In this post we take a closer look at the Warmouth Bass, a type of sunfish. Learn everything you need to know about where and how to catch this species.
What is A Warmouth Fish?
The Warmouth, Chaenobryttus gulosus, is also commonly known as the warmouth bass, warmouth perch, redeye, goggle-eye and goggle-eyed perch. These fish are popular for their hard hits when it comes to bait and can be found in an extensive range of the US.
What Type of Fish is A Warmouth?
Part of the sunfish family, the Warmouth is a freshwater fish. It has the typical rayed fins of the sunfish group but easily stands out thanks to other characteristics. It’s sometimes confused for a green sunfish or a bluegill.
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Other Names for Warmouth
- Warmouth bass
- Red-eyed bream
- Goggle-eyed perch
- Stump knocker
- Rock bass
- Weed bass
- Wood bass
- Strawberry perch
Warmouth bass populate ponds, rivers, lakes, springs and streams. Muddy bottoms are preferred but they’ll also hang out anywhere there is cover, such as rock ledges or thick vegetation. They can survive in low oxygen areas and are hardier than most other sunfish. Warmouths have also been found in southern parts of Canada.
The easiest way to rule out where a Warmouth can be found is to pay attention to currents. They won’t be in areas with fast-moving water.
Where Can You Find Warmouth
Warmouth bass can be found on the eastern half of the United States, mainly the in the Mississippi River drainage area. They span from the Great Lakes up north, east to Pennsylvania, south to Florida and over to the Gulf of Mexico. Unsurprisingly, this wide range makes the Warmouth an extremely hardy fish and they aren’t picky about habitats.
What Do Warmouth Eat?
As sight feeders, Warmouths are constantly on the lookout for prey and they strike hard and fast. Being tolerant of low oxygen levels in water sources gives the Warmouth an advantage over other sunfish. They’re able to expand their diet and find prey more easily.
This fish’s diet consists mainly of crayfish, insects, and other small fish. Younger Warmouth hunt for insect larvae and microcrustaceans. Warmouth bass love to ambush pray and will lie in wait in thick vegetation or areas with downed logs.
How to Catch Warmouth Fish
Anglers love Warmouth as sport fish, since they hit the bait hard and often break the surface of the water. They’ll be drawn to a variety of bait rigs as they don’t have a narrow scope of prey.
Live bait like minnows or shrimp will draw them out, as will a number of artificial rigs. Try your hand at any of the following and see what the Warmouth in your area respond to best:
- Mule Jigs – are great light multi-species jigs that sink slowly and pair well with Mule Fishing plastics
- Soft Plastics – Soft plastics mimic live bait such as minnows and worms, but may not hold up well long-term
- Hard Baits – Hard baits are able to create more of a punch in the water and draw attention quickly
Best Warmouth fishing rigs?
The Mule Jig is a light, multi-species jig that performs well in many different settings. Despite the light weight, these jigs are durable and can be paired with soft plastics like the Mule Minnow or the well-known Berkley Gulp bait with scent dispersion.
Micro Drop Shot Rig
Drop shot rigs are popular and effective with bass fishing, and that includes the Warmouth. A weight attached to the leader below the hook keeps bait near, but off, the bottom, in the bass’ water column. The micro version of the classic drop shot simulates Warmouth favorites like minnows and small freshwater insects.
Hook and Bobber Rig
A throwback to most childhood fishing, hook and bobber rigs are as effective today as they ever were. The setup allows anglers to set the line and bait at a certain length, adjustable to fit the variety of water sources that Warmouth love. Both live bait and soft plastics pair well with the hook and bobber rig.
Best Warmouth fishing Lures?
Mule Fishing Mule Minnow
Both the 2.2 inch and 1.2 inch Mule Minnows are great options for Warmouth fishing. They’re designed for light line anglers after fish attracted to small bait, and both sizes mimic the real-life movements of a minnow darting through water.
The Trout Magnet is a well-loved lure designed to catch a variety of species. Featuring a soft body and split tail, this is a versatile lure available in kits with different color and size options. Trout Magnets are an essential for any basic lure kit.
Berkley Gulp Minnows
Gulp! Minnows are a favorite of fishermen for good reason. The rigs are versatile and incredibly life-like. Berkley outfitted their bait with scent dispersion, drawing the attention of any fish in the area quickly. They can be rigged just as you would a live minnow and come in a variety of colors and sizes.
