Creature Feature

Creature Feature – “Falling” for Bass

Posted by  //  November 22, 2023  //  Articles, Creature Feature

For many anglers, bass are a favorite fish to target during the summer, but the fun doesn’t need to end in fall when bass put on the pre-winter feedbag.  Based on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) fishing regulations, the regular season for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass wraps up on November 30th.  From December 1st through June 14th, bass anglers must practice strict catch and release using only artificial lures.  

New to bass fishing?  To discern one bass species from the other, use these three basic identification tips.  Firstly, look at the jaw.  In Largemouth Bass, the jaw extends past the eye, whereas in Smallmouth, it ends at the eye.  Next, check out the markings:  Largemouth have a dark-colored horizontal band running along their body [see photo], while Smallmouth typically have numerous vertical bars.  Lastly, compare the 2-segmented dorsal fin (located on the fish’s back) which is more deeply notched on the Largemouth than on the Smallmouth.

Bass fishing can be challenging in the fall, especially after the lakes turn over.  Downsizing lures is one tip shared by the pros, as well as slowing down your presentation.  Some good lure choices for fall include smaller spinnerbaits, square-billed or lipless crankbaits, plastic minnows and jigs.  As always, please fish with lead-free tackle to prevent fatally poisoning aquatic birds and other wildlife.  Safe and clean natural resources are well worth the extra cost for lead-free alternatives.

By Margie Manthey

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