This section is from the book "American Game Fishes", by W. A. Perry. Also available from Amazon: American Game Fishes: Their Habits, Habitat, and Peculiarities; How, When, and Where to Angle for Them.
Body oblong, the depth about 2 1-2 in length; head 3 in length; profile convex, eye very large, about equal to snout, 3 1-2 to 3 3-4-in. head; cheeks with about eight rows of scales and a naked area; preopercle very weakly serrate, dorsal spines stout, rather low; D. XI, 11; A. VI, 10; lateral line with about 40 scales. General color, brassy olive-green, with much dark mottling, the young irregularly blotched with black, the adult more uniformly colored, each scale with a squarish dusky blotch, these forming more or less distinct longitudinal stripes; fine dark olive, the soft rays more or less barred; iris red. This species reaches the length of about a foot.
This well-known fish marks the transition from Sun-fish to Bass, and for its angler-lovers, the transition from youth to manhood. It is a fish of ponds, lakes and sluggish waters. You can catch them in the canals, or in any place where a fish of meditative habits can maintain itself. It is abundant throughout the Great Lake region, and thence south-westward in every stream as far as Texas. Ea,st of the mountains, I have seen it only in the Roanoke. It is most plentiful in the North, as it is not fond of warm water or of mud. Besides its name "Rock Bass," a good name of long standing, and embalmed in the specific name "rupestris," it has some other names equally good and appropriate, as "Red-Eye," and "Goggle-Eye," and by any of these names the anglers will know it anywhere. It is a pity to waste three good names on one fish, when so many other reputable fishes have no distinctive name at all, but are compelled to wear the cast-off or made over names of other fishes.