Fishing - Knowledge

Freshwater Bass Fish - The Tournament Fish Worth Millions of Dollars

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You might have heard and read about the craze surrounding ‘Freshwater Bass fishing’. You probably have even met some Pro-Anglers who claim to have made tons of money catching bass fish in tournaments. Just like every other new enthusiastic angler, you too would want to try your luck trying to catch this prized freshwater bass fish. To get started, you have to ask yourself if you’re aware of what bass fish is or how many types of bass are there, where can they be found and what are the popular methods to catch them. Read on to find the answers.

Bass is one of the most common types of game fish that refers to marine as well as freshwater species. You may be aware of the fact that bass fishing is one of America’s most enjoyed sports because it can be found almost all around the country and is an exciting activity. What makes it so exciting is that bass fish are aggressive and can be as big as 20 lbs.

When you start with bass fishing, some of the common lures or bass baits that you can use include top-water baits (frogs and poppers), crank-baits, and soft-plastics (plastic tubes, worms, or creature baits). Don’t worry about where to go bass fishing or owning a bass boat. You can find big bass even in rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds.

So, how much do you really know about bass fish and their fishing techniques?

Let’s find out.

Let’s Get To Know the Bass Fish

Want to know what are the types of freshwater bass fish? The different types of bass fish include the Black basses, Asian Seabasses, and Temperate basses. The most common statement that you’ll hear about freshwater bass is, “look for the one with the large mouth”. However, there is more to the bass than just a large mouth.

In fact, some freshwater bass don’t even have a large mouth. Basically, a freshwater bass is a common term for the type of bass fish that are popular among American anglers. Some of them are known for their large mouths, while some others are known for spots on their bodies. To help you out, here are the different types of freshwater bass fish that you may come across while fishing.

Two Main Types of Freshwater Bass Fish

Two types of bass rule the freshwater! Read further and enlighten all about the freshwater bass fish.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass Fish
Largemouth bass Source

It is an olive-green and grey-colored fish, which can gain a weight of up to 25 pounds. This is the one that gave freshwater basses the stereotype of having a large mouth. Largemouth Bass is probably one of the most sought-after fish in the North American continent.

These fishes are mainly known for their aggressive nature of hitting the bait and trying to take it away with force. As a result, they end up easily alerting the anglers of their presence. However, they don’t hit the same bait twice, hence if you didn’t manage to catch it the first time, then you’ll have to try with a new bait or move to a different spot!

Mostly, lures like plastic worms, jigs, and crankbaits are used to draw the largemouth bass. Some anglers also use live baits like minnows, earthworms, and crayfish. Largemouth Bass is found all across the United States of America and is the state fish of Georgia, Mississippi, and Indiana. It is also the state freshwater fish of Florida and Alabama. Apart from that, largemouth bass is the state sports fish of Tennessee.

Smallmouth Bass

small mouth bass fish

Here is the fish that doesn’t fit into the stereotype of possessing a large mouth! The smallmouth bass is probably the second most sought-after game fish after the largemouth bass. It is known to gain a maximum weight of up to 12 pounds and is also called as the brown bass, bronze bass, bareback bass, smallie, bronze back, and brownie.

The smallmouth bass is probably the second most sought-after game fish after the largemouth bass. It is known to gain a maximum weight of up to 12 pounds. Unlike the largemouth, which is known to hit the bait aggressively, the smallmouth bass is rather tricky and you may have to play a long waiting game to catch this fish. However, despite their small size they’re known to put up a great struggle once they are caught.

This fish is mostly caught by using artificial baits or lures like crank baits, jigs, artificial worms, and spinner baits. As mentioned before it is found in a lot of places in North America. Water bodies like the Mississippi River, Saint Lawrence River, and The Great Lakes are the most common places to look for this bass.

Other Types of Freshwater Bass Fish

Wouldn’t you want to know about the other bass fish that you can target?

In addition to the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, there are some other types of bass fish as well. Though these fish aren’t that popular, they belong to the freshwater bass category. While some of these are under conservation and can’t be fished, some are so rare that you may never be able to find them! Here are some of the other freshwater basses that you may come across:

Choctaw Bass

Choctaw bass fish

They fall under the category of black bass and are the latest discovery in the freshwater bass. Since Choctaw bass has features similar to other black basses, they are quite difficult to differentiate. It often gets mistaken for the smallmouth bass, but it can be distinguished by counting the fin rays, scales and observing its gill rakers. These fishes are mostly found near the coastlines, stagnant streamlines. However, you can’t go fishing for the Choctaw Bass as it’s a newly discovered fish and has been kept under conservation.

