Largemouth & Spotted Bass: The Ultimate Comparison

Video difference between a spotted bass and a largemouth bass

Largemouth Bass: Defining Features

Largemouth bass or also known as Micropterus salmoides, is a freshwater gamefish from the Centrarchidae family. The largemouth bass tend to usually reach around 13 to 20 inches in length and 12 to 20 lb in weight.

The main color of this fish is olive green, darker on the back and lighter as you move toward the belly, where it fades to white. The main feature that makes this fish noticeable is the large hinged mouth that extends past the eye.

They tend to live in areas with a lot of hiding places like rocks and weeds, but during the summer, they prefer highly vegetated shallow areas with a lot of prey. Another very noticeable feature of this fish is the dorsal fins which are often separated with a deep notch between them.

Spotted Bass: Defining features

Spotted bass, or in Latin Micropterus punctulatus, also belongs to the sunfish Centrarchidae family. The spotted bass can grow from 10 to 17 inches long and usually weighs 1 to 3 lb.

These fish are often darker in color, with bronze hues and rows of noticeable spots along their bodies that form dark horizontal stripes. The spotted bass is known to have a smaller mouth that does not go beyond the eye, like in largemouth bass.

Spotted bass also has very small cheek scales and two connected dorsal fins. This fish is often found in clear water, and they prefer to inhabit rockier and gravelly areas. Spotted bass are known to often mate with smallmouth bass, which makes them more difficult and confusing to identify.

Spotted Bass vs Largemouth: Similarities & Differences

When comparing largemouth vs spotted bass a lot of differences are easy to spot, but they also have a lot of similarities. Some of the similarities between these two fish include:

  • Same diet. Both species go after the same prey, such as fish and insects, but spotted bass consume around half of the food that largemouths need during the day.
  • Prefer to live in a similar habitat. The two prefer to live in heavy cover areas, rocky or weedy water beds, and they are found in lakes, rivers, and ponds. But unlike the largemouth bass, which prefers slow-moving warm, and clear waters, the spotted bass vs largemouth tends to be found in colored and fast-moving waters and rivers.
  • Adaptable. As long as they have a good food source, both species can survive in different conditions without a problem.
  • Highly nutritious. These two species contain almost the same amount of nutrients, such as protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, potassium, and copper.
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Aside from the clear differences in size, jaw, dorsal fin, color, and scales, when we compare largemouth bass vs spotted bass, there are other prominent distinctions between the two:

  • Lifespan. The largemouth bass can live up to 16 years, while the spotted bass only has a lifetime of 6 years.
  • Behavior. Although these two fish belong to the same species, they tend to behave very differently. When caught in a fishing line, spotted bass usually dive deeper in the water, whereas largemouths react more aggressively and fight with the line to break free.
  • Tongue. Largemouth bass has a smooth tongue, while spotted bass has rough patches.
  • Weight. Largemouth black bass can reach a weight of up to 10 lb, while spotted bass usually weigh around 1-2 lb and the maximum weight they can reach is up to 8 lb.

We highlighted the main differences between largemouth bass vs spotted bass in the table below:

Fish species Length Weight Color Habitat Family/Latin name/Species Diet Spotted bass 10-17 inches 1-3 lb Green Heavy cover areas and fast-moving waters Micropterus punctulatus- sunfish Centrarchidae family Fish such as shad, crayfish, aquatic insects Largemouth bass 13-20 inches 12-20 lb Olive green Heavy cover areas and slow-moving waters Micropterus salmoides- sunfish Centrarchidae family fish, insects, crustaceans, and frogs

What’s Better: Spotted vs Largemouth Bass

The decision on whether spotted vs largemouth bass is better is based on personal preferences. Both of these fish have similar nutrition values, so if we compare them based on these criteria, there is no difference.

These two species are highly popular amongst anglers. But if anglers want a fish that is easier to handle and cook, then the spotted bass generally is a better option. The spotted bass also represents a better option for beginners since it is smaller in size and less aggressive. In contrast, experienced anglers who know how to handle aggressive fish tend to go for the largemouth species.

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When fishing for the spotted bass the best place to look is in cooler and fast-paced waters usually in spring or fall when the water isn’t that warm around rocky areas. If you are after the largemouth bass, the best season to catch this fish is in spring when the temperatures are getting warmer around vegetated areas.

Catching Spotted vs. Largemouth Bass

Spotted Bass like clear waters, and you can often find them out in the open. You can catch these guys as deep as 30 feet! Largemouth generally keep to shallower waters and don’t care much for water clarity. Spots remain active during winter, while Largemouth tend to slow down when the water temperatures drop.

You can catch both species with various baits and lures, but the general rule of thumb is that larger bait and lures work better for Largemouth than Spotted Bass.

Largemouth and Spotted Bass are two equally exciting game fish. They’re both great fighters and are sure to put your angling skills to the test. If that’s not enough, the two species provide great eating, too. The best part is these are available to everyone; it’s not that you have to choose.

Concluding Remarks on Spotted Bass vs Largemouth Bass

The comparison of spotted bass vs largemouth bass shows that these two fish are pretty similar despite their differences. Even their physical traits can be very similar. Grown-up spotted bass is very similar to a smaller largemouth bass confusing many beginner anglers.

However, the real difference between these two fish is their behavior. If you haven’t been in the game of fishing for a long time, then be careful with what type of bass you are trying to catch. The largemouth bass is usually tough to catch and control if you don’t have the right skills and experience.

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Largemouths and Spots are neighbors, so catching an exciting Bass combo is likely. So now, you have it. You can tell if your catch is Spotted Bass vs. Largemouth Bass.


How do you tell if it’s a spotted bass?

The easiest way to tell if you have caught spotted bass is to look closely at the body and see if you can notice many small spots that often form dark-colored horizontal stripes. These are distinctively different from than Guadalupe bass, shoal bass, or other similar-looking basses.

Can spotted bass mate with largemouth?

Spotted bass do not naturally mate with largemouth bass, and it is very unlikely that they can produce any viable offspring.

How big can spotted bass get?

Spotted bass can reach up to 15 inches in length and 8 lb in weight. The largest known spot bass species was found to be 24.5 inches long and 10.48 lb heavy.

People Also Ask

Why is it called spotted bass?

Spotted fish gets its name from the black spots that appear all over its body.

Is spotted bass good to eat?

Spotted bass has many nutritional values and is known for its light and sweet taste. Spotted and crappie are the most popular food choices for many.

Your turn. Have you ever caught one of these two fish before? What do you prefer to catch? Let us know in the comments below.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>