined lower jaw that extends beyond the upper jaw, especially in largemouth bass.

How can you ensure a successful haul of bass?

Anglers worldwide swear by bass.

The sheer variety of bass fish makes the experience interesting and challenging, whether one is after big bass that sometimes set records or smaller varieties that are as bass as any other.

1) Decide exactly what kind of bass you are after

As many as there are varieties of bass, so are your choices.

Saltwater or freshwater, size of game fish, whether you will release them after catching.

Redeye, largemouth, sea bass, spotted bass, your choices are endless. Decide before you get going.

2) Get the right equipment

Again, depending upon your preferred bass and other fish, pick the right equipment.

From your sinker to your tackle line to the spinning reels designed specifically for bass and, boat to storage, everything should be chosen with care.

Where will you find that bass you are looking for?

As can be seen, bass can be found in freshwater aquatic bodies like lakes and ponds.

They also frequent shallow rivers and those with rocky bottom layers.

Depending upon your choice of bass, you need to research where those are in abundance.

1) Keep an open mind

Just because you have been frequenting a particular stretch of river or lake over time does not mean you have to stick to that.

Fish move from one habitat to another for different reasons.

Seasons also dictate their movement and availability.

Keep your options open when you head outdoors.

2) Choose your bait and lure

Again, your choice of bait will be dictated by the type and size of fish you wish to catch.

Choose among minnow and shad for baitfish.

Bass is known for their preference for these.

Lures like silvery swimbait or a drop shot rig also bring in big bass.

3) Monitor the weather

Fishing is an outdoor activity. You need to be sure of the weather before embarking upon your expedition.

More importantly, the bass is sensitive to weather changes.

Bass behavior is different on overcast days as compared to sunny days.

When you are a veteran in this activity, you already know about this aspect of bass fishing.

For those starting out, this is part of the process of getting ready for bass.

4) Check water temperature

Along with other factors, the temperature of the water also dictates the type of bass you will get.

This is because feeding habits change with water temperature.

Check out water temperature to determine where fish might be more abundant.

5) Get tech-savvy

Technology is everywhere now. Maximize your fishing experience using technology.

This ranges from weather predictions to using fishing apps for more accurate information.

Use websites online to purchase the best gear for yourself as well like the jerkbait rods for bass and other useful gears.

You need to be turned out appropriately in order to be comfortable for long hours outdoors.

6) Make your own checklist

It is going to be a long day outdoors. Are you sure you have everything you need for the day? Packing in all supplies for fishing is great. You yourself will need water, snacks, sun, and rain protection gear.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What types of bass are there?

There are many types of bass fish found in different habitats. Some appear in freshwater lakes. Other separate species are found in saltwater bodies. Largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, Guadalupe, shoal and Redeye are different types of bass.

What are the 3 types of bass fish?

True bass is of many types. Three prominent ones among them are largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass.

What is the best type of bass fish?

The largemouth bass is the most popular bass fish. Recreational fishing is a multi billion dollar industry in itself. So popular is this activity that there are boats designed specifically for this purpose.

Are there different types of largemouth bass?

There are two distinct species of largemouth bass. These are the northern largemouth aka bass Micropterus salmoides salmoides, and Florida largemouth aka Micropterus salmoides floridanus.