No matter if you prefer artificial lures or live bait, rock bass are a versatile fish that all anglers can go after. They have a wide distribution range and have even been kept as pets in aquariums. Though less aggressive than other sunfish species, they’re just as fun to catch.
What is A Rock Bass
The rock bass, Ambloplites rupestris, is a freshwater fish that belongs to the sunfish family. As with other sunfish, making a positive ID can be tough, but rockbass have some defining features. This is not the same fish as the warmouth, though they’re often confused.
Why is it Called a Rock Bass?
Rock bass get their colloquial and most common name from their love of rocky habitats. In shallow water they hide behind bulky structures like rock outcroppings or particularly rocky bottoms. These fish also go by goggle-eye, red eye and rock perch.
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What Type of Fish is a Rock Bass
A part of the Centrarchidae family, rock bass are both sunfish and panfish. They live in freshwater habitats and, like other sunfish, have spiny fins. They are similar in features to other bass but can be easily differentiated by some key identifiers. Rockbass are also commonly confused for warmouth.
If you’re interested in catching a rock bass, the most important part of finding this fish is the habitat. Unlike other sunfish who are comfortable in many different water sources, rockbass prefer slow-moving and shallow water. They stick to the banks and congregate around structures, especially rocky areas of a slow-moving source, away from vegetation. Despite preferring colder water, rock bass become active at the hottest part of the day.
Where Can I Find Rockbass Fish??
Native to the Mississippi drainage, rockbass can be found in any of the offshoots of this water source all the way to the northeast coast and south. They’ve also been stocked in countless water sources that drain out to the Atlantic Ocean. Just remember to avoid fast-moving currents and heavily vegetated areas.
What Do Rockbass Eat?
The great thing about catching rock bass is that no matter what bait you have on you, you have a fair chance of bringing one in. Anglers fishing for largemouth bass often end up with a rockbass on the line despite their smaller size; they have disproportionately large mouths. In their natural habitat rock bass compete with the smallmouth bass for minnows, insects and crustaceans. They eat mostly in the early morning and evening hours.
How to Catch a Rockbass Fish?
As stated above, rock bass aren’t shy when it comes to bait. Anglers have tried and had success with spinner lures, micro jigs, Mule jigs and soft plastics. Basically any lure that looks like prey and can fit in their mouths, they’ll go after aggressively. These fish also respond well to live bait, including insects, worms and minnows. Micro jigs are a great option if you’re fishing a tight spot with the underwater structures rockbass love.
Best rockbass fishing rigs?
Below we’ve listed some of the best rock bass fishing rigs that’ll bring them in fighting:
Micro Drop Shot
Micro drop shots are perfect for those hard-to-reach places, where rockbass like to hang out. It can be heartbreaking to lose your tackle in rocky areas, which is why micro rigs are a great option for this particular fish. They’ll also simulate the rock bass’ much-loved insect prey.
Mule jigs are all-around great additions to your tackle box. They’re perfect for sunfish and panfish, of which the rock bass belongs to. If you’re using soft plastics with your Mule jig, don’t be afraid of using a slightly larger size – rockbass have big mouths.
Jig spinners attack attention in those hard-hitting fish, and though rock bass are less aggressive than other bass out there, they’re still active and will come after anything that moves quickly. When choosing a jig spinner, go for a smaller size to simulate common prey.
Best rockbass fishing Lures?
These fishing lures are sure to attract the right kind of attention when you’re fishing in rock bass waters.
Mule Fishing Donkey Tail Jr
The Donkey Tail Jr. is quickly becoming a fishermen’s favorite, and as a multispecies lure you can’t go wrong adding it to your tackle box. This lure simulates the baitfish that rock bass love to go after in shallow, calm water.
Berkley Gulp Minnows
Minnows are another common prey item for rock bass. Berkley’s Gulp Minnows are so realistic you might do a double-take when you pick up the pack. Their color variation and sizes, as well as the texture, are life-like and a great alternative if you don’t want to fish live bait.
