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The newly hatched largemouth bass
feed heavily on tiny crustaceans and other zooplankton until the bass reach
2 inches in length. Then their appetite changes to insects and smaller fish.
The adult bass's diet consists mainly of fish, but crayfish, worms, frogs,
and insects are important foods in some waters.
The bass ranks very highly in the aquatic food chain. A bass 10 inchs or longer has very few enemies and will eat almost anything it can swallow. Because of the bass's large mouth and flexible stomach it can eat prey nearly half its own length. View some of the #1 list of proven lures.
They usually grab large prey, then turn the food to swallow it headfirst. So if your using large shiners, frogs, or salamanders you should give the fish ample time before setting the hook. But if your using small bait or small lures you need to set the hook immediately upon the strike, since the bass inhales its smaller food by opening its mouth quickly, sucking water (and the bait) into its mouth. It then expels the water through its gills and at the same instant decides whether it will swallow or expel the food. They can expel the bait just as fast as they inhaled it. A few tips about the lures of choice.
As the water temperature warms up, the metabolism of the bass increases and they feed more often. They seldom eat at water temperatures below 50 degrees F. From 50 - 68 degrees, their feeding increases and from 68 - 80 degrees they feed heavily. But when the water temperature rises above 80 degrees their feeding declines.
Bass growth depends highly on the length of the "growing" season and their water conditions. They tend to grow much faster in southern lakes than in the colder waters of the northern areas, but they usually live quite as long as their northern counterparts. In the warmer waters of the South a largemouth may reach 10 years while in the colder waters of the North they may live as long as 15 years. The female bass usually lives longer than the male.
It is the largest member of a group of closely-related fishes called black bass. Others include the smallmouth, spotted, redeye, Suwannee and Guadalupe. It is distinguished from all the others by a jaw that extends beyond the eye. All black bass, belong to the sunfish family, but differ from sunfish because of their longer bodies.
The world record Largemouth is believed to be a cross between the two subspecies. It weighed in at a monsterous 22 pounds, 4 ounces!! It was caught in June, 1932 at Montgomery Lake in Georgia.
They actually have 6 senses: Along with the normal, hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch they also have the lateral line, which is a series of sensitive nerve endings that extends from just behind the gill to the tail on each side of the fish. The lateral line picks up underwater vibrations as subtle as a swimming baitfish. Experiments have proven that by the use of these lateral lines that the bass can still find food and survive even in the murkiest of waters and also if they are blinded by an eye injury. They hear with internal ears located within the skull. They can see in all directions except directly below or directly behind them. In clear water they can see 30 feet or more, but in most bass waters the visibility is usually between 5 and 10 feet. They can also see objects that are above the water, including you standing in your boat with that brightly colored shirt on!! So remember that in clear water you should always try to wear clothing that will match your background.
In shallow water they can detect color, especially RED. In one study red and white lures caught 3 times as many large mouths as any other color. But in deeper water most colors appear as shades of gray so color selection is of less importance. Their eyes absorb more light than the human eye, enabling the fish to see its food in dim light or total darkness. They will feed at any time of the day or night, but are less inclined to leave cover and search for food under bright conditions. So like most fish they prefer to hang out in the shade. They find better ambush camouflage in shady areas or under low light conditions.
They smell through nostrils, or nares, on their snout. The nares are short passageways through which water is drawn and expelled without entering the throat. They can detect minute amounts of scent in the water, but rely on scent less than catfish, salmon or trout.
They use their sense of touch to determine whether to reject or swallow an object. They will usually hold on to a soft-bodied, artificial worm longer than a metal lure.
Their sense of taste is not as important to the bass as it is to other species, because the bass has very few taste cells in their mouths.
Understanding the largemouth bass feeding and spawning habits will increase your chances of catching them considerably...