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^^^^^ Which the fish in the original pic doesn't. That what you're saying?

Cause, virtually every pic of a Smallie I've looked at have a spiny dorsal fin.
 

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I agree with others that have said it is a smallmouth bass. Juvenile bass can be really light and have very few markings, but you can see some faint stripes on the OP fish jaw. It's jaw stops short of it's eye, and it has a redish eye, which as David stated is a smallie trait. Mutations can occur, perhaps predation at a younger age caused a loss of fins, or sometimes fish tuck that first section of their dorsal really tightly to their body and it's very hard to see unless you look closely.


Here is a similar juvenile smallie for comparison.
 

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It's a Smallmouth. 99.99% The dorsal fin thing is a bit strange IF it is truly missing the dorsal fin. My suspicion is that there was not a very close examination of these fish by whomever caught them to see if the dorsal fin was actually present or not. More than likely the fin is just retracted and lying down flat and therefore not visible in the photo and likely not visible by someone who actually knows what they are looking for. IF the dorsal fin is in fact missing, I would write it off as an abnormality/mutation, even if there were a handful of them caught that in fact had no dorsal fin. He said nothing was caught over 8 inches, so there's a chance that they could have all come from the same brood and inherited the same mutation. I'm putting my money though on the fact that there wasn't a thorough search for the fin at the time of the catch though and that we are simply going off of the photos here.
 

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I hate posting stuff like this, but caught a few of these on the Devil's river a few weeks ago. I've looked through all of my books and online and cannot figure out what these are. Largest one was about 8in. Initially thought they might be some juvi small mouths, but they do not have a spiny dorsal at all. No spots or stripes, just very smooth greenish silver, with a green back, and a very dark tail.

I'm assuming I'm missing something obvious, but nobody I have showed the picture to has any clue. I've heard anything from golden shiner to a freshwater perch.
I don't know, doesn't seem like the kind of guy that would overlook a dorsal fin.
 

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I don't know, doesn't seem like the kind of guy that would overlook a dorsal fin.
I don't know either, but he says it himself, "I'm assuming I'm missing something obvious..." All I know is... I am 99.99% certain that is a smallmouth. haha. As you can see though, I am not willing to say 100% :cool:
 

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or sometimes fish tuck that first section of their dorsal really tightly to their body and it's very hard to see unless you look closely.
I'm with austinjohn on this. Bass seem to be able to collapse the spiny dorsal fin really tightly against their body. Yesterday my brother and I caught a bunch of real small largemouths, and almost all of them exhibited this. Look:

bass_no_dorsal.png
 

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OP says the fish lacked dorsal, but was there an attempt to raise it? Slicked back hair in the pics seems to be the most likely explanation there.

The similar fish I have seen came out of the Blanco, in which I havent caught a smallie. It is spring fed and keeps pretty cool year round, so there is potential for smallies. But I have pulled a lot of more typical looking guads in the 10-12 range out of that river, so I am sticking with juvenile guad.
 

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OP says the fish lacked dorsal, but was there an attempt to raise it? Slicked back hair in the pics seems to be the most likely explanation there.

The similar fish I have seen came out of the Blanco, in which I havent caught a smallie. It is spring fed and keeps pretty cool year round, so there is potential for smallies. But I have pulled a lot of more typical looking guads in the 10-12 range out of that river, so I am sticking with juvenile guad.

The blanco used to be chocked full of smallies in the late 90's. I'm guessing the drought took care of them
 

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The blanco used to be chocked full of smallies in the late 90's. I'm guessing the drought took care of them
I wasnt paying much attention to bass fishing back then, good to know. Even with the drought, there are plenty of deep holes with nearby springs that I think would have sustained them. I still havent seen any identifiable "maybe smallies" over 10", but ill see if I can get a pic of the fish in question as we will likely do a float trip over the July 4th weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Sorry guys, was out of town for the past few weeks. None of these had a dorsal fin at all. I ran a fingernail over it and it was perfectly smooth where I would have expected the fin or a flattened fin to be. We caught a handful all in the same area so it wasn't just a one of either.

I do agree it looks like a smallmouth more than anything else as well, just a color and fin abnormality I've never seen before.
 
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