John's Journal...

Good Tactics for Bad Spotted Bass

Click to enlargeLocating Spotted Bass

Editor’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.

In the Deep South, the spot is found in most large reservoirs as well as in streams since spots prefer gravel bottoms and clear, spring-fed lakes. However in the West, the spotted bass is primarily a stream fish. Dr. John Ramsay, retired from the Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Auburn University, explains, “The spotted bass has not been stocked in that many western reservoirs. At other timeClick to enlarges and under other circumstances, the spotted bass would be competing with the smallmouth bass for food. The smallmouth may compete equally with the spot. If the stream or the reservoir has a good smallmouth population, they may out-compete the spot for food.”

When I asked Dr. Ramsay where an angler most likely would find the highest concentrations of spotted bass when fishing in a reservoir that contained both largemouth and spotted bass, he answered, “You should look for rocky structure. If the spotted bass is given a choice, it will go to the rocks quicker than any other type of structure in a lake. Of course a largemouth mClick to enlargeay be in the same place. But the spots prefer the rocks to every other kind of structure. Another feature of ideal spotted bass habitat besides rocks is current. The spot seems to like current better than the largemouth does. One of the best sites to find the spotted bass is on an underwater ledge. If I locate a ledge on my depth finder, I’ll work the entire vertical height of the ledge for spotted bass. A type of structure that is even harder to find but really provides ideal habitat for the spotted bass is a flat, rocky ledge which is usually very scarce in most reservoirs.”

In bass tournaments, many competition fishermen look for honey holes that will home largClick to enlargee schools of bass. But the schooling characteristics of the largemouth and the spotted bass seem to be quite different according to Ramsay. “The spotted bass may school when they are small, but the bigger spots don’t seem to exhibit the same schooling characteristics as largemouths. The spots may be localized on the same structure, and several spots may be using the same structure. But the fish will be there because the structure is there, not because the other fish are. Spots don’t travel together, but they do tend to hang around together.” If you catch more than one spot in the same area, you have not necessarily found a school of spotted bass. However, what you have located is good structure that tends to draw spotted bass to it.

Tomorrow: Catching 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 3