16 Types of Bass Ranked by Size 

Written by Mike Edmisten
Updated: September 8, 2023
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Let’s talk about bass sizes! Bass are among the most popular targets for anglers, but many don’t realize just how many different bass species exist. There are hundreds of different types of bass. The fish belong to the order Perciformes, which means “perch-like” fish. The word “bass” is derived from the Middle English word “bars,” meaning “perch.” Some of the most popular bass species among anglers are the black basses. These fish are not true basses, though. Instead, they belong to the sunfish family Centrarchidae. Then, there are the temperate basses, also known as the true basses. There are also sea basses.

While we can’t cover the hundreds of different basses, we can examine some of the more common species that anglers will encounter. Here’s a look at 16 different bass species, including black, temperate, and sea basses. We’ve ranked them by size, so anglers can know what to expect when they set the hook.

Small Mouth Bass

Many bass species, such as the smallmouth bass, are favorites among anglers.

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Black Basses

Common NameScientific NameAverage WeightWorld Record WeightNative Range
Largemouth BassMicropterus salmoides1-5 pounds22 pounds, 4 ouncesEastern and central United States, southeastern Canada and northern Mexico
Smallmouth BassMicropterus dolomieu1-4 pounds11 pounds, 15 ouncesUpper and middle Mississippi River basin, the Saint Lawrence RiverGreat Lakes system, and the Hudson Bay basin.
Shoal BassMicropterus cataractae1-4 pounds8 pounds, 12 ouncesFlorida, Alabama, and Georgia
Spotted BassMicropterus punctulatus1-3 pounds11 pounds, 4 ouncesMississippi River basin from southern Ohio and West Virginia to southeastern Kansas, and south to the Gulf of Mexico; Gulf Slope drainages from the Chattahoochee River, Georgia to the Guadalupe River, Texas.
Alabama BassMicropterus henshalli1-2 pounds11 pounds, 4 ouncesMobile Bay basin in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia
Suwannee BassMicropterus notius1-2 pounds3 pounds, 14 ouncesLower Suwannee and Ochlockonee River systems in Florida and Georgia
Guadalupe BassMicropterus treculii0.5-1 pound3 pounds, 11 ouncesTexas
Redeye Bass (also known as Coosa bass)Micropterus coosae<1 pound5 pounds, 2.5 ouncesGeorgia, Alabama, and Florida

Black Bass Notes

Largemouth bass are the largest of the black basses and are also the most popular freshwater game fish in the world. There are two subspecies of largemouth bass: the northern largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides salmoides) and the Florida largemouth bass (M. salmoides floridanus). Both average about the same size, but under the right conditions, the Florida largemouth has the potential to grow significantly larger than the northern largemouth.

Largemouth bass are often found near lay downs or other structures where they can ambush their prey.

The largemouth bass is the most sought-after fish by freshwater anglers.


Invasive Largemouths

While anglers dearly love largemouth bass, they have also become a destructive invasive species in some parts of the world. These fish are now found in every U.S. state except Alaska. In some places, such as Lake Tahoe, the bass are invasive and harmful to the natural fish population. Largemouth bass have also been transported to Central and South America, Europe, a number of African nations, and Asian nations such as China and Japan. The fish is an especially big problem in Japan. Efforts are ongoing to eradicate the largemouth bass because of the damage being done to native Japanese fish. Ironically, a fish caught in a lake northeast of Kyoto, Japan, tied the world largemouth bass record. While largemouth bass are invasive and destructive in Japan, they are also thriving.

Scientists recently discovered a new black bass species. The Choctaw bass (Micropterus haiaka) was not found until 2013. This bass is native to the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama.

The rock bass is not technically a black bass, but it is also a member of the sunfish family. An average rock bass weighs about one pound. The world record is three pounds. The rock bass’ native range runs from Quebec in the north to Florida in the south.

Oldest Lake - Lake Biwa

A largemouth bass weighing over 22 pounds was caught in Japan’s Lake Biwa, tying the world record.


State Fish

The largemouth bass is the state fish of Georgia and Mississippi, and the state freshwater fish of Alabama and Florida. The spotted bass is the state fish of Kentucky. The smallmouth bass is the state sportfish of Tennessee. The Guadalupe bass is the state freshwater fish of Texas.

