Largemouth Bass

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Largemouth Bass are an aggressive, carnivorous freshwater gamefish native to eastern and central United States, southeastern Canada and northern Mexico. They are an extremely popular sport fish due to their penchant for striking at bait and lures alike and will put up a great fight when caught – often jumping out of the water as they are reeled in.

The largest member of the Black Bass family, they live predominately in slow moving lakes and rivers where there is generally a lot of structure such as rocks, ledges (sudden drops on bottom), trees, bridges or jetties and so on.

name

Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

location

Native to eastern North America and is found as far north as Quebec, Canada and as far south as northern Mexico. Due to their popularity for recreational fishing, they are also restocked in many areas and man made lakes as well.

It is also found as an introduced species into Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America and is massively popular in Japan.

Description

Largemouth Bass are a powerful fish with long, think bodies that are predominately olive green in colour. As their name suggests, they have large mouths that extend at least to the rear edge of their eyes with clear separation between the first and second dorsal fins (which is generally what separates them from their Smallmouth cousins).

Females are generally larger than males with an average length of 30 – 50 cm (12 – 20″) weighing 0.45-1.36 kilograms (1 – 3lb).

largemouth Bass - fish jumping out of water

Lifespan/Breeding

Average 10 – 15 years – although can live up to 20+ years in cooler areas.

Spawning times vary depending on location as females usually like a water temperature of around 60 degrees before they start feeding and nesting. This can range from late winter in southern regions to during late spring in northern locations.

Natural Foods

Largemouth Bass, like many fish, are carnivorous and feed on the options available to them within their immediate habitats. This can include:

  • Crayfish
  • Frogs
  • Microcrustacens
  • Baitfish (bluegills, shiners, suckers, yellow perch, shad)
  • Mice
  • Snakes
  • Ducklings
  • Other Largemouth

World Record Size

22 pounds and 4 ounces – caught by George Perry in Montgomery Lake in Georgia in 1932

22 pounds and 5 ounces – caught by Manabu Kurita in Lake Biwa in Japan (considered a tie with above) in 2009

61cm (24.016 inches) – caught by Patrick Sebile in Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Largemouth Bass Seasons

Largemouth Bass can be caught all year round as follows:

  • Winter – As they are cold-blooded, Largemouth Bass don’t feed as often and will do whatever they can to keep warm. The best time for fishing here is different to summer in that mid-afternoon tends to be better as the sun has had the opportunity to warm the water a little. They will go deeper early when the top is cold (or icy) and come in shallower if the water is warmer there (as that is where the baitfish will go too).
  • Spring – Spring is for spawning and feeding. As the water temperature increases after winter, Bass will start to actively feed and guard territory in the shallows as they prepare for the spawn – often called pre-spawn. After spawn however, Bass do not tend to feed as much as they are busy protecting their ‘nests’. All in all, many Bass ‘experts’ call the spring pre-spawn season as the best time of year to fish.
  • Summer – The general rule of thumb for summer is that Largemouth Bass tend to either go deeper to cooler water or in shallower lakes, will seek the shade of a structure. Fishing is usually better early morning, late afternoon or at night when the water is a little cooler as well. If you are fishing in the daytime, leave the surface lures at home.
  • Autumn – Autumn is considered another great period for Bass fishing for a number of reasons. Firstly, the water is cooling after the summer heat bringing the fish out of the depths and secondly, they are fattening up for winter.

It should be noted here that many jurisdictions implement seasonal restrictions and well as licensing and bag limit regulations as well.

largemouth Bass - caught with lure

Gear for Catching Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass fishers use both spinning and baitcaster reels effectively and successfully. In general, to catch Largemouth Bass you will need

Spinning reel – 4000 – 5000 – lined with mono or braid

Baitcaster reel – 100 – 400 – lined with mono or braid

Rod – around 7ft and matching of reel size

Largemouth with take both bait and lures.

Consumption

Although not as common as many saltwater species, Largemouth Bass is a popular table fish with a flaky texture and clean taste. This quality however can be reduced dramatically if the fish are caught in muddy or stagnant water or not consumed immediately after catching.

They are best eaten by filleting and then:

  • Pan frying
  • Grilling
  • Baking (whole)

Check out some more information in regards to eating Largemouth Bass here.

largemouth Bass - cooked fillet
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