Spotted Bass vs Largemouth is a misnomer since both species of fish are technically one species of fish—Black Bass. Despite that fact, they both have their own, individual characteristics and physical features that set them apart.
If this is your first foray into the world of freshwater fishing, it’s easy to confuse bass, especially with several species of black bass, striped bass, and smallmouth bass. What makes it worse, is spotted bass and Largemouth bass share as many similarities as they do differences.
Fortunately, both bass species separate themselves through their behavior, along with a few, key differences that should catch your eye.
Spotted Bass vs Largemouth
One of the more irritating aspects of Spotted Bass and Largemouth Bass is that you can’t separate them by territory. Both Spotted and Largemouth bass are found in the central and eastern United States.
They’ve both been transported and stocked in lakes and reservoirs all over the country, however. Wherever you go nowadays, you’re liable to find Spotted and Largemouth bass in the same places.
One similarity between both of them that is more than satisfying is the taste. Both species of Black Bass are delicious to eat. Both of them are similar in size when it comes to averages, though Largemouth Bass have more extensive growth potential.
There are a lot of key differences between the two fish, however, most of them are so subtle it’s easy to gloss over on physical observation. Behavior, how they socialize, the best season for catching them, and more are differences that don’t apply to physical characteristics.
Largemouth Bass are largely solitary creatures, preferring to come together only when it’s time to spawn. Largemouth bass also has the unique habit of swimming all out for the surface when you hook them, something Spotted Bass definitely try to avoid.
That’s one way to immediately know you have a Largemouth on the hook and not a Spotted. Also, Spotted Bass tend to travel in schools far more often, and they like to hide around underwater structures. Largemouth prefers to use vegetation to hide in.
While you can catch Largemouth bass during the fall, winter, and early spring, the best time to catch them is when the water is warm, especially during the late spring and early summer months.
Bass are all out directly after the spawn, and you’ll find much more success catching them.
You can hook a Spotted Bass at any point throughout the year. While the Fall months are supposed to be the best, your luck won’t slack off too much in the Summer, Spring, and Winter.
Upon careful observation, one of the first things you will notice is the slight differences in their jaws. A Spotted Bass has a shorter upper jaw than a Largemouth’s. When it comes to dorsal fins, the Largemouth Bass has a distinctive notch, nearly or entirely separating the fin.
A Spotted Bass may have a bit of a notch, but it will always look like a whole dorsal fin.
Spotted Bass also have smaller cheek scales than those on a Largemouth, however, this is something you will have to look hard at to see.
Patterns may not make an impression at first glance, but a second look reveals a lot. There are no prominent spots on the bottom half of a Largemouth Bass, while Spotted Bass earned their names from those spots and they’re easily visible.
Techniques for Fishing Each
Though there are enough similarities between the two fish to merit a comparison, they also share similarities when fishing for them. Both will go for a wide variety of baits and lures. They both put up a heck of a fight on the hook as well and both are great for eating.
They travel in schools and have a preference for clearer water and man-made or rocky, underwater structures. Focus on rocky banks and bring along a fish finder that can map the sea floor. Topwater poppers work great after spawn season while dragging a heavier jig between 20’ and 30’ works well when they’re in deeper water.
Largemouth prefer murkier water and vegetation and they love jerkbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and rubber worms. Live minnows and crawfish work great as well. Largemouth are shallow swimmers, whether it’s during the spawn or not. But you will find them closer to shore during the spawn.
For new anglers, especially freshwater fishing, the difference between Largemouth Bass and Spotted Bass is not immediately obvious. Dig down a little bit, learn their habits, and closely observe their physical traits, and you will find two very different fish.
Many of the things they have in common make them both fun to catch. Though Spotted Bass won’t breach the surface as soon as you set the hook, they are still terrific fighters. Largemouth breach the surface like a rocket, immediately giving away their identification.
Also, both fish are delicious, which makes sense with both of them falling under the same, Black Bass species. Whether you have a Spotted Bass on the hook or a Largemouth, it’s bound to be fun, and dinner will be even better.
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