Florida is home to many fishing tournaments. Lots of people travel to Florida every year, excited to fish in both freshwater and saltwater. Florida is a southern state in the United States. There are common fish in just about any body of water. As long as you have a fishing pole, bait, and patience, you can catch a delicious fish!
Spotted bass is common throughout Florida. They are North American freshwater fish in the sunfish family. These fish have rows of dark spots. Spotted bass don’t grow very big but typically reach 11 pounds. But can these fish grow larger? Keep reading to discover the largest spotted bass ever caught in Florida.
About Spotted Bass
Spotted bass are common freshwater fish. They live about 7 years in the wild and are sometimes mistaken for largemouth bass. There is one subspecies in Alabama and Georgia called Alabama spotted bass, also known as the “Coosa spotted bass”. Spotted bass can sometimes hybridize with smallmouth bass, making it hard to distinguish what type of bass it is. In some countries, spotted bass were introduced to freshwater rivers and are now invasive species.
Size and Appearance
It’s easy to confuse a spotted bass for largemouth bass because they have similar colors, however, largemouth bass are longer and have larger mouths. The biggest difference between the two is that spotted bass have scales on the base portion of their second dorsal fin. As their name suggests, spotted bass have dark spots below the lateral line. Spotted bass grows 4 inches during their first year. They grow up to 25 inches and can weigh above 10 pounds. The world record for a spotted bass though is 11.4 pounds, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t larger spotted bass that hasn’t been caught yet.
So, what do spotted bass eat? Spotted bass are hungry animals; eating creates negative pressure when opening their mouths wide, which sucks in their prey. Some of their most common prey include small crustaceans, crayfish, small fish, and aquatic insects. Spotted bass eat less than largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Typically, young spotted bass consume insects and aquatic vegetation, while adult spotted bass upgrade to fish and crustaceans. Spotted bass also have predators like snapping turtles, alligators, and large snakes.
Spotted bass live in different environments like creeks, lakes, and rivers. They live far away from largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. You can find them in tough water currents. These fish hide in aquatic vegetation. Spotted bass are native to East Texas, but are found in multiple states on the gulf including the Ohio River Basin and Mississippi River Basin.
The Largest Spotted Bass Ever Caught in Florida
On June 24, 1985, Dow Gilmore caught the largest spotted bass ever in Florida. It weighed 3.75 pounds and was caught in the Apalachicola River, Gulf County. This impressive catch surpasses the average weight of a spotted bass, which is 1-3 pounds. The length of this spotted bass was never taken. Just one state away, Wayne Holland caught a spotted bass in Lake Burton, Georgia. It weighed 8 pounds and 2 ounces.
Where to Find Spotted Bass in Florida
Spotted bass are throughout the southern United States, but knowing where they hide can help you catch them quicker. In Florida, they are restricted to the panhandle and the streams in the Apalachicola river, which is where the largest spotted bass in Florida was caught. If you are looking for these fish, find a small to medium river or creek with clear water. They also live at the bottom of lakes and creeks with rocks or gravel.
Other Common Fish in Florida
The lakes in Florida are never-ending. Most of Florida is made up of swamps, rivers, and lakes. Florida alone has 175 state parks, many of which have multiple bodies of water. It shouldn’t surprise you to know that fishing is a popular sport and hobby in the sunshine state. Not only can you fish for freshwater, but also saltwater. Other common fish in Florida are:
- Florida Gar
- Channel Catfish
- Brown Bullhead
- Black Crappie
- Tadpole Madtom
- Red Snapper
- Vermillion Snapper
- Largemouth Bass
- The Butterfly Peacock Bass
Something important to know is that fishing licenses are needed in Florida. You need a valid fishing license in Florida, even if you are catching and releasing.
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