The Largemouth Bass fishing is a favourite here at BassFishing-gurus.com. It is also the most popular game fish in North America found abundantly in lakes and feeder streams and river in both Canada and the United States.
Above: Largemouth Bass in it's natural habitat.
The Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides), is commonly known to anglers as the black bass, bigmouth, green bass, green trout, Florida bass, Oswego bass, the southern largemouth and most affectionately as old bucketmouth. Not all of these names are accurate as other species use the same name Black Bass. Scientifically speaking, there are seven species that are a member of the Micropterus family.
M. cataractae - Shoal Bass
M. coosae - Redeye Bass
M. dolomieu - Smallmouth Bass
M. notius - Suwannee Bass
M. punctulatus - Spotted Bass
M. salmoides - Largemouth Bass
M. treculii - Guadalupe Bass
Anglers all over North America love the Largemouth for the incredible fight and explosive strikes that it provides at the end of a line. Full out-of-water leaps give the largemouth bass it's incredible reputation. If you have never fished for largemouth, we recommend giving it a try.
Above: Sport fishing tournament
The largemouth bass tops the BassFishing-Gurus.com list of game fish with salmon being a close second, but more on that later.
The Largemouth Bass is responsible for a large tourism industry in both Canada and the United States as well as many other countries where the largemouth has been introduced.
It also provides significant television revenue in the form of tournaments and various fishing television shows. The revenue generated from this fish alone is estimated into the billions. In Florida alone, Largemouth Bass fishing generates about US$3.4 billion annually, including the Florida Largemouth variety, which is a close cousin.
Rapid growth of the Largemouth Bass depends largely on environment, availability of food, predators and water temperature with water temperature being the single biggest factor in their growth rates. This is evident when we look at the size of largemouth bass in the north.
Above: 12-lbs Largemouth Bass
Above: 6-lbs Largemouth Bass
A six pound largemouth in the north is considered a trophy bass while a 12 pound plus largemouth bass is considered a trophy fish in Florida, where they can grow to 18 pounds.
The Largemouth Bass are found in marshes, swamps, ponds, reservoirs, creeks, large rivers and lakes, which provides them a huge distribution across North America. Due to there toleration for the cold, they are easily introduced all over the world. We will cover all these areas in the section Largemouth Bass distribution.
Largemouth bass, as the name implies, have a large mouth and a high ratio of fin surface to body size. At first glance, the largemouth bass appears identical to Smallmouth Bass, however, the mouth of the largemouth extends past the eye, which causes it to open further than the smallmouth. This large fin helps the fish fight aggressively and manoeuvre well.
Above: mouth of a Largemouth Bass
Above: mouth of a Smallmouth Bass
It has a robust body, less laterally compressed than the smallmouth bass with a large, long, head with a deep wide dorsal surface. It has a long, blunt snout, though it is not as deep as in smallmouth bass. It's jaw is wide and large, with the lower jaw slightly longer than the upper jaw. It has two joined dorsal fins, but separation more obvious than in smallmouth bass and the back and top of the head are bright green to olive and the sides are almost as dark in the largest fish to lighter green or golden green.
The sides of the largemouth's head are olive to golden green with some scattered black pigment and the underside is milk-white to yellow. The dorsal and caudal fins are opaque, green to olive and the anal and pelvic fins are green to olive with some white while the pectoral fins are amber and clear.
Those populations that are in clear, weedy water are darker and the black pigment is more obvious than those in darker, turbid water which are a pale green colour overall.
Above: the head is olive to golden green with some scattered black pigment.
Above: darker and black pigment is more obvious.
There are two subspecies of the largemouth bass and they are generally referred to as the northern largemouth and the Florida largemouth. There is very little difference in appearance between the two, however, the Florida largemouth tends to grow faster and larger.
The largemouth is a member of the sunfish family and differs only in size from a southern subspecies, the Florida largemouth bass. While it can live as long as 15 years, the average length of life is about ten years.
The northern largemouth has from approximately fifty-nine to sixty-eight scales in the lateral line, while the southern largemouth has approximately sixty-nine to seventy-three scales. They average about 13 inches in length and their size varies greatly. Those that are caught in northern latitudes are rarely caught exceeding five pounds. Those caught in southern latitudes can reach as much as 10 pounds. However, the average size caught is around 1.5 pounds.
In general, you could consider a five-pound largemouth to be a trophy fish in the north, whereas a 10-pound largemouth in the south would not be uncommon.