Temperate (True) Basses

Common NameScientific NameAverage WeightWorld Record WeightNative Range
Striped Bass (also known as Stripers)Morone saxatilis10-30 pounds81 pounds, 14 ouncesSt. Lawrence River in Canada to St. John’s River in Florida, and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Louisiana
White Bass (also known as Sand Bass)Morone chrysops1 pound6 pounds, 13 ouncesSt. Lawrence-Great Lakes, Hudson Bay (Red River), and Mississippi River basins from Quebec to Manitoba and south to Louisiana
White Perch (also known as Narrow-Mouthed Bass)Morone americana1 pound3 pounds, 8 ouncesCoastal United States from Maine to South Carolina
Yellow BassMorone mississippiensis>1 pound2 pounds, 9 ouncesLake Michigan and Mississippi River basins from Wisconsin and Minnesota south to the Gulf of Mexico; east to western Indiana and eastern Tennessee, and west to western Iowa and eastern Oklahoma

Temperate Bass Notes

While striped bass live most of their lives in the ocean, they have also been stocked in landlocked freshwater lakes. These landlocked fish don’t grow quite as large as those who have ocean access, but they can still reach prodigious sizes. The world record for a landlocked striper is 69 pounds, 9 ounces.

Striped bass and white bass can hybridize. Though it does occur naturally on occasion, the hybrid fish are often produced and stocked by fishery management agencies. Hybrid striped bass are sometimes known as wipers, combining white and striped bass names. These fish typically grow from two to five pounds. A trophy hybrid striped bass is generally considered to be over ten pounds.

Striped Bass, morone saxatilis underwater view

Striped bass can live in both saltwater and freshwater environments.


State Fish

The white bass is the state fish of Oklahoma. The striped bass is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. It is also the state saltwater (marine) fish of New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.

Sea Bass

Common NameScientific NameAverage WeightWorld Record WeightNative Range
Giant Sea BassStereolepis gigas50-200 pounds 563 pounds, 8 ouncesFrom Humboldt Bay to the tip of Baja California. Also found in Japan.
White Sea Bass (also known as White Weakfish)Atractoscion nobilis20 pounds88 poundsNorth American Pacific coast, from Alaska to northern Mexico
European Bass (also known as European Sea Bass)Dicentrarchus labrax5-6 pounds22 pounds, 6 ouncesWestern and southern Europe, northern Africa
Black Sea BassCentropristis striata1-4 pounds10 pounds, 4 ouncesAtlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia south along the eastern coast of North America as far as the Florida Keys and into the Gulf of Mexico

Sea Bass Notes

Sea bass classification is difficult. These fish, along with others, carry the “bass” name, but they can be very different from one another. For example, the giant sea bass is actually a wreckfish. It is a member of the family Polyprionidae, not the sea bass family Serranidae. It is also the biggest fish in the world to carry the “bass” name. Sadly, the giant sea bass is listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The black sea bass is considered one of the best-tasting fish in all of the world’s oceans.

The white sea bass is the largest of a group of fish known as croakers. These fish are so named because of the croaking noise they make by hitting the abdominal muscle against the swim bladder. 

A black sea

Black sea bass do not grow nearly as large as other sea basses, but they are highly valued as table fare.

©Mike Brake/Shutterstock.com

Summary of 16 Types of Bass

RankBassAverage WeightType of Bass
1Giant Sea Bass50-200 lbsSea Bass
2Striped Bass10-30 lbsTemperate Bass
3White Sea Bass20 lbsSea Bass
4European Bass5-6 lbsSea Bass
5Largemouth Bass1-5 lbsBlack Bass
6Smallmouth Bass1-4 lbsBlack Bass
7Shoal Bass1-4 lbsBlack Bass
8Black Sea Bass1-4 lbsSea Bass
9Spotted Bass1-3 lbsBlack Bass
10Alabama Bass1-2 lbsBlack Bass
11Suwannee Bass1-2 lbsBlack Bass
12White Bass1 lbTemperate Bass
13White Perch1 lbTemperate Bass
14Guadalupe Bass0.5-1 lbBlack Bass
15Redeye BassLess than 1 lbBlack Bass
16Yellow BassLess than 1 lbTemperate Bass

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/stammphoto

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About the Author

Mike is a writer at A-Z Animals where his primary focus is on geography, agriculture, and marine life. A graduate of Cincinnati Christian University and a resident of Cincinnati, OH, Mike is deeply passionate about the natural world. In his free time, he, his wife, and their two sons love the outdoors, especially camping and exploring US National Parks.

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