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Posts Tagged ‘Spring bass fishing’

How to Tell the Difference between a Kentucky/Spotted Bass and a Largemouth Bass

When I first started fishing lakes that contained both Kentucky and Largemouth bass, I did not care about identifying which one was on the end of my line. I just enjoyed catching fish. However, once I started fishing tournaments, I had to differentiate between the two species on lakes that have different size limits for each one. For example, Lake of the Ozarks and Bull Shoals Lake each have a 15” limit on black bass but a 12” limit for Kentucky bass.

I will never forget my first tournament on that lake, my partner and I were catching a ton of “bass” on Chompers…and we were having a fantastic time doing it. Neither of us knew, for sure, how to differentiate between the two species. All we had heard was that Kentucky bass have a rough patch on their tongue. We didn’t know HOW rough of a patch…just a rough patch. So…when we started catching fish after fish, if we felt anything AT ALL on the tongue, into the live well it went!

We were a red faced at weigh in and VERY lucky that a conservation agent did not stop us on the water to check our fish. Most of our 12-inch fish were, in fact, largemouth bass! Lucky for us, it was tournament that consisted of a bunch of friends, so we were simply mocked and made fun of instead of receiving monetary penalties.

Differences between a Largemouth Bass and a Spotted Bass

The Tongue

As stated above, spots have a rough patch on their tongue. Largemouth bass do not. Please note that the rough patch is very noticeable on a spotted bass, and you might feel “something” on the tongue of a largemouth.

The Hinge of the Mouth

There is a reason that largemouth bass are called largemouth! If you were to draw a line straight down from the back of a largemouth’s eye to the bottom of the jaw, the end of the hinge of its mouth would be behind that line. Kentucky bass, on the other hand, will have the hinge in front of that line.

Kentucky Bass

The jaw of the Kentucky Bass is in front of the back of the eye.

Largemouth Bass

The hinge of the Largemouth's jaw extends behind the back of the eye.

 

The Dorsal Fin

Both species have a set of dorsal fins. The front one is larger than the rear fin. The difference is that, on a spotted bass, there is little to no separation between the two. A large mouth will have as distinct ending and beginning between the two.

Kentucky Bass

Little or no separation between dorsal fins.

Largemouth Bass

There is a definite separation between the fins.

Coloration

Both species of bass have a lateral line running down the middle of their body. Spotted bass have blotches or “spots”

above their lateral line. They also have a bluish/green tint to their color. Largemouth bass on the other hand, favor the green side of the color wheel!

The Cheek Scales

Cheek scales on a largemouth bass are the same size as the rest of the scales on its body. Spotted bass have noticeably smaller scales on their cheeks.

Another big difference between the two species is how they fight on the end of the line. Largemouth bass tend to come straight to the top of the water and try to shake the lure out of their mouth. Kentucky bass fight more like a smallmouth. They head to the bottom and resist every inch of the way to the surface.

Hopefully the next time you hook a bass at your favorite lake, you will be better able to identify the football on the end of your line.

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I had the pleasure to fish the annual Lazy Acres Fishing Tournament on Bull Shoals Lake over the weekend. There were 18 boats entered into the tournament and more than half brought in limits of largemouth, smallmouth and Kentucky bass.

Lazy Acres is located on the south side of Buck Creek near mid lake. I fished with Tom Visconti and we caught more than 40 bass during the eight-hour event.

Lazy Acres Annual Bass Tournament

Boats Getting Ready for the 6:45 a.m. Take Off from the south point of Buck Creek.

The top-water bite was on as was the lizard bite. We spent most of our time in Big Creek (Big Cedar Creek) and East Sugar Camp.

The fish were sitting on the outside of the buck brush and were holding tight to it. If the fish did not hit within the first 10 feet past the brush, then we picked up and started over.

Top-Water Baits:

  • Zara Spook Jr. (Color: white pearl)
  • Chug Bug (Color: black back with silver sides)

Lizards

  • Zoom 8” (Color: Green Pumpkin) Texas rigged

There were also reports of a lot of fish being caught on Zoom Flukes (White Pearl) on #3 Gamagatsu hooks thrown just in front of the buck brush.

It was an exciting day with one of the best weigh-ins the tournament has ever seen. Everyone caught fish. The team that won the tournament fished in the Big Buck Creek and Trimble Creek areas…as did the second- and third-place teams.

The top three places all had between 14 and 15.75 lbs…which is a decent weigh-in total.

Did anyone else duplicate this pattern? Did you find a different pattern? If so, let me know because I’m heading back down in two weeks.

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My wife and I loaded the kids in the truck and spend the weekend in Hermann, Missouri with our friends, Tim and Michelle Schulte. They were celebrating their youngest daughter’s birthday on Saturday and invited family and friends to help celebrate.

Tim and Michelle live on 50 acres just outside of Hermann, and they have a nice lake behind their house that is stocked with bass, bluegill and catfish. Below are some photos of the event. The weather was fantastic as was the company was even better.

Uncle Tim Helping Everyone

Brenna and her Big Fish

Colin Waiting Patiently

Colin Still Determined

Casting Pro

My Wife Enjoying the Day

Brenna on the Dock

We had a great time on Saturday and are looking forward to moving to this wonderful town in mid Missouri.

