Freshwater anglers will find black bass and striper bass in Florida's rivers, lakes, and ponds. Florida's black bass include the largemouth, shoal, spotted and Suwannee bass. Striper bass include white, striped and the hybrid sunshine bass. Cichlids such as the peacock bass have also been introduced into Florida's freshwater systems.
Florida Largemouth Bass
A dark lateral line runs across the green to brown sides of the Florida largemouth bass. A deep dip between the first and second dorsal fins and an upper jaw that extends beyond the back of the eye easily distinguish this bass from other members of the black bass family.
The shoal bass was once considered a subspecies of the redeye bass found in other states. Now classified as a distinct species, the shoal bass exhibits many of the features of spotted bass with the addition of black tiger-like stripes along its green to nearly black upper body.
Dark spots along its white belly, diamond-shaped blotches along the greenish mid-section of the body, and a clearly connected first and second dorsal fin distinguishes the spotted bass from other members of the black bass.
The state record for a Suwannee bass is less than four pounds indicating the small nature of this fish. Aside from their relatively small size, Suwannee bass may be identified by the brilliant patches of blue-green color on their head.
The striped bass found in Florida's rivers and lakes exhibit seven to eight sometimes-broken dark stripes along their gold to silver colored sides, a green to gray dorsal region and white bellies. The striped bass grows significantly larger than other stripers with a state record over 42 pounds.
While similar in many respects, at an average size of one pound, white bass are significantly smaller than striped bass. The white bass is not as elongated proportional to striped bass and the dorsal fins appear closer together. Hatchery produced hybrids of white and striped bass with broken lines that run across the sides of their body distinguishing them from white or striped bass are stocked in Florida waters.
Article Written By David Chandler
David Chandler has been a freelance writer since 2006 whose work has appeared in various print and online publications. A former reconnaissance Marine, he is an active hiker, diver, kayaker, sailor and angler. He has traveled extensively and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida where he was educated in international studies and microbiology.