Spotted Bass vs. Largemouth Bass

Being a species of the black bass, spotted bass and largemouth bass are visually identical but completely different otherwise.

Although you might not recognize one from the other immediately, there are many major differences between the two.

Spotting their differences is quite tricky, as they can’t be identified based on their color, spots, or stripes; there is a continuous alteration in these attributes, depending on the habitat.

We have gathered a few basic features and behaviors that make each species distinctive. Equipped with an understanding of these differences, you’ll know which fish you caught in a jiffy on your next fishing trip.

What Are the Differences Between the Spotted Bass and Largemouth Bass?

spotted bass vs largemouthJaw Length

There is a clear difference between the jaw of a spotted bass and largemouth bass. When the upper jaw of the latter is closed, it extends past the rear margin of the cavity of the skull in which the eye is located (orbit); this is not the case in the spotted bass.

Dorsal Fin

All black bass, except for the largemouth bass, have scales on the bottom of the second dorsal fin, including the spotted bass. Moreover, the first and second dorsal fin of the spotted bass is connected and the connection is easily visible. The dorsal fins of the largemouth bass are completely or almost separated.


largemouth bassIn the case of the spotted bass tongue, a small-sized rough patch of a rectangular shape is located in the middle of its tongue. The largemouth bass doesn’t have a rough patch on its tongue which is relatively smoother.

Sometimes, people confuse pigmentation of the tongue of a bass with its smoothness and coarseness.

Cheek Scales

This feature is by far the easiest to use to distinguish one fish from the other. The cheek scales on a largemouth bass are of the same size as the scales on the rest of their body.

On the other hand, the cheek scales on a spotted bass are quite smaller as compared to the scales on the rest of their body.

Stomach Markers

spotted bassThe stomach of a largemouth bass is plain and white while the stomach of a spotted bass has markers that are made up of lines of spots.

Behavior and Characteristics

Besides the visual features, you can easily distinguish a spotted bass from a largemouth using some differences in behavior and characteristics.

  • A spotted bass, in general, doesn’t get as big as a largemouth bass.
  • A spotted bass dives deep and behaves quite similar to a smallmouth on the line when caught in a fishing hook, whereas a largemouth bass jumps and rushes to the top of the surface.
  • Spotted bass are more likely to form a school than the largemouth bass.
  • While there are some exceptions, a spotted bass generally has better coloration as compared to a largemouth bass.

Where to Find Spotted Bass vs. Largemouth Bass?

Largemouth Bass Habitat

Largemouth bass habitatThe largemouth bass is native to central and eastern United States. They are carnivorous freshwater bass that live in an area with an abundance of submerged trees, weed, foliage, and even underwater vegetations.

These carnivores are always looking to hunt; as green foliage on aquatic vegetation attracts many of their prey, they prefer to live there.

This species of black bass also prefer uneven cliffs and walls rather than straight and smooth ones so that they can have a good natural hiding place for themselves.

Spotted Bass Habitat

Spotted Bass HabitatThe spotted bass is native to the Mississippi River basin across the Gulf States. The habitat of these freshwater carnivores is quite similar to that of their closely related species such as the largemouth and smallmouth bass.

They inhabit areas with plenty of currents and prefer living in warmer and turbid climates relatively.

They too, like largemouth bass, occur near fresh vegetation, inside uneven cliffs and walls, and flowing rivers and streams.

Fishing Gear for Spotted Bass

spotted bass fishingSpinning Reels and Rods

  • If you are luring the fish with soft plastic worms or small fish, then it is best to use a 6-foot spinning rod with fast action.
  • The spotted bass weighs a maximum of approximately 10 pounds for which using a light or medium spinning reel with 4-10 pound test-line is recommended.
  • As these fish are aggressive, a spinning reel with a fast gear ratio will bring increased bites.

Conventional Reels and Rods

  • A rod with slow action will not let you feel the bite with greater accuracy, therefore using a 6-foot casting rod with fast action is recommended to catch the spotted bass.
  • To put extra tension on the line and have more leverage over the bass, putting an 8-pound test line on a light or medium-sized conventional reel is optimum to fish some spotted bass.
  • Use a fast gear ratio conventional reel if you desire to lure and retrieve at a faster pace. Even if you desire a slow retrieval, all you need to do is reel slower.

Fishing Gear for Largemouth Bass

Spinning Reels and Rods

  • If length is not an issue for you and you are using small plastic worms and fish to lure the largemouth bass, use a 6-foot spinning rod with fast action.
  • Although the length of casts is not an essential factor while fishing, consider using a 6-foot medium-weight action rod if you do require longer casts.
  • The largemouth bass usually requires a large number of casts so choosing fishing gear with a higher gear ratio is recommended. A solid spinning medium reel with an 8-10 pound test-line is recommended.

Conventional Reels and Rods

  • Once again, using a reel with a higher gear ratio is recommended for increased casts. While using conventional reels and rods and targeting fish of larger size, use a conventional medium reel of around 10-12 pound test line so that it doesn’t succumb under pressure and break.

Fly Rods

  • To fish a largemouth bass with a fly rod, you don’t need to oversize it; you can use the same 8-9 weight fly rod typically used to fish snook and redfish. The heavier your rod is, the heavier the fish you can catch with it. Using a shorter rod is recommended for a more accurate cast.


Now that you’ve learned all the differences between both the black bass i.e. the largemouth bass and spotted bass, you will have no trouble in distinguishing one from the other. Catching these bass is not only fun and challenging but they also taste delicious!