Anglers the world over enjoy catching largemouth bass. They are lured in by the challenge before them, as this is one hard-fighting fish that puts up quite the battle. You can learn more about this popular bass fish here, with information on what it looks like, tips on where to find it, and guidance on the equipment you need to catch this magnificent creature!
What Is A Largemouth Bass?
The largemouth bass is a freshwater fish and is the largest of the black bass species. It has many nicknames, including Potter’s fish, Florida Largemouth, and Bigmouth bass, alongside other names depending on the region.
You can easily recognize the largemouth by its greenish-gray color and enormous mouth. Dark blotches run horizontally down each side of the fish and, unlike the smallmouth bass, there is a clear break between the dorsal fins. The upper jaw extends beyond the eye, and the bottom jaw juts out further than the top jaw.
It is the largest of all bass species, with a maximum recorded overall length of 39.2 inches, and a maximum weight of just over 25 pounds. Their growth rate depends on a variety of conditions, such as the quality of their surrounding environment and available food supply.
In terms of food, they eat pretty much anything that lives in or near the water. While they eat sea creatures that are smaller than them, they have also been known to eat prey that is over 50% their length. Crawfish, frogs, water birds, and even baby alligators are just a few things that can satisfy a largemouth’s appetite.
Where To Fish For Largemouth Bass
As largemouth bass are one of the most popular recreational fish species in the United States, you can find them almost anywhere, as they have been stocked throughout the US to attract local anglers. You can find them in bodies of water extending from the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and others that flow into the Mississippi River Basin. They can also be found in the Atlantic drainages that span from North Carolina to Florida and into northern Mexico.
You will often find largemouth bass in vegetated lakes, ponds, swamps, creeks, and rivers. Unlike the smallmouth, who favor areas of fast-moving water, the largemouth tends to reside in areas of slow or non-moving water. They will gravitate to areas that are less than 20 feet deep and will inhabit places where there is a lot of vegetation in order to ambush their prey.
The largemouth can tolerate a wide ranger of temperatures, although as they are cold-blooded, they function best in water that is between 65-90°F. The Florida strain of largemouth can venture into higher temperatures and most strains of largemouth can exist in freezing temperatures.
Variations in temperature and seasons play a significant role in where largemouth bass can be found. As the water is warming during spring and early summer, they can often be caught in shallower water. When temperatures heat up during the summer, they will move into deeper water. Then, as temperatures drop during the winter, they will typically move into shallower waters again.
Consider all of these factors when deciding where to fish.
Largemouth Bass Fun Facts
Here are some facts you may not have known about the largemouth bass.
– Largemouth bass can use their lateral lines to hear (detect) sounds from up to 100 feet away, and they can see up to 50 feet in optimal conditions.
– The heaviest largemouth bass on record was caught by Manabu Kurita in Japan in 2009. It weighed in at 22.311 pounds.
– Largemouth bass are speedy swimmers! They can swim in bursts of more than 3 body lengths per second, meaning a 20-inch bass could swim 5 feet in just one second.
– Largemouth bass can see most of the same color range as humans. This is a handy fact for anglers as they can choose a lure that is of the same color as the largemouth’s prey.
– Unlike humans, the vision of the largemouth improves with age. Their eyes grow throughout their lifespan, regardless of their age.
Top Largemouth Bass Fishing Lures & Tips
As it can quite difficult to catch largemouth bass, you will need the right type of fishing gear. In terms of equipment, durability will key, as the largemouth won’t give up without a fight. Therefore, pick a rod, reel, and line that can withstand a battle. When choosing lures, you should select those that the largemouth will naturally go for.
Here are a few general tips on what to consider.
Much of your success in largemouth bass fishing will depend on your fishing rod. As suggested, it needs to be durable, as that largemouth won’t let you reel it in easily. It also needs to work well with the lure you choose, so factor that into your research. Place comfort as a factor too, as you will need a tight and comfortable grip when you’re trying to tire out the fish on the end of your line.
The type of rod you choose depends on your preference. A casting rod will handle heavier lines and lures, making it the ideal choice for aggressive largemouth bass. On the other hand, you might also benefit from a spinning rod, as this will help you with accuracy when you’re trying to catch fish in hard-to-reach spots.
Regardless of the type of rod, we recommend a medium-to-heavy powered rod as these will prevent a lot of bending when you’re grappling with the largemouth.
Choosing a fishing reel for largemouth fishing can be difficult as there are a lot of choices available. But to narrow down your search, go for the brand and model that has the durability and finesse to hook and reel in the mightiest of fish.
Aluminum reels are often recommended as these are typically stronger. On the other hand, white graphite is a decent option as it is less likely to corrode in saltwater. For a combination of both, choose a carbon composite fishing reel, as this will tick all of your boxes.
The ideal reel will move as smoothly as possible and have no loose parts. Look for something that has a drag amount that is greater than the expected weight of the largemouth, as this should provide the strength you need to stop the bass and protect your line from snapping.
As with the body of the reel, spools are made up of aluminum, graphite, or carbon. Aluminum can be recommended as it is stronger and heavier than other materials, though if you want something between aluminum and the lightness of graphite, choose carbon.
There are three types of lines that you can use: monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided.
There are pros and cons to each, but if you’re looking for something with incredible tensile strength, choose braided. However, you can use a combination to provide more stretch and to reduce the risk of the largemouth shaking the hook. Whatever you choose, ensure it has more than 300 yards as bass fishing does involve long casts and runs. You also need to know the line’s pound test as this will indicate the pressure it can take before breaking. For largemouth fishing, you will need an 8-pound test line or something heavier.
In terms of live lures, minnows, shiner, and crawfish work very well, as these are what bass fish usually eat. If you prefer artificial lures, then jerkbaits, rubber worms, spinnerbaits, rubber prey baits, swimbaits, crankbaits, and jigs are all popular choices.
For best results when choosing an artificial lure, pick something that can mimic the movements of the largemouth’s prey. Rubber prey baits and swimbaits are both excellent in this regard, as they can create motions in the water that can attract the largemouth. Research each of them in turn, and speak to somebody at your local tackle store for more advice.
Can You Eat Largemouth Bass?
In short, yes! However, you will notice that many anglers throw back largemouth bass after catching them and this is because largemouth bass aren’t the tastiest fish to eat. Of course, taste is very subjective, but as largemouth can taste like they smell – tangy and strong – they aren’t the preferred choice for some people. If you want something sweeter and easier on the nose, you might want to choose a smallmouth bass instead!
If you are planning to eat a largemouth, make sure that it hasn’t come from a water source that is polluted. Murky ponds and drainage canals are best avoided!
There are different ways to cook a largemouth bass, depending on your personal preference. Your options include pan-frying, deep-frying, and batter-frying. The chunky cuts of a largemouth are ideal for a curry and you can also mince bass fillets to use them within fish cakes. There are plenty of recipes online if you’re interested in a fish dinner although you may want to use herbs and spices to disguise the odor of the fish itself.