In more and more lakes now there are good populations of smallmouths and largemouths, or spots and largemouths. In some lakes like Beaver, there’s a pretty fair population of all three. That being the case, a fisherman needs to develop an understanding of the feeding preferences and likely hangouts of the different sorts of bass.
The more varied the cover, structure, depth, current, bait and other factors there are in a lake, the more different the bass are going to behave one from another. For instance, smallmouths seem to like to hunt more; by that I mean they’re likely to move around a lot in open water poking in rocks for crawfish or looking for various types of minnows.
Spotted bass like to hang off points and offshore structure more, especially when there is cover such as brushpiles.
The largemouth bass is more of an ambush predator that prefers cover of some sort where it can hide and ambush anything small enough to get in its mouth. They’ll hug old river ledges offshore if that’s where the shad are likely to pass, but they also might be under a dock near the bank.
It used to be that most of us didn’t have to figure out the nature of two or three different kinds of bass, but that’s the key to success on a lot of lakes now. In some tournaments, you’ll have to depend mainly on going after one type of bass or another as conditions dictate. But the more you learn about where the target is and what makes it tick, the better off your game plan will be.
----- Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner, Gastonia, N.C.