The Rock Bass
Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris) are members of the sunfish family and are not a true bass. They are known by the following names: Black Perch, Google-Eye, Red Eye and Rock Sunfish. Do not mistaken the name Red Eye with the Redeye Bass as the Redeye Bass is actually a separate species (Micropterus cosae).
As a membr of the sunfish family, it is a strong predator and lays in wait for its prey hidden under cover. Like all members of the sunfish family, it has a panfish shape with a strong tail that allows it to launch from standing to strike it's prey and because of it compact size, it is able to make rapid course corrections.
A Small Fighter
Like most Bass, the Rock Bass puts up a good fight. When you set the hook on one of these fish, you get a sense that it is a small smallmouth bass and not something small like a Rock Bass.
Rock bass have found themselves introduced to many parts of North America. However, this has had a negative effect on many local fish species. They are forascious eaters and tend to eat more than their fair share of local bait fish. They also have a shorter spawning cycle than other local fish, like the Roanoke Bass, which puts greater stress on the Roanoke Bass. While the Roanoke Bass is threatened, the negative effects of the Rock Bass extends far beyond the Roanoke Bass, causing a reduction in trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, perch and other fresh wate species.
Their meat is white and firm, which makes them a good eating fish. However, due to the nature of their habitat, they can have a muddy flavour and are host to multiple parasites. As a result, all species of Rock Bass are considered garbage fish by most sport fishermen. Bass Fishing Gurus does not recommend this fish for sport anglers. However, it is a fun family fish to catch for young children as it does not require anything more than a light tackle rod and reel that can be obtained for as little as $30.00.
They are popular among young anglers as they are one of the larger fish to be found around docks, rocky areas and other protected areas, reaching to 1.5 lbs quite often, though the record is over three pounds. Simple baits are easy to get them to strike such as simple earth worms and leeches on a standard size hook with a split shot and a simple bobber. And when they strike, they come in the form of nibbles.
These fish have the ability to rapidly change their colour to match their surroundings. It is this chameleon-like trait that allows them to thrive as they are known to overpopulate lakes that do not have a diversity of other fish.
Rock Bass are not an overly fussy fish and it does have a big appitite. They will eat insects, fathead minnows, golden shiners, gizzard shad, crayfish, worms and leeches. However, the best bet for the Rock Bass is simply the worm. Don't waste your time with expensive lures or baits. Simple earth or dew worms will surfice.