Identifying the distinct species of bass you’re after will help you become a more competent angler and expert, and such knowledge is indispensable with bass fishing. It will help in improving the approach and increasing the chances of catching one specific species.
For spotted and largemouth bass, or even one of the other sub-species, it can be challenging to know what to look for.
In our guide, you can learn what you need to know about the difference between largemouth and spotted bass.
By the end, you’ll know more about both fish and how you can use the knowledge not just to spot the fish but tell the difference between spotted bass and largemouth bass. (Find the Best Fish Finders)
Are Spotted Bass and Largemouth bass the Same?
Two of the most popular freshwater game fish are spotted bass and largemouth bass. Not only do the two species share the same waters, but if you don’t know what to look for, they’re remarkably similar.
Because fishing restrictions for the two fish vary from state to state, telling Spotted Bass from Largemouth Bass is critical.
Here you can find some differences between black bass vs largemouth bass and also spotted bass.
The jaw of a spotted bass differs from that of largemouth bass simply.
When the largemouth’s upper jaw is closed, it reaches past the rear margin of the chamber in the skull where the eye is placed; this is not the case with the spotted bass.
A small rough patch in the center of the tongue has a rectangular shape with the spotted bass tongue. The tongue of the largemouth bass is relatively smoother and does not have a rough patch.
Often, people confuse the pigmentation of a bass tongue with smoothness and coarseness.
This trait is by far the most straightforward to distinguish one fish from another. A largemouth bass’ cheek scales are the same size as the scales on the rest of its body.
The cheek scales on a spotted bass are much smaller than the scales on the rest of their body.
Except for largemouth bass, all black bass, including spotted bass, have scales on the bottom of the second dorsal fin. The spotted bass’s first and second dorsal fins are joined, and the connection is clearly visible. You can see the largemouth bass dorsal fins are totally or nearly wholly separated. (Read What Does Snapper Taste Like)
A largemouth bass’ stomach tend to be plain and white, whereas a spotted bass’ stomach contains markings that comprise dark lines of spots.
Behavior and Traits
Aside from visual differences, some differences in behavior, habitat and characteristics easily distinguish a spotted bass from the largemouth bass.
Generally, a spotted bass does not grow as large as largemouth bass.
When caught in a fishing hook, a spotted bass dives deep into the river vegetation and acts like a smallmouth bass on the line. A largemouth bass jumps and rushes to the surface from the underwater vegetation, where the largemouth bass tend to hang out most of the time.
The largemouth bass is less likely to establish a school than spotted bass.
While there are rare exceptions, the color of spotted bass is often superior to that of largemouth bass.
Can Largemouth and Spotted Bass Breed?
These two bass species are both black bass. They have a lot of color and lateral lines in common when you compare spotted bass vs largemouth.
Bass adapt to fit the demands of their new surroundings, and bass that make their way into certain waters won’t live as ones you find in the Great Lakes. Because of this, there are more subspecies of bass than you can name, and hence, there is a lot of breeding between such bass species.
Spotted Bass Sub-Species
To help you know what to look for, there are three key subspecies:
- Northern Spotted Bass
- Alabama Spotted Bass
- Wichita Spotted Bass
- Kentucky Bass (slow-moving in river vegetation)
The names of these species offer you a general sense of where you’ll find them and why they’ve adapted to their new environment. The Northern spotted bass is the oldest species, and as they moved south, many an angler has spotted modifications in their new habitat. (Read Tips For Deep Sea Fishing)
All three types of these fish can be found throughout the United States, down to the Gulf States.
Because there are just two largemouth subspecies, they are a little easier to distinguish. The Northern Largemouth Bass and the Florida Largemouth Bass are two species of largemouth bass.
The Florida largemouth has smaller scales than the typical largemouth, and it grows faster because of its habitat in warm waters and nationwide stocking operations.
You’ll often see northern largemouth, and these are your standard largemouth bass that should suit the standard description.
