|Smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu)|
A black bass is a type of fresh water fish. The black basses are found throughout a large area east of the Rocky Mountains in North America, from the Hudson Bay basin in Canada to northeastern Mexico. Several species, notably the Largemouth and Smallmouth have been very widely introduced throughout the world. Black bass of all species are highly sought-after game fish, and bass fishing is an extremely popular sport. These fish are well known as strong fighters, and taste good.
Description (by species)[change | change source]
- The Largemouth bass is a fish which generally has greenish to brownish sides with a dark line which goes from the head to the tail. It's the largest member of the sunfish family. The upper jaw of a largemouth bass extends back beyond the eye.
- The Smallmouth bass (also called the bronzeback, brownie, and smallie) is generally brown with red eyes. It has dark brown vertical bands, rather than a horizontal band along the side. There are 13–15 soft rays in the dorsal fin. The upper jaw of smallmouth bass extends to the middle of the eye.
- The Spotted bass (or Kentucky bass) resembles the largemouth bass in coloring, but has a smaller mouth. The upper jaw of spotted bass extends to the front of the eye.
Habitat[change | change source]
Black bass are found in running and still waters, with or without aquatic vegetation (plants that live in water). they need food and some form of cover. Generally, they can tolerate a wide range of water clarities and bottom types. Most prefer water temperatures from 20 to 30°C, and are often found at depths less than 20 feet. Smallmouth prefer clear water and usually like deeper water than Largemouth.
Feeding habits[change | change source]
The feeding habits of bass change with its size. Young fish mainly feed on microscopic animals (plankton). Fingerling bass eat insects and small fishes. Adult bass will eat whatever is available, including fish, crabs, frogs, salamanders, snakes, mice, turtles, and even birds.
Age and growth - Growth rates are highly variable with differences attributed mainly to their food supply and length of growing season. Female bass live longer than males and are much more likely to reach trophy size. By age two or three, females grow much faster than male bass. At five years of age females may be twice the weight of males. The oldest bass from Florida whose age has been determined by fisheries' biologists was 16 years of age.
Sporting qualities[change | change source]
The largemouth bass is a very popular fresh water game fish. Much of its popularity is due to its aggressive attitude and willingness to strike a bait with explosive force. They can be caught with almost every bait. The value of the largemouth as a sport fish has prompted a movement toward catch and release fishing.
Economic impact[change | change source]
Sport fishing for Black bass, particularly largemouth and smallmouth, has seen extraordinary growth in popularity. In Texas alone, fishermen spent $28 billion on equipment, licenses and fishing trips in 1996. That same year Texas sport fishing was responsible for creating 80,000 jobs and brought in over $180 million to the state in taxes. Many talented fishermen have turned the sport of bass fishing into a business by becoming a professional and competing in tournaments. Kevin VanDam is the top-rated money winner in professional bass fishing, having earned more than $5.6 million.