Black Bass Species Guide

Black_Bass_Species_Guide

While the smallmouth bass and largemouth bass are arguably the most widely dispersed and widely known black bass species, a tremendous diversity exists within the genus Micropterus. Most of the black bass species have limited geographic distributions.

Even if you catch bass regularly, you have probably come across very few black bass species. In this article, we will introduce the major types of black bass.

What You Need to Know to Identify Different Black Bass Species

To correctly distinguish between different types of black bass, you need to take note of the following characteristics after reeling in a catch:

  • The upper jaw position is compared to the bass eye.
  • The jaw length.
  • Number, location, and size of the lateral stripes and/or the blotches.
  • The number of spines and rays on anal and dorsal fins.
  • The number of scales available on the bass lateral line.
  • The region where the fish was caught.

9 Types of Black Bass

9_Types_of_Black_Bass

1. Alabama Bass

Scientifically, this black bass species is referred to as the Micropterus Henshalli. Although the fish was first described back in 1940, it became a black bass species in 2008. It was originally considered to be a spotted bass subspecies. To identify the Alabama bass, watch out for the following characteristics after handling your bass:

  • Lateral blotches on its sides that don’t touch its first dorsal fin.
  • Lateral stripe which ends on its caudal peduncle in a series of blotches.
  • Soft and spiny dorsal fins with a shallow notch connection.
  • The base of the anal and dorsal fins feature scales.
  • The anal fin features 3 spines while the dorsal fin features 10 spines.
  • 68 – 84 lateral line scales. On average, they are 71 or more.

2. Florida Bass

This is among the first types of black bass to be described. Although it was described back in 1822, it became a black bass species in 2002. Technically, the American Fisheries Society considers the Micropterus Floridanus a largemouth bass sub-species. If you land a bass using your bass fishing rod, watch out for the characteristics below to determine if it’s the Florida bass:

  • The upper jaw usually extends past its eye.
  • Soft-rayed and spiny dorsal fins featuring a deep notch in between.
  • The anal fin features 3 spines while the dorsal fin has 9 spines.
  • 59 – 72 lateral line scales.

3. Guadalupe Bass

Micropterus treculii was first described in 1874. If you manage to land a bass using your spinning reel, watch out for the following characteristics to know if it is the Guadalupe bass:

  • The upper jaw won’t go past the middle of its eye.
  • A shallow notch joins its soft-rayed and spiny dorsal fins.
  • Tooth patch on its tongue.
  • Anal and soft dorsal fin bases feature scales.
  • Dark lateral Stripes in about 10 to 12 bars.
  • 3 spines on the anal fin and 10 spines on the dorsal fin.
  • About 71 to 55 lateral line scales.

4. Largemouth Bass

The Micropterus Salmoides is one of the types of black bass named in the 1800s, to be exact, 1802. Watch out for the following characteristics to determine if your largemouth bass lures did succeed in hooking the right fish:

  • The upper jaw goes past the eye.
  • A deep notch joins the soft-rayed and spiny dorsal fins.
  • Dark mid-lateral blotches or stripes from the snout tip to the caudal fin.
  • 59 – 72 lateral line scales.
  • 3 spines on the anal fin and 9 spines on the dorsal fin.

5. Redeye Bass

Micropterus Coosae was described in 1940 and features 5 subspecies, including capable, coosae, warriorensis, tallapoosae, and chattahoochae. If after casting your spinning rod you land a redeye bass, it should have the following characteristics:

  • The upper jaw won’t extend beyond its eye.
  • Shallow notch connecting soft and spiny dorsal fins.
  • Small, dark spots below its lateral line forming horizontal rows.
  • Vertical, dark blotches disappear as they grow older.
  • Caudal, anal, and second dorsal fins feature red color with a white margin.
  • 9-11 spines on the dorsal fin and 3 spines on the anal fin.
  • 63-74 lateral line scales.

6. Shoal Bass

First described in the year 1999, the Micropterus cataract was formerly classified under the redeye black bass species. It has a resemblance to the redeye black bass without the red color and white margin. Its characteristics include:

  • The upper jaw never extends beyond its eye.
  • Vertical, dark blotches that fade over time.
  • Dark spots under the lateral line forming horizontal rows.
  • Shallow notch connecting soft and spiny dorsal fin.
  • Big, dark spot at the caudal peduncle base.
  • 9-11 spines on the dorsal fin and 3 spines on the anal fin.
  • 72-77 lateral line scales.

7. Smallmouth Bass

Micropterus Dolomieu was described back in 1802. If your smallmouth bass lures catch the right fish, you should notice the following characteristics:

  • The upper jaw won’t reach past its eye.
  • 3 dark bars on its cheeks.
  • Shallow notches between soft-rayed and spiny dorsal fins.
  • Small scales on anal and dorsal fin bases.
  • 8-16 vertical lateral bars.
  • 9-10 spines on the dorsal fin and 3 spines on the anal fin.
  • 67-81 lateral line scales.

8. Spotted Bass

Micropterus punctulatus was originally described in 1819. Its main characteristics include:

  • The upper jaw reaches the middle of the pupil.
  • Shallow notches connecting soft-rayed and spiny dorsal fins.
  • Small scales on anal and dorsal fin bases.
  • Multiple dark blotches touching the dorsal fin.
  • Lower lateral scales forming horizontal, dark stripes or rows.
  • 3 spines on the anal fin and 10 spines on the dorsal fin.
  • 55-71 lateral line scales.

9. Suwannee Bass

Micropterus Notius was originally described in 1949. If your fishing line helps you catch a Suwannee bass, you should notice the following characteristics:

  • The fish doesn’t exceed 16 inches.
  • Shallow notches join its soft-rayed and spiny dorsal fins.
  • 12 vertical, lateral blotches bars.
  • Turquoise blue coloration on the breast, vent, and cheeks during the breeding.
  • 10 spines on the dorsal fin and 3 spines on the anal fin.
  • 57-65 lateral line scales.

Globo Surf Overview

Even if you are experienced at black bass fishing, there is a chance that you have not come across all the types of black bass. After going through the black bass species outlined above, you will probably realize this.

It is worth noting that it may be hard to identify some black bass species, especially after they breed together. For example, Guadalupe bass may breed with either the smallmouth or spotted bass to create an offspring that cannot be identified without using genetic analysis.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!