Fishing & Boating News

Paddling Strokes – New Named Fish on the Neches River

by: Michael Banks, DDS,

Texas angler Josh Helmstetler with Texas State Record Spotted Bass weighing 5.98 pounds.
Photo by unknown
Michele Banks Ebert with her Neches River Spotted Bass
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS
(Oct 24, 2016 - Jacksonville, TX)


The Spotted Bass (Micropterus panctulatos) is also known as Kentucky Bass or Redeye.   Although very similar to a black, largemouth bass, the Spotted Bass has several anatomical landmarks identifying its species.  The first landmark identifying the Spotted Bass is that the corner of the closed mouth does not go past the eye as the mouth does in the largemouth species. Because of the smaller mouth the Spotted Bass is sometimes called a smallmouth bass but is not the true Smallmouth Bass species. Next landmark is there are lines on the belly which turn into spots, giving the bass its name of Spotted Bass or “Spot” for short.  A Largemouth will have a white belly.  The eye does have a “red” appearance.

Some say Spotted Bass have little teeth on the tongue but my professional opinion after having looked at tongues all my career is it is best to use the other landmarks to identify Spotted Bass rather than the teeth on the tongue.  Texas Parks and Wildlife does use the “teeth on the tongue” to identify a Spotted Bass.

Spotted Bass are smaller than their cousins, the Largemouth Bass.  Most Texas lake Spots are in the two pound range. The current world record Spotted Bass is 10.48-pound from California's New Melones Reservoir that was caught in 2014 by Keith Bryan.  Texas angler Josh Helmstetler was fishing Lake Alan Henry near Lubbock, TX, when he caught the new Texas State Record Spotted Bass weighing 5.98 pounds.

The current world record for the Largemouth Bass was set by Manabu Kurita with a 22-pound, 5-ounce monster caught on Lake Biwa in Japan. The previous record had been standing since 1932 when George Perry caught a 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth from Montgomery Lake in Georgia.  The Texas record for Largemouth Bass is 18.18 pounds caught by Barry St. Clair of Athens, Texas from Lake Fork on January 24, 1992.  Texas Parks and Wildlife’s ShareLunker program seeks to bring the world record Largemouth Bass record back to the United States and Texas!

Sometimes when spending time in the outdoors – observing - one will have a revelation.  The Spotted Bass on the Neches River must be a hybrid with the Largemouth Bass.  The Spots on the Neches River have the landmarks of a Spotted Bass but are larger and have a plumper body design than the usual Spots found on Texas’ lakes.  Neches River Spots, by appearance, can be distinguished from a Texas lake Spot.  Attached picture is my daughter, Michele Banks Ebert with her Neches River Spotted Bass caught kayak fishing on July 7, 2016, weighing over four pounds!  We should have officially weighed this fish as it could have been close to a Texas state record.  Observe the identifying characteristics making this a Spotted Bass but having a large size, possibly a hybrid - with the new name – Neches River Spotted Bass or for short, Neches Spot.

Fisherman’s observation – the Neches River Spotted Bass fights harder than any Texas freshwater game fish!  New name with a reputation!

Until we put in again,