Most bass are sexually maturity within one to two year. However, spotted bass found in spawning areas are typically three years or older. Preferred spawning sites are rock and gravel where the males build nest once the water temperatures are in 57-74°F range. Egg numbers vary from a 1,000 to over 40,000. As with other black bass males guard the nest for several weeks.
Fry have a diet of zooplankton that shift to insects then to fish and crayfish and the bass matures.
Fish can comprise as much as 50% of spotted bass’s diet, but typically consume about one-half as much fish as largemouth. Spotted bass seem to occupy habitat between the preferences of largemouth and smallmouth bass, taking up residence in more current than largemouth bass, yet too warm, turbid, and sluggish for smallmouth bass. Spots can be found around aquatic vegetation, submerged logs, and rock.
Spotted Bass are also know as Kentucky Spotted Bass, or simply Spots. This black bass is native to the Mississippi River basin and the Gulf States, from central Texas through Northern Florida. This smaller cousin of the largemouth is often mistaken for it. The spotted bass is a slender fish with black blotches along the middle of the body; with age, these join to form an irregular band.
While spots are similar in coloring, their mouth is smaller and the lower jaw does not extend past the often reddish eye. While Kentucky Spotted Bass grow to 25 inches and weights of 10 lb, their typical size is in the 12 to 17 inch range. They are known to live seven years or more.
Spotted Bass in Texas
Micropterus is Greek meaning "small fin" [see Guadalupe bass for further explanation]. The species epithet punctulatus, Latin for "dotted", refers to rows of dark spots on the lower sides. Coloration is similar to that of Guadalupe bass, but does not extend as low on the body.
Although a large proportion reach maturity within a year, spotted bass found in spawning areas are usually three to four years old. Rock and gravel are usually chosen as suitable spawning areas at water temperatures of 57-74°F. Nest depths may vary widely. Females may lay between 1,150 and 47,000 eggs. Males guard the eggs during incubation and for up to four weeks after they have hatched. As young fish grow their diet shifts from zooplankton to insects, and finally to fish and crayfish.
Spotted bass seem to be segregated by habitat type from closely related species. They tend to be found in areas with more current than largemouth bass, and they usually inhabit areas that are too warm, turbid, and sluggish for smallmouth bass.
Despite the fact that spotted bass are not nearly so large and numerous as largemouth bass (in Texas their maximum size is less than one-third that of largemouth bass), they are excellent fighters. Spotted bass are very popular in east Texas, particularly in the Sabine, Neches, and Cypress Rivers. Known maximum size in Texas exceeds 5.5 pounds.
Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Description