John's Journal...

Good Tactics for Bad Spotted Bass

Spotting the Spotted Bass

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: The spot likes clear water and deep, rocky structure and loves to fight. He is delicious to eat but tough to catch because he is the baddest bass in the bassing business. Here we learn how to spot a spotted bass.

Although not officially identified by scientists until 1927, the spotted Click to enlargebass (Micropterus punctulatus) had long been recognized by fishermen on the Ohio River as a separate species in the black-bass family. Today the spotted bass is found in the Mississippi/Ohio drainage systems and east to Florida and West to Oklahama, Texas and Kansas. Too, spots successfully have been stocked in some western states. The world’s record on 6-pound line for spots today is tied with each weighing 9-pounds, 4-ounces. These two spots were taken in 1987 within months of each other at Lake Perris about 60-miles southwest of Los Angeles, California. Spotted bass were stocked into this lake when it first was inundated in 1974. But the overall record is 10-pounds, 4-ounces taken from Pine Flat Lake in California in 2001.

One of the nation’s leading spotted bass authorities, recently retired Dr. John Ramsay of the Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Auburn University in Auburn, AlabamaClick to enlarge, explains, “One of the easiest characteristics for the angler to use in distinguishing the spotted bass from the largemouth is the teeth in the center of the spot’s tongue. Although from time to time a fisherman may see a largemouth with teeth on its tongue, the largemouth usually has softer teeth. Also a largemouth’s teeth will be arranged in a line along the tongue rather than in a patch in the center of the tongue. You can be 90 percent sure if you catch a bass with a round patch of hard teeth in the center of its tongue that it is a spotted bass. This characteristic is one of the most distinguishing aspects of this particuClick to enlargelar fish.” Other differences in the spotted bass and the largemouth include the spotted bass having a mouth that does not extend beyond the eye. Too, the spotted bass has spotting below the lateral line – a characteristic neither the smallmouth nor the largemouth have.

Dr. Ramsay explains too that, “One of the reasons the South produces so-many big spotted bass appears to be genetics. The southern spots seem to be able to convert their food better than the northern spots do. They also have better habitat and environment than the northern fish do.” Four world’s records spotted bass have been caught at Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama with the latest weighing 8-pounds, 15-ounces, taken by Phillip C. Terry, Jr., of Decatur, Alabama, in 1978. When asked why this one lake produced so many large spots, once again Dr. Ramsay cited the genetic factor plus the fact that Smith Lake contains ideal habitat for the spot. “The spotted bass likes clear water and plenty of rocky or hard substrate. All these elements come together at Lewis Smith Lake in Central Alabama.”

Tomorrow: Locating Spotted Bass

Check back each day this week for more about " Good Tactics for Bad Spotted Bass"

Day 1: The Creation of the Bad Spotted Bass
Day 2: Spotting the Spotted Bass
Day 3: Locating Spotted Bass
Day 4: Catching Spotted Bass
Day 5: Taking Deep Spotted Bass


Entry 360, Day 2