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The Smallmouth Bass Quiz

What is the difference between an average smallmouth bass fisher and an excellent smallmouth bass fisher? If you know the answers to these simple questions, you are an excellent smallmouth bass fisher. If not, read the articles above to become an excellent smallmouth bass fisher. If you still cannot find the answer, do not worry. Next months newsletter will have the answers to these questions.

  1. Q: What are some of the main differences between smallmouth bass and largemouth bass?
  2. Q: What is the general rule when dealing what smallmouth bass eat?
  3. Q: How can smallmouth bass be easily overfished?
  4. Q: Where does a smallmouth bass’ jaw extend to?
  5. Q: Where can you find smallmouth bass in a natural lake in the fall and winter?
  6. Q: Where can you find smallmouth bass in rivers during the early spring through to spawning season?
  7. Q: What temperature do smallmouth bass spawn at?
  8. Q: TRUE/FALSE: Spinner baits are NOT a dynamic shallow water lure for smallmouth bass.
  9. Q: Why is fly fishing for smallmouth bass so effective?
  10. Q: When do inline spinners work well for catching smallmouth bass?

Quiz Anwers: Largemouth

If you still have not answered the questions from last month’s largemouth bass profile newsletter, here they are:

  1. Q: Why has largemouth bass fishing been prohibited in some states during spawning season?
    A: Males strike at anything and since the males of the species protect the nest, thye should not be fished.
  2. Q: What two subspecies are there of largemouth bass?
    A: Florida and Northern
  3. Q: What is the difference between these two subspecies of largemouth bass?
    A: Flordia have smaller scales for their body size and grow a lot faster.
  4. Q: Where can you find largemouth bass in a man-made lake during the early fall?
    A: Backends of creek arms
  5. Q: When are topwater lures most effective?
    A: When the surface of the water is calm and the water temperature is higher than 60F early and late in the day or at night.
  6. Q: What are the four types of subsurface plugs used in largemouth bass fishing?
    A: Crankbaits, minnowbaits, trolling plugs and vibrating plugs.
  7. Q: What effects the performance of a spinnerbait?
    A: The type of blades and how many blades there are on the spinnerbait.
  8. Q: What two problems do bass on shallow structure pose for fishers?
    A: Fish are often scattered and easily spooked, especially in clear waters.
  9. Q: What is the most effective way to catch largemouth bass in deep weeds?
    A: Find the weedline.
  10. Q: What kind of rod and line is required for fishing largemouth bass with soft plasitc worms?
    A: A stiff rod and a low stretch line.

Knowing your smallmouth bass

Largemouth bass put on a good show for leaps and fight aggressively. Smallmouth leap more than and fight even harder than their larger cousin making them one of the most popular fish to fish for. Smallmouth will always head straight to the surface when it feels the hooks, exploding out of the water shaking its head fiercely to throw off the bait.

Smallmouths are greenish to bronze in color which explains where their common name of bronzeback came from. Their jaw extends to the middle of the eye and the eye is often reddish in color. They usually have vertical dark bars or diamond patterns on the sides but these marks usually fade in and out. There are also dark bars on the cheeks. These bass will change color to match their surroundings.

Smallmouth bass are a cousin to largemouth bass but even so, the species differ in a lot of ways. Smallmouth bass prefer cooler water ranging from 67º to 72ºF. Smallmouth bass will spawn in waters from the upper 50s to lower 60s. Even though smallmouth bass spawn in cooler water, they might deposit their eggs later than there larger cousins. This is because the weedy shallow bays that largemouth use to spawn in warm faster in the spring than the rocky deeper sites preferred by the smallmouth.

The male smallmouth bass will select a spawning site on the rocky or sandy bottom in a protected area often times close to a boulder or log. He will fan silt from the site than allow the female in to deposit her eggs. After the spawning finishes, the make will stay behind to guard the eggs and fry.

There are two recognized subspecies of smallmouth bass, the Northern smallmouth and the Neosho smallmouth. The Northern smallmouths are the more common of the two since the Neosho smallmouth have been rendered almost extinct because of construction of dams on its native waters. Either subspecies are aggressive fighters especially if there are a lot of fish in one area. It is commonplace to see two or three smallmouths go after another fish that has all ready been hooked to try and steal the lure. Generally the smaller the fish, the more aggressive they are.

Even though smallmouth and largemouth will be in the same waters, smallmouth will swim deeper and will be less likely found in dense weedy cover. Smallmouth bass prefer a rocky bottom to later provide spawning habitat. Cool Northern lakes have the largest populations but the bigger fish are usually found in deep southern reservoirs. Smallmouth will spend most of their lives in water ranging from five to 15 feet deep lurking in the shallows because most of their food is there and their eyes are just as light-sensitive as their larger cousins.

Smallmouth bass have well defined territories. Once you find a prime location for them, you will only have to change angling techniques to catch them. You will not have to go far to find smallmouth again. When fishing them the baits do not have to look like anything in particular since smallmouths are such willing biters. All it takes to attract them is a bit of commotion so topwater lures work very well.

Crayfish are a smallmouth bass’ favorite food but they will also eat leeches, night crawlers, hellgrammites, minnows, frogs, tadpoles, small fish, worms, and insects in both immature and adult forms. Usually they prefer smaller food items than largemouth but there are times when they will grab bigger baits.

In the North smallmouth bass can live as long as 18 years but rarely live half that long in the South. The smallmouth bass in the South grow much faster than the smallmouth bass in the North though. In the North it takes eight years for a smallmouth to reach three pounds but in the South it only takes four years to reach three pounds. Smallmouth will never reach the size of largemouth bass. Five pounds is considered a trophy fish in most water even though some fish that have been caught have been seven to eight pounds.