Guadalupe Bass

Guadalupe Bass Fish

If you want a challenge, then you should look for the Guadalupe Bass. Listed as one of the ‘near threatened’ species, it’s considered to be one of the rarest of fresh water basses. The fish is known for staying in spots that have strong currents. Guadalupe Basses are mostly caught using artificial baits or lures like jigs, crankbaits, or spinner baits. Bobbers as well are proven to be effective when fishing for this bass.

Guadalupe Bass are great fighters too, once it bites the bait, get ready for a long and tough struggle. They are somewhat olive-green-colored and have circular or diamond-shaped spots. The green color extends much lower on its body when compared to its counterparts. However, these are not very easily distinguishable from the spotted bass or smallmouth bass.

Spotted Bass

freshwater bass, spotted bass
Spotted bass Source

This fish is known for its spots and is also called as Spots or Spotty. The Spotted Bass is often mistaken for largemouth bass because of its appearance; while actually, it possesses a smaller mouth when compared to the largemouth bass. Apart from that, it is also much smaller than the largemouth bass. Since its diet mainly consists of insects, crustaceans, frogs, annelid worms, and smaller fish, these are often used as live bait to draw out the Spotted Bass.

Artificial lures like crank baits, bobbers, and jigs are also used by anglers to fish for this bass. The Spotted Bass mostly prefers warm, cool mountain waters with rocky beds and more current. They can be commonly found in the Ohio River basin and lower Mississippi River basin.

Bass Fishing Tournaments

Freshwater Bass Fish Tournament
Bassmaster Trail Tournament Source

What makes the smallmouth and largemouth bass the most popular game fishes in the United States of America are the many bass fishing tournaments held around the year. One such tournament is the ‘Bassmaster Trail Tournament’, which is organized by the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS). The tournament comprises 12 events including the Bassmaster Classic, which alone offers a prize of $500,000 to the winner.

The Bassmaster Classic takes place over three days and the strict rules promote catch-and-release. The fish must measure at least 12 inches, and there is even a penalty if the fish is dead at the time of weigh-in. The tournament progresses to the second day with eliminations and only 25 top anglers, based on total weight, advance to the third day. The winner is decided by the highest total weight after three days.

Pro anglers take part in these events just like Golf Pros do in the Masters Golf tournaments, travelling from state to state with the top anglers making millions in prize money and sponsorship. These events are a full television spectacle with ESPN having purchased the rights and giving it a ‘Classics’ profile with live broadcast and commentary by experts.

Also Read: Find all about Baitcaster Rod and Reel

Freshwater Bass Fishing Tips

So you want to become a Pro-Angler? The road to becoming a Pro-Angler takes a lot of dedication, hardwork and acquiring immense knowledge about the freshwater bass fish and the water bodies in different states of the US.

When going for bass fishing, it is important to know some of the tips and techniques to find a good catch. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • As mentioned earlier, the common baits/lures to be used include top-water baits (frogs and poppers), crankbaits, and soft plastics (plastic tubes, worms, or creature baits). However, carry baits according to the season in order to adhere to what the fishes prefer during different times of the year.
  • Use the Drop Shot technique for effective bass fishing. In this technique, a small plastic lure is attached above the weight using a drop-knot. It is then dropped down or cast out and moved up and down before allowing it to rest.
  • Use a Texas Rig, which is considered as one of the most effective types of rigs in bass fishing. Make sure the hooks are sharp enough because you’ll be aiming at the bone, strong jaws that bass fish possess.
  • Keep those shredded worms and baits for your next catch as bass fish are attracted towards wounded prey. Use those torn, wounded baits the next time you go bass fishing, especially in shallow waters. Alternatively, you can trick the bass into falling for pink/red-colored bait and red hooks.
  • Face the wind when fishing bass because the bass are known to swim with the current, and they’ll find the bait before even finding your boat.
  • If you’re keen on taking back home at least one fish with you, keep in mind that it’s best to try before the storm. The reason is that bass fish tend to get more active under pressure and are likely to bite.
  • Bass fishing will require you to try from different angles until you finally get a bite. So, don’t give up easily and keep tapping and bugging the fish till it’s forced to bite.

Now that you know all about the different types of freshwater bass fish and techniques for fishing them, be game to catch this game fish! With these smart tips, you’re sure to be able to find your best catch and ace the activity. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up your fishing gear and start casting!

We would love to hear about your experience and the type of freshwater bass fish you managed to catch.

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