What does a smallmouth bass look like?

The smallmouth bass is one of the most popular game fish being sought out today. Anglers of all ages and skill levels fish for this species because they make any fishing trip fun and exciting. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, you can seek out the smallmouth bass. Many professionals fish for them in tournaments for cash and prizes but they’re an excellent species for the weekend fisherman as well.
This species is certainly a lot of fun to catch because they are so spirited. They will put up a great fight when hooked and they are even known for being able to jump into the air several times during the fight. This is an amazing feat for a game fish and it makes it difficult to hang onto to your rod so, be ready when you get one of these fish on the end of your hook.
Smallmouth bass are a wonderful treat for the dinner table, which is another reason why they are so popular with anglers. The white flaky meat is full of flavor. You won’t notice that grass-like taste that is often found in its cousin the largemouth bass. They also have lower oil content.
The smallmouth bass prefer crystal clear water with a gravel or rocky bottom but they can adapt to other types of water when necessary. They thrive in calm waters where the temperature averages between 66 and 72 degrees. This species will look for areas with lots of shade so fish around submerged logs, big drop offs, Islands, rocky points, stumps, grassy areas and any other underwater structure where they can hide out in search of food.
You will find that there are more bass lures sold today than for any other species so, you definitely have variety when it comes buying lures. The key to catching more fish is learning how to use them correctly. Your presentation is very important when seeking out this species because they won’t strike at anything that looks odd or out of place. Take time to practice your presentation and you’ll get the maximum effect from your lures and you’ll get more bites.
How to Identify a Smallmouth Bass
Now that you know a little about the smallmouth bass such as, where to find them and why they are a popular game fish, it’s time to learn how to identify one. They are part of the sunfish family and they live in all types of freshwater. They have a number of distinguishing features that make it easy to tell them apart from other species.
For example, they have a long but very thick body and a large but slightly forked tail. Smallmouth bass are usually a brown or olive green color on the back. This will fade to a golden color as it goes down the sides and then they are white on the belly. When smallmouth bass are young, they have vertical bars made up of spots on the sides and the base of the tail fin will be an orange color that has a mixture of black and white around the edges. These tend to fade as they age.
The pelvic fins are found near the front of its body just underneath the pectoral fins and they only have one spine each. There is only one spine on the anal fin as well. They have red eyes and the main thing that separates them from the largemouth bass is the jawbone. The jawbone extends to about the middle of the eyes instead of all the way behind the eyes. Therefore, they can’t open their mouths as wide, hence the name smallmouth.
More about the Smallmouth Bass
In most cases, lures will be just as effective as live bait so you can choose whichever suits your needs the best. Some anglers don’t mind using live bait while others prefer to not have to deal with the mess they can make or trying to keep them fresh and alive throughout the fishing trip. This species will naturally feed on Copepods, waterfleas and other small floating animals when they are young but as they grow, the diet will change. After they reach about a year old, they begin to feed on minnows, yellow perch, darters and crayfish but their diet is not limited to these foods.
The spawning season usually starts in middle May and last for about 6 weeks until the end of June. The perfect spawning temperature is around sixty degrees and this will be the main factor that determines when the spawning begins. The male will pick the spawning area, usually around sunken logs, rocks or gravel beds and then use its tail to get it ready for the female. The typical female will produce between 2,000, and 14,000 eggs per spawning. Once the eggs are laid the female leaves and the male protects them until they hatch, leave the nest and swim off to feed.

Dan Eggertsen is a fellow bass fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on bass fishing since 2004.

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