Largemouth Bass Fishing

The largemouth bass is a type of fish belonging to the sunfish family and it is also known as the widemouth bass, black bass, bucketmouth or the bigmouth. It is the state fish of several states in the United States, as follows: Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.

It is an olive green fish that is marked by a series of dark even black blotches that form a jagged horizontal stripe along each flank. The largemouth’s upper jaw also known as the maxilla extends beyond the rear margin of the orbit. Among all of the black basses, the largemouth bass is the biggest, reaching up to 29.5 inches / 75 cm in height and a maximum of 25 pounds (11kg) in weight. The lifespan of the largemouth bass is around 16 years.

Regarding their habitat, they usually prefer protective cover such as logs, vegetation, rock ledges and man-made structures. They also enjoy clear and quiet water but they have the ability to survive in various habitats.

The largemouth bass were originally distributed throughout most of what is in the present the United States of America, east of the Rockies and here we include several lakes and rivers in Texas along with limited populations in the southeastern part of Canada as well as northeastern Mexico. Due to its great importance as a game fish, the largemouth bass species was introduced into several areas worldwide, including almost all of Mexico and south into Central & South America.

Regarding their senses, the lateral line is made up of nerve endings on the side which picks up vibrations in the water and it is so sensitive that it has the ability to tell what speed, shape, size of the prey or the predator. Next, the sight – the largemouth bass possesses color vision. The fish relies mostly on color patterns in clear or other high visibility water. In muddy water conditions, the largemouth bass does not use this sense just as much as the lateral line or smell. The bass sees in 2 dimensions to the side of their body. More than that, the bass has the ability to see in 3 dimensions from about 5 inches from their snout and out to, depends upon the water clarity – 100 feet to 5 feet. We all know that the sound travels way better in water in comparison to the air but the largemouth bass has ears inside its skull instead of outside but this does not mean that the fish does not have a developed sense of hearing. The fish uses the smell to detect the predators or the prey. They have a very well developed sense of smell and if they smell a predator in the nearby vicinity they will swim away from the area. Therefore, if the smell a prey they will most likely go in search of it and once they catch it, they eat it.

The small fishes eat mostly small bait fish, small shrimps, scuds as well as various insects. The adult bass usually eats smaller fish like bluegills, crayfish, salamanders, small water birds, baby alligators, mammals, snakes and from time to time, frogs.  In the wide reservoirs and larger lakes, the adult bass usually occupies deeper water in comparison to his younger sibling and they shift to a diet consisting almost completely of small-sized fishes like sunfish, shiners, trout, shad and ciscoes. The prey can be as large as 25 up to 35% of the bass’s entire body length.

Recent conducted studies show that the largemouth basses that live in weedy waters have the tendency to grow slower because of their difficulty in catching prey. In an area with less weed cover will allow the largemouth bass to find and catch preys easily but this consists of more open-water baitfish. On a paradoxical note, with minimum or even no cover whatsoever, the largemouth bass can eliminate the prey population and starve or get stunted.

All these factors are taken seriously into consideration by the fisheries managers when they are drawing the designing regulations for specific areas of water. For the under overhead cover like brush or submerged structure like points, humps, ridges or weedbeds, the bass uses it senses of sight, hearing, vibration and small in order to attack and seize its prey. On several occasions, it has the ability to hold up to 5 sunfish in its mouth.

The most popular method used by fisherman to catch the largemouth bass is angling. Actually, the bass is known for its excitement of their fight with the hook. The bass has the tendency to become airborne in their effort to throw the hook; however, many affirm that his cousin, the smallmouth bass can beat him pound to pound. Anglers most often fish for largemouth bass using lures like jigs, crankbaits, plastic worms as well as other plastic baits. The current trend as far as angling is concerned is the usage of big swimbaits in order to target the trophy bass that often forages on juvenile rainbow trout located in California. Other baits that have proven their efficiency over the years are frogs, crawfish, minnows and nightcrawlers. As a matter of fact, many expert fishermen consider the golden shiners to be the most efficient lures to use in order to catch largemouth bass especially when they are sluggish in summer’s heat or winter’s cold days.

It is a known fact that the largemouth bass responds very well to the catch and release technique if they are handled with great care; many serious studies that were conducted over the years have clearly shown that the specimens which have managed to survive although being hooked and released for several times. The time of the day an angler hits the water can be crucial. The largemouth bass tends to be more willing to follow and strike a lure during low light periods which means that early in the morning and late in the evening fishing can be quite efficient if done properly.