Smallmouth Bass can get as big as 27 inches in length and as heavy as 11lbs. However, these are record sizes and you’re much more likely to come across smallmouths of average size which would be between 8-16 inches and weigh 1.50-3.0lbs
Average Size of Smallmouth Bass
Data tells us that the average smallmouth bass is somewhere between 8-16 inches long, with the largest recorded length of 27.2 inches. This would tell us that every fish over 16 inches is considered good-sized, with fish over 20 inches being trophies!
Although this info is quite straightforward, some factors need to be taken into account when talking about smallmouth bass size.
The average length is calculated using data from the whole smallmouth bass habitat range. This covers a lot of territory with completely different conditions – which affect the smallmouth bass growth!
As a result, fish from one habitat will have a larger/smaller average size when compared to fish from a habitat with different conditions/growth factors.
A variety of factors can affect the smallmouth bass growth rate, but the most important one is the water temperature. Thus, smallmouth bass living to the north will have a slower growth rate and smaller largest length than smallmouth bass living to the south.
When talking about smallmouth bass length, it is important to emphasize the effect of the water type. Fish living in flowing water will have elongated bodies adapted to swimming in moving water, and will thus have a bigger average length than smallmouth bass from lacustrine waters!
How Big do Smallmouth Bass Get in Weight?
The average weight for smallmouth bass is somewhere between 1.5-3 pounds, with a reported growth limit of 12 pounds (10 lb being more realistic). Considering fish bigger than 6-7 pounds – they are trophies!
Female smallies tend to be heavier than males, and their average weight ranges around 3 pounds. Male smallies usually range around 2 pounds.
As mentioned in the text above, smallies living in lacustrine water tend to grow heavier than smallmouth living in rivers. A range of factors influences the growth of these fish, including the available food source (both quantity and variety), water temperature, population density, and also the presence of other predators.
In waters where there is a lack of general food supply, or the food source is only suitable for certain sized fish, smallmouth bass will face stunted growth. The same applies to waters with increased competition from other predators (like largemouth bass), or to waters where there is a large population of smallmouth bass on a limited area.
Food abundance, moderately warm temperatures, and low numbers of both smallies and other predators make the formula for producing the heaviest fish!
Are Smallmouth Bass Bigger Than Largemouth Bass?
To put it simply – no, smallmouth bass are not bigger than largemouth bass!
As mentioned before, smallies will have trouble breaching the 10 lb limit, while largemouth bass can grow more than double this weight! Smallmouth bass will also not exceed 27 inches of length, while largemouth can reach up to more than respectful 38 inches.
The common size for largemouth bass is 15.7 inches, while the same sized fish the upper average range limit for smallmouth bass – and this applies only to waters with ideal growing conditions!
What is the Largest Smallmouth Bass on Record?
Literature mentions 12 lb as the upper limit of smallmouth bass size, and the official all-tackle record is very close to this number!
Angler David Heyes Record caught a record smallie in the year 1955. He was fishing the Date Hollow Reservoir on the Kentucky/Tennessee border, and the scale stopped at a whopping 11 lb 15 oz! Measuring tape showed 27 inches of length, and just a tad under 22 inched of girth.
There was also a smallmouth bass weighing more than 12 lb reported in 2012, but the world record claim failed due to fish being caught with a gill net.
Smallmouth bass can grow to a huge size of almost 12 lbs, and as long as 27 inches. A smallmouth of this size is not a normal size in the wild and most people will find themselves landing average smallmouth bass between 8-16 inches. This is the average size for a lot of fish, like a brook trout whose average size is around 10 inches.