The Smallmouth Bass

The smallmouth is another popular freshwater gamefish targeted in North America. These powerful little football shaped black bass put up one tough fight making them a incredibely fun catch!

While the name smallmouth may make you think of these fish as being smaller than their largemouth cousins, the world record smallmouth bass is nearly 12 lbs!

How To Identify A Smallmouth Bass

Unlike spotted bass, smallmouth's are easily differentiated from largemouth bass. The smallmouth bass gets its name from its considerably smaller mouth. Their jaw also doesn't extend beyond the eye like the largemouth's. Another notable differences is the smallmouth's distinct vertical barring down its side, as opposed to large and spotted bass's lateral line. Their dorsal fin is also not as profoundly notched as a largemouth's.

  • Vertical barring along the sides; largemouth have a lateral line.
  • Jaw does not extend beyond the back margin of the eye when mouth is closed.
  • Brownish-green color; white belly area does not extend high on the sides.

Alternative Common Names For The Smallmouth Bass

  • Bronzeback
  • Brown Bass
  • Brownie
  • Smallie
  • Bronze bass
  • Bareback bass
A picture of a smallmouth bass. How to tell if it's a small mouth bass.