The spotted bass is a slender fish with black blotches along the middle of the body; with age, these join to form an irregular band. They have a large mouth, the upper jaw extending almost to the rear margin of the eye. A rectangular tooth patch on the tongue distinguishes these species from largemouth bass. The dorsal fin has nine to 11 (usually 10) spines and 11 to 13 rays that are broadly joined. The anal fin has three spines and nine to 11 rays. The body is olive green on the back with scattered dark mottling. The sides below the lateral blotches are light gray; many scales have dark spots forming horizontal rows. The venter is white. Juveniles have a black spot in the middle of the caudal fin base bordered by bright orange areas. The eyes are usually reddish but not as bright as those of redeye bass. Adult size: 12 to 17 inches.