What is a Meanmouth Bass?

Video mean mouth fish

The meanmouth bass is a crossbreed between a smallmouth bass and a spotted bass.

The meanmouth bass, also known as a meanmouth black bass or meanmouth char, exhibits traits and characteristics of both parent species. It is typically found in select waters where the smallmouth and spotted bass populations overlap.

The meanmouth bass is known for its aggressive feeding behavior and can provide an exciting angling experience for fishermen. However, it is important to note that the meanmouth bass is not a widely recognized or targeted game fish like its parent species. It is more of an incidental catch in areas where the two bass fish species coexist.

Are Meanmouth Bass Rare?

Meanmouth bass, being a bass hybrid between smallmouth bass and spotted bass, can be considered a rare fish compared to their parent species.

They are less widely distributed than smallmouth or spotted bass because their occurrence is limited to specific waters where the populations of both parent species overlap and hybridization can occur.

What is the Difference Between a Meanmouth and a Smallmouth?

Distinguishing between a smallmouth bass and a meanmouth bass can be challenging, as they are visually similar and share many physical characteristics. However, there are a few key features that can help differentiate the two:

  1. Body Shape: Smallmouth bass typically have a more streamlined and elongated body shape compared to meanmouth bass. Meanmouth bass may exhibit a slightly bulkier or more robust appearance, resembling their spotted bass parentage.
  2. Coloration: While both smallmouth and meanmouth bass have similar color patterns, meanmouth bass may have more prominent or distinct markings on their body . They may display a mixture of characteristics from both parent species, including dark vertical bars on their sides and a bronze or greenish-brown coloration.
  3. Jaw Length: One subtle difference is the length of the jaw. Smallmouth bass usually have a jaw that extends to the midpoint of the eye or slightly beyond, while meanmouth bass may have a jaw that falls slightly shorter.
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What Is the Difference Between a Meanmouth and a Largemouth?

The difference between a meanmouth bass and a largemouth bass lies in their genetic makeup and physical characteristics.

  1. Genetic Makeup: A meanmouth bass is a hybrid species resulting from the crossbreeding of a smallmouth bass and a spotted bass, while a largemouth bass is a distinct species on its own.
  2. Body Shape: Largemouth bass and meanmouth bass have slightly different body shapes. Largemouth bass typically have a more robust and rounded body with a deep belly.
  3. Jaw Length: Largemouth bass have a prominent, extendable jaw that extends past the rear edge of the eye. In contrast, meanmouth bass tend to have a shorter jaw, not extending as far beyond the eye as a largemouth bass.
  4. Coloration: Meanmouth bass may exhibit more distinct markings, including vertical bars on their sides, which are inherited from their spotted bass parent.
  5. Habitat: Largemouth bass and meanmouth bass have overlapping habitat preferences, as they both thrive in warm freshwater environments such as lakes, rivers, and ponds. However, the exact distribution of meanmouth bass may be limited to certain areas where the parent species overlap and hybridization occurs.

Where to Find the Meanmouth Bass?

So far, the only states to record an official presence of meanmouth bass have been Missouri and Georgia.

While fishing in March 2021 at O.H. Ivie Reservoir in central Texas, a lake renowned for its enormous largemouth and smallmouth bass, Wyatt Franken caught the 7lb 9oz world record largemouth-smallmouth hybrid bass. In 2022, fishing at the same exact location, Brady Stanford caught what appears to be a meanmouth. The fish is currently being genetically tested by Texas Parks and Wildlife’s ShareLunker program to ensure it is a genuine meanmouth. If accepted by the IGFA, it will unquestionably become the Texas state record and might even be referred to as the global record.

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Moreover, states like Kentucky, which is in the middle of the species crossover zone, request that any anglers who catch a meanmouth bass bring them to a conservation center for scientific study.

Meanmouth bass are often found in river systems and reservoirs where smallmouth and spotted bass inhabit the same waters. Look for areas with rocky or gravelly bottoms, moderate current flow, and suitable habitat for bass.

How Deep Do Meanmouth Bass Live?

Generally, meanmouth bass can be found at various depths within a water body, including shallow water areas, mid-depth zones, and deeper sections.

In warmer months, meanmouth bass may move to deeper water to seek cooler temperatures and forage on prey species that also inhabit those depths. This can include depths ranging from 10 to 30 feet or even deeper in certain circumstances.

During cooler months or in early mornings and evenings, meanmouth bass may move into shallower water closer to shore or near structures and cover. They may be found in depths as shallow as a few feet, particularly when feeding on smaller baitfish or in pursuit of prey that is more active in shallower areas.

Mean Mouth Bass Fishing Tips

Meanmouth bass are found in areas where smallmouth bass and spotted bass populations overlap. Look for rivers, reservoirs, or lakes that support both species. Focus on transitional zones where the habitat characteristics of both species meet.

They can be active throughout the day but tend to be more active during low-light periods such as early morning, late evening, or cloudy days. Consider timing your fishing trips accordingly.

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Use a variety of baits that mimic the natural prey of smallmouth and spotted bass. This can include crayfish imitations, soft plastic lures (such as worms, creature baits, or crawfish imitations), crankbaits, spinnerbaits, or topwater lures.

Experiment with different depths and types of structure to find where the meanmouth bass are holding. They can be found near rocky areas, submerged logs, drop-offs, or around underwater structures such as points and ledges. Adjust your fishing technique and lure presentation based on the depth and structure you are targeting.

Different fishing techniques can be effective depending on the conditions and the behavior of the meanmouth bass. Try techniques such as casting and retrieving, jigging, Carolina rigging, or using finesse techniques like drop-shotting or ned rigging. Vary your retrieve speed and presentation until you find what triggers a strike.

Make sure also to check our article on How to Catch a Largemouth Bass.

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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 >>