Fish are a part of the American experience and the country is blessed with a vast number of them that vary by place, not too unlike the people that try to catch them, from Maine to California. Here’s a look at a few of the favorite catches.
It’s a fish of the surf, a great prize of the Atlantic Coast. The striped bass is a hard-battling fish that grows to immense size. This fish lives at sea in near-coastal waters and migrates inland to spawn in fresh water in the spring of the year.
Stripers can reach 100 pounds. Their favored fare varies by age and time of year, but they are meat-eaters from a very early age. Young fish eat worms, crayfish, fish, and bugs. In reservoirs, they have an affinity for shad and herring. At sea, the adults take lobsters, shrimp, clams, blue crabs, and fish, and are nicknamed “squid hounds” for a reason.
Midwest/Great Lakes–Smallmouth Bass
From small, bouldery, upland, farm creeks to big, deep reservoirs, the smallmouth bass is as midwestern as corn. Native Americans in the upper Midwest called the fish, “ichigan” meaning “the one who struggles.” Ask anyone who’s tangled with a smallmouth bass and they will tell you the reference applies.
Any smallmouth bass over two pounds will leave a mark in your mind. Pull a spinner through a clear creek and with the taut tug of a smallmouth bass it’s game-on.
It’s lauded and lamented. The largemouth bass, which grows to 20 pounds, is without a doubt America’s national game fish. Its aggressive demeanor and willingness to attack a lure with explosive force keeps fishermen coming back for more.
Warm, shallow waters of sluggish southern rivers, oxbows, and farm ponds are home to largemouth bass. They take cover near stumps, rocks, and weed beds, usually over sand or mud. Rarely do they wander beyond the area of rooted vegetation. Depending on the season, they can be found at depths from 10 inches to 40 feet. By habit, they let food come to them as they linger in cover.
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