The Wee-Craw does a great job of mimicking crawfish. For its small size and the price range, the Craw has a surprisingly realistic paint job and immediately draws the attention of a variety of species.
What kind of Gear Do You Need for rockbass Fishing?
As with other sunfish and panfish, the ideal gear for rock bass fishing will be your ultralight fishing options. Not only is ultralight gear more convenient for trekking in and around water sources, it does an amazing job of simulating life bait. Get your hands on an ultralight rod and reel kit, plus a 2-4lb line. Tackle should be on the smaller side as rockbass usually hunt for tiny crustaceans, insects and minnows – look for ultralight jigs.
What is a Good rockbass Fishing Kit?
Leland’s Lures Panfish Magnet Kit
Leland’s Lures Panfish Magnet Kit is an essential for anyone working their way down the panfish checklist. It has everything you need to knock off the variety of fish in the sunfish family, and is guaranteed to attract multiple species in the water source you’re fishing. This kit comes with 70 split tail grub bodies and size 8 hooks.
What is a Good rockbass Fishing Rod?
13 Fishing Defy Silver
The Defy Silver rod from 13 Fishing is a great option for anglers who like to fish a variety of species and locations with a solid set of gear. This rod is perfect for those hard-hitting fish or the gentler sunfish out there, and everything in between. There are several ultralight options in this style as well.
What is a Good rockbass Fishing Reel?
13 Fishing Source K Size 1000
The Source K is the perfect accompaniment to 13 Fishing’s Defy rod. These spinning reels are made of stainless steel and aluminum and are surprisingly sturdy despite their light weight.
What is the Best Fishing Line for rockbass?
Berkley’s Trilene Sensation line
Although they have larger mouths than other sunfish, rock bass sit between redears and smallmouth in the family. They’ll come after prey aggressively, but won’t necessarily fight as hard as other fish. This means a 2-4lb Trilene Sensation line is the perfect setup for these fish. It gives a light touch to the bait, but has the strength to pull in your fish.
When do Rockbass Spawn
Once they hit 2-3 years of age, rock bass spawn from April to June. These fish seek out warm waters and will have multiple mates between both sexes during the spawning. Females lay anywhere from 2,000 to 11,000 eggs at the nest males dig out. Males are often aggressive as rockbass clump their nests together and competition will be fierce.
How Big Do rockbass Get?
The average rock bass sits between 5-7 inches but can reach up to 12 inches in length.
What is the World Record rockbass Fish?
The IGFA World Record rock bass weighed in at 3lbs and was caught in 1998. This fish was found in the York River in Ontario, Canada.
what is the lifespan of a rockbass
Rockbass living in their natural habitat reach maturity at 2-3 years of age and can live to be eight years old. In captivity, rock bass have reached 10-12 years max.
Are rockbass Fish Good to Eat?
Like other sunfish, the rock bass has a delicate, white, flaky flesh. However, there isn’t much meat on these fish, so anglers don’t go after them as “good eatin’.”
Is rock bass the same as crappie?
The rockbass and the crappie are two different fish, both under the umbrella of sunfish and panfish. At first glance these fish will look similar – they share the same sharp fins as all sunfish, however rock bass have 11-13 dorsal spines while crappies have only 7-8. In terms of coloration, crappies have a white/silver/black patterned body and rock bass are an earthier olive color with red-orange eyes.
Are Rockbass actually Bass?
The term “bass” can get confusing as it’s used across a variety of fish species. Rock bass are not the same as black bass, for example, but they’re related. Rock bass and other “bass” in the sunfish family are smaller than the true bass. In general, rock bass can be identified by their shorter, flatter body.
Now that you know how to find, identify and tempt a rock bass, it’s time to get out there and try your hand at catching a few. Keep in mind that these fish enjoy a very specific habitat – not where you’d usually go looking. While they may not be the best in terms of a meal, rock bass are still fun and challenging to catch for anglers of all ages.
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