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Largemouth Bass

The largemouth bass is native to North America. It is actually the state fish of the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee. It is a freshwater fish.

The largemouth bass is an olive green fish in color. It also has a series of dark marks, black sometimes and blotches that form a horizontal stripe that is jagged along each flank. The upper jaw of the largemouth bass extends beyond the back margin of the orbit. The male largemouth bass is usually smaller than the female. The fish also is the biggest of the black basses. It reaches 29.5 inches and can weigh 25 pounds and 1 ounce. On average the fish lives to be 16 years old.

When a juvenile, the largemouth bass eats mainly small bait fish, small shrimp and insects and scuds. The adult fish feeds on smaller fish like the bluegill, crawfish, frogs, salamanders, bats, snails, and sometimes even water birds and baby alligators. When in larger lakes and reservoirs, adult bass go to deeper waters than the younger fish. They then change their diet to smaller fish like trout, shad, shiners and sunfish. The largemouth bass will prey on fish or mammals as large as 25 to 35% of the fish’s body length.

The largemouth bass when young is preyed upon by many animals. But as adults they can hold up to 5 sunfish in their mouth at once.

Anglers love to catch largemouth bass and they are keenly sought out. They are known for their fight. The fish on a hook will become airborne attempting to throw the hook. Many anglers say, however, that the largemouth’s cousin, the smallmouth bass beats the largemouth on the fight.

Most often anglers use lures, like plastic worms, jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Live bait to catch these fish consists of minnows, frogs, crawfish or nightcrawlers. Golden shiners are one of the best bait to catch largemouth bass with. Largemouth bass love anything they think is alive. The fish is easier to catch in the heat of summer and the cold of winter because they are more sluggish.

Currently there is a strong pressure among anglers to catch and release the largemouth bass, especially the larger ones. If handled with care, they respond well to catch and release.

Found in most of the lower 48 states of the United States, the largemouth bass is most popular in the southeastern states. In the Canadian Province of New Brunswick they are considered an invasive species that is bringing in sea lice and eating native fish.

The record for the biggest largemouth bass belongs to two people in a tie. The first was caught in 1932 in Georgia and weighed 22 and ¼ pounds. In 2009 in Lake Biwa a Japan man caught a 22 pound 4 ounce largemouth bass. The International Game Fish Association declared a tie for the record.

As in New Brunswick, Canada, largemouth bass have been brought or introduced to other countries due to its popularity as a tasty fish and a sporting fish. This introduction has caused the decline and extinctions of species in certain habitats. It’s important that this somehow be regulated or stopped. The largemouth bass needs to stay where it can thrive and not where it breaks down a habitat.

The largemouth bass although a fun fish to catch and used as trophies on many anglers walls must be treated with respect. The practice of catch and release that is being pressured on anglers today is a good thing. It will keep the fish from being overfished and it will preserve the fight for another angler.

When the water temperature reaches between 55 and 65 degrees, largemouth bass will seek out a shallow protected area for spawning. Bodies of water, particularly lakes don’t all warm up at the same time. Thus not all largemouth bass spawn at the same time. Usually the Northwest side of lakes and the upper areas of reservoirs warm up first. The spawning area for the fish must have direct access to the sun’s rays. Usually the fish spawns within 10 feet from shore in a depth of 1 to 6 feet. The male picks a spot that is easy to defend. Places like near a boulder and such. Also, a male will not build a nest within 30 feet of another visible spawning nest. For the most part, the bigger the largemouth bass the deeper the water and the earlier they will spawn.


Ontario Fishing Magazine