Rock Bass are one of the most aggressive panfish. They will strike a variety of baits and lures and they will hit your bait extremely hard at times. Like most sunfish, rock bass rarely exceed 2 pounds. Rock bass as big as 3 pounds have been caught, but most fish are in the 6 to 9 inch range. Known as a very strong fish, they are very fun to catch for younger anglers. At times, rock bass can be annoying because these fish will school up in large numbers and continue to bite your live baits. On some lakes, if you fish with live bait, you may go through a couple hundred nightcrawlers a day because of all the rock bass. Rock bass feed on insects, crustaceans, nightcrawlers, red worms, spikes, wax worms and small minnows.
Rock bass can be found in many different types of lakes, rivers and streams. These fish prefer rocky bottoms, but you can find them near weeds and wood also. Good numbers of rock bass can be found along the various types of shoreline cover from spring through fall, but many of the bigger rock bass will be found in deeper water during the summer and fall months.
How to Catch Rock Bass
Rock bass are easy to catch. Everything we cover in our sunfish section as far as catching sunfish will work with rock bass. The one thing that separates them from other sunfish though is the size of their mouth. Rock bass have a bigger mouth which allows them to eat some bigger baits.
These fish can easily be caught on tiny pieces of nightcrawlers, red worms, spikes, wax worms, small leeches and even small minnows. Because of their bigger mouths, anglers will also catch them on bass jigs, wacky worms, other soft plastics and small lures that would also work for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.
Many anglers will fish for rock bass in the shallows along docks or rocky shorelines with with a bobber or drop shot rig. During the summer and fall, try using drop shot rigs and slip bobbers in deeper water from 12 to 25 feet down depending on the water clarity and the where the thermocline has set in the summer. Rock bass are easy to catch. Find a school and you’ll catch plenty.
Eating Rock Bass
Most anglers don’t think too highly of rock bass as table fare, however, there are plenty of people who do eat rock bass. You may want to try frying some up in your favorite fish batter to see if you like them.