Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular game fish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species, many of which are native to North America and surrounding waters. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes, and in fact the word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning "perch."
The warm water basses, such as the largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu), spotted bass (M. punctulatus), Guadalupe bass (M. treculii) and rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris), belonging to the sunfish family, Centrarchidae. These basses are also referred to as black basses.
The smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. It is the type species of its genus. One of the black basses, it is native to a wide area throughout eastern North America, encompassing the upper and middle Mississippi River basin, the Saint Lawrence River-Great Lakes system, and up into the Hudson Bay basin.
The smallmouth bass is marked by a series of dark stripes(or bars) on the sides, and its upper jaw does not extend past the eye. It grows to a maximum recorded overall length of 69 cm (27 in), weighing up to 5.4 kg (12 lb). Specimens have been recorded living up to 26 years. M. dolomieu is found only in clear water, preferring shallow, rocky-bottomed areas of lakes and rivers. Because it is relatively intolerant of any type of pollution, the smallmouth bass is a good natural indicator of a healthy environment. Carnivorous, its diet comprises crayfish, insects, and smaller fish, the young also feeding on zooplankton.
One of the world's most popular game fish, the smallmouth bass is stocked in rivers and lakes throughout the United States, and has been introduced in many countries, sometimes with adverse effects on native fish populations. It is a wary fish, and a bit more of a challenge to catch than it's bigger cousin the largemouth bass, but well worth the effort for it's tremendously strong fight - old fishing journals referred to the smallmouth bass as "ounce for ounce and pound for pound the gamest fish that swims". More delicate in flavor than the largemouth, it is a very good eating fish, though as often as not, it is released to fight another day.
Load your tackle box with an assortment of grubs, tubes, in natural colors, and some 1/16-1/4 oz. jigheads and you are pretty well set for the entire year. Twister tail grubs 3-4 inches long on a 1/16 oz jig heads work well in rivers. Crayfish (crawfish, crawdad) imitation plastics are effective in summer months.