The Rock Bass is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. While fairly good eating cooked fresh, Rock Bass are generally not regarded by most anglers as a food fish of the quality of Bluegill or Perch. These fish have the ability to rapidly change their color to match their surroundings. This chameleon-like trait allows them to thrive throughout their wide range. The Rock Bass prefers clear, rocky, and vegetated stream pools and lake margins. Rocky banks of northeastern lakes and reservoirs are a common habitat for Rock Bass. It is carnivorous, and its diet consists of smaller fish, insects, and crustaceans.
Rock bass, Warmouth and Green Sunfish are similar in appearance. They are stockily built, and from a side view have a body shape somewhat like the Bluegill. Their mouths are quite large and strong in comparison to the Bluegill and pumpkinseed, though. Both Rock Bass and Warmouth have reddish eyes, especially noticeable in freshly caught Rock Bass. To tell them apart, remember that the Rock Bass has five spines in its anal fin, while the Warmouth and Green Sunfish have only three. The Warmouth has a small band of teeth near the tip of its tongue, and fewer than 45 scales in the lateral line. The Green Sunfish has no teeth near the tip of the tongue, has more than 45 scales in the lateral line, and has a dark spot at the base of the last three soft dorsal rays.
Most Rock Bass hunters prefer using a small 1/16 oz. jig, that is tipped with a red worm, wax worm, or piece of nightcrawler. Most Rock Bass will take a nightcrawler, but it is also good to try spinners and spoons. If it is the summer, Rock Bass can be found on gravel or on rock bars in about 6-15 feet of water. If it is fall, the Rock Bass will be in about the same depth water, and in thicker vegetation or along a deeper rock stretch. You should have a slower jigging motion, but it should be constant if you are using a jig. If you are using a small spoon, its best to let the spoon drop to the bottom and jerk it up while you retrieve. Either way, the motion should be relatively constant. Make sure you don't set it too hard, or you can rip the hook out of the fish's mouth.
Rock Bass are native to the St Lawrence River and Great Lakes system, the upper and middle Mississippi River basin in North America from Québec to Saskatchewan in the north down to Missouri and Arkansas, and throughout the eastern U.S. from New York through Kentucky and Tennessee to the northern portions of Alabama and Georgia and Florida in the south.