Small mouth bass have been around for many years and are not native to Nova Scotia. In the early years, they were introduced into lakes that did not have tributaries so they could not move to other water courses.
That worked well for a time, but then folks who liked to fish for bass and enjoyed catching them started moving them from lake to lake. This became a problem and as a consequence, bass are now classified as an invasive species because of how fast they spread and the effect that they have on resident fish. That is why there are new laws forbidding anyone without a permit from transporting live fish.
So, although small mouth bass are invasive and have a major negative effect on our resident fish, they are fun and easy to catch. Their natural habitat is moving water and they can be found in many of the rivers along the South Shore. Small mouth bass can also be found in many of the lakes throughout the region as well.
Fishing for bass and what type of tackle to use is also very straightforward. Live baits and trolling are two very good ways to catch small mouth bass. Live bait includes worms or minnows and trolling is pulling your bait behind a boat while slowly travelling along the shore. Keep in mind when bass are feeding, they will cruise right up to the shoreline. There is now a very large industry selling bass tackle and the varieties are endless.
My suggestion is to find a couple of baits that you like and stick with those. Try something you can drag along the bottom like Texas rigged worms, something that swims like jerk bait or something you can bounce from the bottom to the top of the water column, like tube bait. As to what colour you should use, they all work.
If you are in a boat, fish towards shore, around any kind of structure, (rocks, weeds, bushes, wharf or dock) or any kind of break in the water column like where the water is five-metres deep and then rises to one metre. There should be fish in all of these spots.
If you are fishing from shore, always start close to shore — parallel if possible — then fan out to deep water. When fishing brooks and rivers (moving water) look for structure, back eddies or breaks in the moving water. Bass will be there, too.
There are a few cautions to be aware of when fishing bass. Bass have two dorsal fins; one is spiked and one is not. These spikes are very sharp and must be avoided. There is a white spot on their gill plate which should also be avoided and there is also a spine in front of the anal fin.
So how do you handle these fish? The best way is to lip them. Put your thumb in their mouth and clamp down. They have no teeth, just rough gums that feel like sandpaper. Bass are easy to catch and are a great way to get kids into fishing so give it a try.
Two bass tournaments are coming up. Lake Side Bass Club will host a tournament on July 7 at Kempt Black Lake and South Shore Bass Masters will host a tournament on July 15 at Mushamush Lake