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The following post was written by my oldest child, Brenna (8 years). She has been watching me post on blog now for a few months, and wrote the following text on her own. I have not changed a word.

“You know,  fun is in all the things you love doing , but fishing and  hunting  are different.  Hunting is about game on get up and going!  Fishing is about getting out on the water and having fun. My dad is a hunter  and a fisherman. My name is Brenna , and I love fishing and hunting!       

On to fishing.   When I was littler me and my family bought some  minnows to fish with. I really didn’t want to fish at that time.  So instead I got the minnow bucket ,  stuck my hand inside, and pulled out a handful of minnows. After that I fished for a while and used the rest of the time playing with Minnows.  Speaking of, I was down in Florida on Destin beach. Then I went down to the water looking for shells and crabs. I ended up sticking my net in the water and coming up with a net full of minnows. So I spent the rest of the day minnow fishing.   That’s my story and tell all your comrades who like fishing or hunting to check out FOR THE FISHERMAN  at  WordPress.com.   Bye!”

Brenna Jones

From the Mind of a Child

  Written by the daughter of a very proud father…

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Have you ever purchased a new suspending jerkbait only to find out that on your first retrieve, it swims badly to the right, left or does loop-de-loops all the way back to the boat? A lot of people would simply cut the lure off and put it into the abyss that is a tackle box…never to be touched again.

There is a simple way to tune your jerkbait (or any crankbait) so you don’t lose any time chasing big bass in the Spring.

Tips to Correctly Tune Your Jerkbait or Crankbait

  • Take a pair of needle-nose pliers and place it horizontally in line with the bait while you pinch the eyelet on the nose of the bait.
  • Roll your wrist in the OPPOSITE direction of the way the bait is swimming.
  • The adjustment should be done in very small increments
  • Throw the bait out a few yards and retrieve. If the bait still swims incorrectly, repeat the process until the bait swims straight. If the bait over corrects, then roll your wrist in the opposite direction until the bait swims correctly.
  • Click HERE to watch a video on tuning your baits.

If want to invest a few dollars, there are tools on the market designed specifically for tuning baits. These are basically small metal rods with a slit in the end…just big enough to insert the eyelet of the bait. Simply follow the steps above using the tuning tool instead of needle-nose pliers. They can be purchased on-line or at your local fishing tackle store.

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Backing Your Boat Into The Water

Bass fishing lures millions of anglers each year. Warm weather signals fishermen to grab their gear, hook up their boats and head to their favorite lake. Anyone who has been to a boat ramp at first light on a warm spring Saturday realizes that bass fishing is a VERY popular sport.

We’ve all been in line at the boat ramp only to find that one inexperienced boater can bring the boat launch process to a grinding halt. There are things that you can do to expedite the process…experienced or not.

Before You Head To The Lake

If you have not been on the water since last summer or fall, invest in a pair of “ear muffs” for your motor, and test your it before you leave your house. Make sure that your motor is working properly and starts quickly. When you get to the boat ramp, you can quickly launch your boat and get out of the way for the next person to launch.  Don’t wait until you are backed into the water only to find out that your motor won’t start.

If you have started your boat at home but find that it won’t start when you get to the lake, quickly check the following:

  • Kill switch; did it get pulled accidentally?
  • Battery connections; these sometimes loosen due to vibration from traveling.
  • Make sure the ball on your fuel line is hard and primed. If your motor is not getting fuel, it won’t start!

Before You Get In Line

If you are launching your boat at a State Park or private marina, you most likely will have to pay a fee. Fill out the information on the envelope and pay your fee prior to getting in line at the ramp.

Also, unhook your straps and remove your transom saver prior to getting to the water. Only leave your front strap hooked until you boat is in the water.

Backing Your Boat Down the Ramp

Inexperience boaters are often uneasy about backing their boat down straight down the ramp. Follow these techniques

  • Start by making sure your trailer is straight behind your truck. Keep your wheel in line with the side of your truck.
  • Place one hand on the bottom of the steering wheel to determine which way you want the trailer to move. If your boat needs to go to the left, move your bottom hand to the left.
  • Practice in a parking lot away from the lake until you are comfortable backing the trailer in a straight line.

Multi-Slot Boat Ramps

If the boat ramp you are using can accommodate more than one boat at a time, make sure you don’t take up more than one space. This seems like a pretty obvious thing to do, but it happens all the time.

No Partner?

  • If you are fishing without a partner, make sure your front deck is clean and easily accessible. This will make climbing into your boat when it’s backed down the ramp quick and easy.
  • Start your boat and quickly tie it off on the opposite side of the courtesy dock (if there is one) or pull your boat up onto the bank away from the ramp so you don’t block any other boaters once you move your tuck.

Courtesy Dock

The courtesy dock is for unloading your boat. If you have to get rods ready, change lures, re-spool your reel, motor out to the middle of the cove or the lake. Hanging around the courtesy dock will prevent others who ARE launching their boat from using it.

Don’t be the guy at the ramp that everyone hates to have in front of them. Putting your boat in the water should be quick and easy. Do you have any other tips for getting your boat in the water quickly and easily? Let me  know by leaving a comment!

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