What kind of Gear Do You Need for Warmouth Fishing?
Some essential gear for Warmouth fishing include an ultralight rod, reel, light fishing line, and basic tackle outfit.
Ultralight rods and the gear paired with it (like ultralight spinning reels and line) go a long way in getting you bites in overfished areas. It can also make a smaller fish feel big when it comes to fight, which makes the sport more fun even on light days.
Look for a middle-of-the-road ultralight rod, line under 6lb weight, an ultralight spinning reel, and a basic panfish tackle set. If you’re putting the latter together yourself, try experimenting with some soft plastics, classic lures like the Trout Magnet, and live bait.
What is a Good Warmouth Fishing Kit?
Leland’s Lures Panfish Magnet Kit is the perfect outfit for catching Warmouth bass. This kit includes seven unique tried-and-tested colors as well as size 8 hooks. Like the Bluegill and Redear, Warmouth bass are a sunfish and could be considered a panfish based on their size. This kit is sure to draw their attention as soon as any of the bait hits the water.
What is a Good Warmouth Fishing Rod?
Okuma Celilo Ultralight Rod
The Okuma Ultralight is composed of lightweight graphite, a sensitive material that will really make you feel the fight of every fish you bring in. It’s designed specifically for sportfishing and the selected material leads to smooth and specific action no matter where you’re fishing.
What is a Good Warmouth Fishing Reel?
13 Fishing Source K Size 1000
13 Fishing’s Spinning Reel has an ambidextrous design and is made of graphite for that lightweight feel, with a sturdy stainless steel handle. This is a great reel to pair with an ultralight rod and line. Anglers have complimented both the durability of this product and the ease of use.
What is the Best Fishing Line for Warmouth?
Berkley’s Trilene Sensation line
2-4lb, is an excellent choice for Warmouth fishing. Despite the light weight, this line is tough and will hold up against any fish putting up a fight. Even when wet, the Trilene line’s multi-polymer nylon holds up.
Are Warmouth Good To Eat?
Like other sunfish, Warmouth are great to eat. The main difference between the Warmouth and the rest of the sunfish family is that this fish is thicker across the back and has more meat on it. Despite that, it is still considered a bony fish and care should be taken in preparation.
Warmouth are great deep fried or baked depending on your preference. The meat can be breaded first and usually tastes good, though you’ll probably need more than one fish to make a meal. What your Warmouths are eating will affect how they taste, so pay attention to the conditions of the water source you’re pulling them from. Muddy conditions usually equal muddy taste.
How Big Can A Warmouth Get?
A warmouth can get pretty big. They average 4-10 inches in length, but have been know to get as long as 12 inches in length. They also average 1.5lbs and can get up to 2.25 lbs.
How Fast Do Warmouth Grow?
Warmouth grow pretty quickly, they reach sexual maturity within 2-3 years.
What is The Life Expectancy of a Warmouth?
The average life expectancy of a Warmouth is about 6 years.
What is the average weight of a Warmouth?
The average weight of a Warmouth is 1.5 lbs and can get up to 2.25 lbs.
What is the World Record Warmouth?
Tony Dempsey reigns as the angler who caught the largest Warmouth on record, at 2lb 7oz. This fish was caught in Guess Lake, Holt, Florida.
When Do Warmouth Spawn?
Like other fish, Warmouth spawn in the spring once they reach sexual maturity at around 3 to 4 inches. Water temperatures must reach at least 71 degrees Fahrenheit to entice these fish to spawn. Like other sunfish, males create a disc-shaped nest for females to lay their eggs. After a three day incubation period, the eggs hatch. Nests are usually located in covered areas like rock shelfs or stumps, and males will defend the nests aggressively.
Is a Warmouth a Rockbass?
Despite being commonly called a rock bass, the Warmouth is a different species from a Rock Bass. These two fish belong to the same family but can be told apart by a few key features. To start, Warmouth are smaller than Rock Bass. The Warmouth also has a golden belly instead of the Rock Bass’ white. Lateral lines of black spots cover the Rock Bass’ body whereas the Warmouth has a brown blotchy coloration. Rock Bass also stand out due to their red or orange eyes.
If you’re looking for a fish that has everything, the Warmouth makes a solid bid for the title. A classic panfish with the spirit of a fighter, this fish is good eating and easy to find in a variety of settings.
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