Freshwater fishing often takes a backseat to saltwater fishing, in terms of variety and sport. It’s an unfair comparison because there is a wide variety of fish in freshwater environments as well. Take trout and bass, for example. Both are tasty, and both provide anglers with plenty of challenges.
Of course, bass are generally bigger and put up more of a fight, while trout are more evasive, sneaky, and difficult to hook. It’s one thing to have a blast fighting a strong bass and quite another to stare at the still water, bored and luckless on a day of trout fishing.
So each presents its own challenges, and each has a lesson or two to teach to young anglers. There is truly no comparing the two, as they are vastly different from one another. But, we’re going to do it anyway because the bass vs trout debate is all in good fun.
Bass vs. Trout
Differences between Bass and Trout
It’s not difficult to list the differences between these two, but it is lengthy. They’re not similar in any respect. Trout are usually the smaller of the two, though some can grow up to seven, possibly eight pounds. But fishing for them is where the big differences lie.
While some may argue that bass taste better, any seafood chef worth their salt will laugh at the suggestion. Bass are good but not as good as trout on any given day.
- Lighter hooks are required for trout
- Prefer water temperatures of 35 degrees to 70 degrees
- Bonier than bass
- Catching trout is tougher because they are more elusive
- Late spring is the best for trout fishing
- Bass put up more of a fight than trout
- Requires better skills to catch
- Tastes better than bass
There is no doubting the fact that bass is the quintessential freshwater fish. If you could put a face on fishing (well, a fish face anyway), it would almost always be a bass. While they lack the ninja skills of the elusive trout, bass are far more warrior-esque when fighting the hook.
- Bass aren’t as elusive as trout
- A bass will put up a much stronger fight than trout
- Spring and fall are the best seasons for bass fishing
- They prefer temperatures of 55 degrees to 70 degrees
- Not as bony as trout
- Good but not as tasty as trout
How to Identify Each
The main points to take away are the trout’s sleeker, more streamlined appearance (regardless of type) versus the wider, vertical bodies of small and largemouth bass, along with their much larger fins.
Bass also have longer lower jaws that travel beyond the tip of their top jaws. Trout have rounder heads with smaller, evenly displaced mouths. They have much smaller fins, both their top and dorsal. Trout are usually covered in spots as well, regardless of type.
While smallmouth bass and largemouth bass are distinct in comparison to each other, both are instantly recognizable as bass. Largemouth are grey/green and typically have black patches across their bodies. Smallmouth bass are brown/green with yellow underbellies and usually have lines/stripes running the length of their bodies.
The size of a smallmouth bass is between twelve and eighteen inches, and they weigh between one and four pounds. Largemouth bass are anywhere between 12 inches and 32 inches and weigh from just under a pound to twenty-plus pounds.
Trout are all over the place, in terms of weight and size, mostly because there are many types of trout. They can weigh as little as half a pound up to eight-plus pounds at twenty-eight inches long.
Habitat and Eating Habits of Each
Trout love crustaceans, small enough to stuff in the gobblers, of course, along with worms, various leeches, and a large variety of insects that spend a lot of time on the water. They prefer cooler water that’s fast-flowing, perhaps because they are part of the salmon family.
Largemouth bass eat other, smaller fish and just about anything else that crosses its path, as long as it’s smaller. Smallmouth bass are roughly the same, eating bluegill, crappies, small snakes, crawfish, and other crustaceans.
One of the biggest differences between smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is their choice of living environment. Largemouth bass prefer large and open lakes, while smallmouth bass prefer the rivers—just not the kinds that flow fast.
Fishing Techniques for Each
Bass are easier to catch, though the fight may be a little more violent. Heavier tackle and larger hooks are better for bass, with braided line and minnows or shad for bait. Bass prefer the deeper waters in the heat of the summer and are most likely to bite in the fall or the spring.
Trout are picky, are easily spooked by rain and windy weather, and require lighter tackle with smaller hooks. Because of their elusive nature, fluorocarbon is the better line, since it’s nearly invisible and less likely to spook the trout.
Patience is the number one tool for anglers going after trout. Patience and minnows, flies, worms, and artificial baits. Trout are more likely to go after what you throw out there in the springtime.
What does Trout Taste like
Trout and bass are both tasty fish, however, trout are superior in this aspect simply because they are much cleaner fish that typically live in cleaner environments. Trout avoid bottom-feeding like the plague, while bass will happily gulp anything along the bottom if it fills their bellies.
Trout is best when grilled, though it is the bonier of the two fish. Trout is also sweeter than bass with softer flesh. The only fish that it’s comparable to is salmon.
Are bass good to eat
Bass are excellent to eat, especially if they are cooked as fresh as possible. If you happen to catch one that’s spent a little time bottom feeding, there will probably be a slightly fishy or marsh-like taste to it than usual.
They also have far fewer bones than trout, which is always good. Bass, like trout, are best when grilled, rather than fried.
There will be arguments over which is the better fish for time immemorial. Ultimately, the better fish comes down to the angler’s preference. Some anglers have a preference for the big fight, while others prefer the cat-and-mouse game of fishing for trout.
Some anglers prefer both. Honestly, why not have the best of both worlds?
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