Fishing For Goggle Eye: The Underdog of The Bass Fishing World
Rock Bass, Goggle Eye, Rock Perch, or Redeye...
... Are all names for the same fish. I refer to goggle eye as the underdog of the bass family because you probably won't hear many anglers going out of their way to catch the small rock bass when there are smallmouth and largemouth to be caught. I am no exception to this statement and if you have read any of my fishing articles you probably know that I spend most of my time fishing for smallmouth bass. Many anglers don't even consider goggle eye a game fish, and they usually get lumped in the perch category along with blue gill and sunfish.
Personally, I feel these cool looking tasty little camo dudes deserve some respect in their own right. When I go fishing I am always most excited to catch a big smallmouth. I'm not quite as excited hooking a sunfish or a chub. Rock bass fall somewhere in between. I may not jump up and down when I hook a goggle eye, but I am still always pleased to catch them because despite their small stature they tend to hit like smallmouth (at least where I always catch them).
In my personal experience it seems to me that fish in the rivers and streams hit a lot harder than pond or lake fish. Where I catch all of my goggle eye is in a fairly large creek behind my house. They hit hard. Especially if they are decent sized, which still isn't big for a rock bass. When a rock bass is on your line it feels like you have a brick tied on doing a dance on the bottom of the creek. You can usually bring them in pretty quick, but that doesn't make them any less fun.
In the area I live many people love to eat goggle eye. Many people prefer them over largemouth, smallmouth and catfish. In fact I've heard many people say that they think goggle eye is the best tasting fish there is. I never felt they stood out that much, but they certainly are tasty. The only problem with eating goggle eye is that they are so small it takes a decent catch to make a meal. As I said they are pretty small. The state record in Missouri is only 2lbs. and 12 ounces.
Fortunately, It isn't too challenging to catch a large amount of goggle eyes. Usually if you catch one, there is probably several more in that same spot. A lot of times you will find them around a lot of perch, but if you can find the right spot, then you can literally catch them one after another. On one of my recent fishing trips a buddy of mine got in a spot and caught at least 5 or 6 of them within a ten minute time span. A few minutes after he changed spots I tried and caught 5 or 6 more. When you can find an area where they are all hanging out together you can pull them in with each cast.
How To Catch Goggle Eye
As far as your rod and reel are concerned anything will work. I mean I wouldn't bother with bringin your ten foot catfish pole with 20 lb. test, but a little ultra light or something will be fine. In my experience goggle eye love root balls. If you are hunting for them and see a tree down in the water, try fishing the back side. Most of my goggle eye have come out of calmer waters with lots of debris. Again usually if you find one there is gonna be more.
As for bait you can also keep it simple. Goggle eye love worms. They aren't even picky about it like their fellow members of the bass family. Where largemouth and smallmouth like to see a big tail, goggle eye will go after a huge live worm or even a small chunk of dead worm. They are not picky when it comes to their worms. I've also caught several on fake baits, but really worms are the best thing I've used.
So at the end of the day you won't catch any gigantic trophies to brag to the world about, but you will probably have a ton of fun fishing for these little guys and will probably have caught more than you can eat in a day. They might not even be the fish you go out looking for, but if you get a chance don't miss an opportunity to try to catch a few.