Say what you like about largemouth bass, that’s one species that never fails to fascinate hobbyist anglers and commercial fishermen alike. From the way, it hunts to its migration every spring to spawn and migrate back to its territory. Not to mention the predatory behavior of the bass and how its diet is varied and includes critters that live in the water, on the land, and in the air.
And the more you know about the largemouth bass the more you admire this resourceful and crafty fish. And if you’re interested in catching the bass, you’d want to know everything about it from what it eats and when to its migration routes and locating its spawning coves.
The following largemouth bass facts are relevant to just about everybody. From the layman with a remote interest in marine life to the fisherman who makes a livelihood by catching bass. Read on to get a closer look at this amazing species. Who knows, you might develop a keen interest in it as well.
In terms of intelligence, largemouth bass is credited with high intelligence among all freshwater fish. This is a crafty fish that lives on its wits. It needs to seek and ambush its prey. Some of those prey live in the water like bluegill and shad. Others live on the land such as frogs. And still other types of food fly above the surface of the water such as insects. The largemouth bass needs a large brain and matching skills to hunt and distinguish those different prey.
Moreover, if you cannot catch bass even though you know these waters are teeming with largemouth bass, don’t blame it on your fishing inexperience. The bass is just too smart and will recognize lure when it sees it. See our full guide on how to catch largemouth bass.
Although widely considered the most popular game fish in the United States, the first mention of largemouth fish in a scientific book dates back to 1802. La Cépède, a French naturalist, talked in detail about the “new” species in his books. Curiously enough, La Cépède hasn’t set eyes on the fish before. He merely relied on drawings and descriptions sent to him from South Carolina.
In the wild, the largemouth fish doesn’t have a long lifespan. It averages 16 years if it’s lucky and lives in relatively safe waters. Most bass species don’t reach this ripe old age by fish standards. This probably accounts for the fish’s fast growth rate. The oldest known largemouth lived 23 years and is considered the granddaddy of all largemouth bass. Read more about the largemouth bass livespand here.
Spawning is an important phase in the life of the largemouth bass. Every spring, the adult bass (one year and older) will make a long journey to the spawning coves. There, the male bass will nudge the female to help her with the release of the eggs. Once all the eggs are successfully fertilized, the female takes off exhausted leaving the male bass behind to guard the eggs until they hatch.
If you have ever touched the skin of a live largemouth bass you’d have noticed a thick layer of mucus covering its whole body. This is a protective shield that prevents bacteria and parasites from penetrating the fish’s thin skin. If you live by the catch-and-release creed, then don’t touch the fish with dry hands or let it touch the ground else that membrane will tear off.
Many states celebrate the largemouth bass and set guidelines, seasons, and bag sizes to protect this popular game fish. It’s also the freshwater state fish of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Keep in mind that the fish is protected in all other states as well with bag sizes and fishing dates varying from one state to the next.
In general, the water temperature, light conditions, and coverage are prerequisites for the existence of largemouth bass in the water. Cold water has more oxygen so the bass will dive down to the depths in the summer. It also favors dim light where it can lurk undetected by the prey. Finally, it seeks cover under submerged trees, weeds, and bridge abutments and rarely swims out in the open water. Read more about where the Largemouth bass lives.
Although it spends most of its time in one place, the largemouth bass is a fast swimmer. It can chase a fish at speeds between 18 to 20 miles an hour. That’s a decent speed that allows it to catch a slow fish like the bluegill or crayfish. However, it cannot keep up this speed for an extended period of time. That’s why it prefers to ambush its prey from a stationary position.