Fish Identification: Rock Bass (pan fish)

Rock Bass

Characteristics: Rock Bass are close cousins to largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Like their cousins they are also a brownish green color but they have rows of dark coloured spots. One of their most definitive features is their red eye. They resemble smallmouth bass but are usually quite smaller. They can range in size but are usually anywhere from 6-8inches in size and will usually weigh in under one pound.

How to handle: Just like the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass they too have no teeth so you can feel quite safe with putting your fingers in its mouth to pull your hook out. Since they are small fish you can usually put your whole hand around them, making sure to push their fins down as your grab them so as to not puncture yourself. Once they are caught they will not put up much a fight and if they are firmly grasped in your hand you need not worry that they will flop around.

Where to find them: Rock bass are some of the most abundant species of fish in North America. They can be found in almost all lakes and slow moving rivers. They prefer to hand out in rock piles, hence their name, and can be found in anywhere from 1’ to 10’ of water. These fish are very abundant and do not seem to be spooked by manmade structures. They can be often found just off shore, in and around docks, bridges, and in weeds. I have even seen them underwater while swimming in some of my local lakes. They are active during early summer to late fall, but will provide the most action in the middle of the summer.

How to catch them: Many anglers consider rocky bass to be a pest. Since they are so abundant and do not make for great eating, when anglers catch them they usually quickly get them off the hook and throw them back into the water. However, if you have never fished before or are looking to take some kids out for a day of fishing, rocky bass are an excellent fish to catch. They are active all day and you do not need to cast out far to catch them. They do not fight too hard so a child can easily reel one in. They eat insects, leeches, worms, and other small fish, but if you wish to simply target rocky bass for fun, a worm and bobber combo are the best option for a full day of catching these little guys.

Rock Bass