That’s what it can be like when you’re fishing for spotted bass (Micropterus punctulatus), also known as the Kentucky spotted bass or spotted black bass.
During a recent trip to Nacimiento Lake, in Bradley, Calif., it took a whole two casts before I hooked up with my first spotted bass. I was fishing from the shore in the mid-afternoon with pleasure boats roaring by left and right, but the spots were still smashing my streamer.
Where to Find Them
While Nacimiento holds a steady population of spotted bass, the species is not very common in California. The species is more likely to be found in the South from Texas to Florida being native to the East Texas from the Guadalupe River to the Red River.
Habitat and Description
Your best bet is to focus on rocky shorelines and coves when fishing for spotted bass. For those who aren’t familiar with spotted bass, you can identify these little, but scrappy, fish by their bright orange eyes and distinct patch of teeth on their tongue.
Although they rarely exceed three or four pounds, spots can fight like a pesky little largemouth and are often mistaken for them because of their similar colorations and markings. The spots above the horizontal line, however, are what set them apart.
The natural habitat for these fish is clear, rocky flows and runs from creeks and small rivers, so try hunting for structure along rocky coves and inlets. If you find submerged brush, logs or heavy cover, you’re going to have a fun, whether you throwing small minnow look-alikes, jigs or streamers.
Tackle and Flies
Light to ultra-light reels, rods and lines should work fine for spotted bass, which rarely get bigger than 2-3 pounds.
Good flies for bass include leeches, nymphs, crayfish and baitfish patterns, or terrestrials or poppers in the evenings when fish become active on the surface.
Looking for something different? Try a little spring training for that summer trout trip you’ve got planned for this summer. Try dusting off the old fly rod and head down to your local spotted bass pond where the spots make a perfect trout substitute.
Try tossing white and yellow streamers, woolly buggers or Clouser Minnows and you’ll be ready for your next trout getaway in no time.