There seems to be some confusion about identifying rock bass vs. little smallmouth amongst my fishing buddies. I was on a spot catching a few little fish, what I thought were little smallmouth. My buddy was telling me that they were rock bass because they had red eyes. I wasn't sure because they looked exactly like smallmouth. So I started a little research.
My research turned up some of the same confusion. People calling fish rock bass solely because they had red eyes. From what I can see from a good source, red eyes aren't the key identifier, rather the rock bass has a 6 spine anal fin that the smallmouth doesn't have. I also read that smallmouth can have red eyes. So to call a bass a rock bass because of red eyes is not completely correct.
Here are my sources...http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/f ... 2353_7.pdf
I know wikipeda is a controversial source but they're usually pretty good with basic stuff like this...
"The smallmouth bass is generally brown (seldom yellow) with red eyes..."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallmouth_bass