The largemouth bass of Florida (Micropterus salmoides floridanus) is a subspecies of largemouth related to the northern version. The largemouth bass in Florida, which have the opportunity to feed extensively year round, typically are larger when compared to their northern cousins. The largemouth is the biggest fish in the sunfish clan, with the rare specimen able to exceed 15 lbs. The largemouth has a light green side with a darker green line along it. The Florida largemouth had an original distribution in the peninsula region of the state but conservation efforts have been able to stock this species in other states, like Texas. The largemouth bass lives in a variety of ecosystems, from weedy lakes and ponds to rivers, where they stay in the slow-moving sections. The adult largemouth has a diet consisting of such creatures as insects, frogs, fish, mice and crayfish. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website says that the largemouth is the premiere sporting species in the state. It will chase and strike a variety of lures such as spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and surface plugs.
The spotted bass (Micropterus punctulatus) has many names, such as Kentucky bass and northern spotted bass. This type looks similar to the largemouth bass, with the green color and a green stripe along the sides. However, this species rarely exceeds 18 inches and is smaller than the largemouth bass. The jaw of the largemouth bass will extend past the eye of the fish, but on a spotted bass, this is not the case, which enables you to identify one from the other. In Florida, this type of bass resides in the Panhandle region in rivers and streams. It likes clear water that has a gravelly or rocky bottom and will stay clear of brackish water. Crayfish, bugs and small fish comprise most of its menu. The spotted bass gives a fine account of itself when hooked on light tackle. Anglers commonly use lures such as small plastic crayfish and worms, spinners and jigs to catch this bass. As table fare, the spotted bass has tasty flaky meat.
The Suwannee bass (Micropterus notius) is a distinct species of bass that at one time only existed in the Ochlockonee River and Suwannee River systems. The fish has since expanded its range to surrounding rivers and streams. This Florida bass species is usually less than a foot long and has a stocky body. The world record bass of this type, as of February 2010, is less than 4 lbs.--caught in the Suwannee River in 1985. You can identify the Suwannee bass by obvious turquoise markings on the breast and on the cheek. Its preferred habitat is quickly flowing water. The fish spawns from February through June in water that is from 65 to 68 degrees F. The adults will capture and eat crayfish as well as smaller fish, while the younger fish eat many kinds of insects. Anglers normally will not target this fish since it is small, but those they do encounter will fight hard. Like most bass, the Suwannee bass will attack spinnerbaits, shiners and plastic worms.