How Do You Identify Spotted Bass?
Differences between the spotted bass and the largemouth bass are slight. As you examine the fish from head to tail, you’ll notice some of these distinguishing features.
The jaw is one of the most noticeable differences between a spotted bass and a largemouth bass. The top and bottom jaws of spotted bass are nearly identical in length. Largemouth bass has a jaw that will extend past the eye on top and further out on the bottom.
The tongue is another significant difference that you may overlook at first. On the tongue, largemouth bass is smooth all the way across. On the tongue of spotted bass, there is a rough patch in the center. You can tell the difference with a glance in the mouth.
The dorsal fin is the fin that sits on top of the fish’s spine. The dorsal fin of largemouth bass is solid and does not taper down the back of the fish. Spotted bass has a split dorsal fin. A front portion and a back portion will be visible. They’re spread out and cover a bigger area of the fish’s spine. (Learn How Does A Fish Finder Transducer Work)
The stomach markings are one of the most reliable methods to detect the difference between a spotted bass and a largemouth bass. Spotted bass has dark-colored lines and dots that run laterally. They begin on the fish’s side and continue down to its belly. On the bottom, they have very little white. The white belly of a largemouth bass expands out somewhat.
Last but not least, there are the scales. On the cheeks of the fish, there are differences in scales. The scales on a largemouth bass are uniformly sized from head to tail. The size of the cheek scales does not vary. The check scales on spotted bass are smaller than the scales on the body.
The battle between spotted bass and largemouth bass fishing might last all day if you pay attention to every aspect. Some things you’ll notice right away, while others you won’t see when you compare spotted bass vs largemouth.
Can You Eat Spotted Bass?
Freshwater bass spotted or other species are safe to eat. However, most anglers catch spotted bass; largemouth spotted bass for sport.
If you’re looking for a nice fish dish, you shouldn’t avoid freshwater bass.
Freshwater bass is not fashionable, which is why most people don’t eat it. Freshwater bass is one of the most popular freshwater sport fish, and most anglers think they should only be caught and released.
Although some anglers follow catch-and-release, you can always keep one meal from each trip. Not only will this boost your self-esteem, but it will also provide an opportunity for your family and loved ones to experience a home-cooked meal that is unlike anything you could buy in a store.
Spotted bass vs largemouth bass, or other species like other white-meat fish, is typically a healthy fish to eat. Bass meat is high in protein and low in fat, making the bass a healthy option to eat.
Tackle for both spotted bass vs largemouth bass is similar.
Rod and Reel
Bass rods with light to medium action work well with both, while baitcasting rods provide more precise casts, which may be necessary for flowing water where smallmouth live.
Beginners will get more mileage and enjoyment from spinning rods when targeting either species. This is because of a less precise and shorter casting mechanism. Using the correct reel for the rod will also make.
Anglers should use pound test lines between six to ten but shouldn’t stress over line selection. A braided line may be too heavy for bass fishing, especially in the spring and summer when fish are most active.
Because of its near-invisibility, fluorocarbon line is the most commonly recommended.
Baits & Lures
Because of their similar diets, both species will be attracted by a wide fish of lures. Bass anglers have success with soft plastic worms and jigs on their hook and minnow, and crayfish imitation lures.
Spinning Reels and Rods
If you don’t mind the length and use small plastic worms and fish to lure largemouth bass, a 6-foot spinning rod with fast action will do.
Largemouth bass fishing generally requires a lot of casts, so high gear ratio fishing gear is recommended.
Conventional Reels and Rods
For longer casts, use a reel with a higher gear ratio. Using conventional reels and rods to catch larger fish, use a traditional medium reel with a 10–12-pound test line to avoid breaking.
Largemouth bass can be caught on a fly rod with the same 8-9 weight fly rod used for redfish. The heavier the rod, the bigger the fish, while a shorter rod allows a more accurate cast.