Hi AMFisHers! This weeks AMFisH(LEARN more here: www.amfish.ca) fishing vlog is about the differences between largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.
I am and always have been a bass fisherman since I was a youngster and both largemouth and smallmouth bass had me hooked on fishing very quickly! There are some key differences to note between these two species, which is why I decided to do a vlog on what the differences are with respect to habitat and how to secure each species when setting the hook.
Largemouth bass are mainly found in very thick weedy areas, with the depth they hang around in ranging from a foot right up to several feet, dependent on various factors with the main two being freshest oxygen and staying close to schools of bait fish. Smallmouth bass on the other hand do not hang out in the same areas, you will mainly find them in extremely rocky areas, filled with gravel and sand as well as sand flats, as they stay close to their number one food source which is crayfish. You will also find smallmouth in deeper water areas as well, which would also be dependent on the situation around oxygen and their second food source like bait fish.
This is one of several largemouth bass I caught, in the 3.5 to 5 pound range while fishing weed lines and cattails on a fishing trip at Lake St. Clair.
Largemouth bass will have a roaming areas of a few hundred feet or so and can be found clinging close to all types of structure, like docks, sunken trees, rocks, logs, boathouses, you name it they will be around it! All these areas are used for ambushing prey, staying cool, sunning themselves or even hiding out from predator fish. Largemouth will also hang out in schools as well, normally you will find a few in one area but can stumble upon that monster bass sitting behind a dock post ready to strike! Smallmouth bass will stay close to the rocky bottoms searching for crayfish in around all the rock pockets below. They will roam around rocky weed areas as well, but unlike the largemouth bass smallmouth will not sit deep inside the weeds like largemouth love to do.
This is by far my largest smallmouth bass ever caught, while I was dragging a tube in 15 plus feet of water on lake St. Clair. Weighed in at over 7 pounds!
Both are amazing fish specimens that out up a stellar fight, but pound for pound smallmouth bass will give you the fight of your life! A 3 pound smallmouth bass can right as tough as a 5 pound largemouth bass, as they usually feel a lot bigger than they are. Smallmouth bass have a very wide body structure with a very strong head area and jaw, which is needed for crushing crayfish. The roof of the smallmouth bass’s mouth is filled with a thick hard bone plate, kind of feels like a bunch of bumps and this is the plate that does all the crushing with that jaw strength pushing crayfish into the bone plate. Largemouth on the other hand do not have this same mouth structure, they don’t have this thick rooftop bone plate as they will eat items like worms, frogs, minnows and small panfish which they swallow whole and do not require to crush anything. Largemouth bass will flat out inhale their food not just bite at it, whereas smallmouth bass will usually investigate a bait before they strike. Smallmouth are known for following a bait along the bottom, looking at it intensely then striking at it a few times before they completely hammer it.
This largemouth bass is my biggest Canadian largemouth to date, weighed in at around the 7 pound mark and was caught on my go to bait, chartreuse spinnerbait with double Colorado nickel blades and a chartreuse twin boogie tail soft plastic trailer.
Since fish do not have hands they only way for them to really investigate a bait it to take it in and out of their mouth a few times, which is why we have those missed strike feeling sometimes. Just because a fish takes a bite at our bait it does not mean it did not instantly spit it back out before we set the hook. This actually happens quite often as that is how the fish feel a bait out. Now granted we should not give bass much credit for being smart at all, their feeding habits revolve around the need to feed and territory guarding of nest’s. Largemouth bass for example will strike at things like worms, small snakes and lizards to kill them so they don’t eat the bass eggs. Smallmouth bass will also do the same when they are spawning, it’s all instinct driven with the need to protect the eggs/nest’s.
This photo is a release shot of the largemouth bass photo just above, what a sight watching this beauty swim away!
When setting the hook on a largemouth bass, you do not need a lot of power as you would require with a smallmouth bass. Due to the bone filled jaw/mouth of the smallmouth bass you will need to set the hook with more power to penetrate through that bone, whereas a largemouth bass has thin tissue around it’s mouth area that hooks can penetrate much easier. You should also note that during the warm months, when water temperatures are quite warm as well the fish will be at their softest when it comes to skin and mouth areas. Living in those warm water temperatures will soften up the lip and body of the fish making it much more easy to damage so extra care will be needed when setting and removing hooks, as well as overall handling of the fish itself.
As I mentioned above these are both great species to fish for and understanding some of the subtle differences and the big differences will definitely help you find and land more fish!
Hope you found this vlog helpful!
The AMFisH guy…tight lines!
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