Largemouth Bass Takes on Mouse
Largemouth bass can eat! For those of you who live under a rock, a largemouth is a game fish so it’s bred and distributed in places it didn’t naturally migrate. In fact, it’s even considered an invasive species because of its voracious appetite and vast introduction into ecologies it has no business being in. Largemouth bass have been introduced into lakes and ponds as far north as Canada and Minnesota and as far south as isolated lakes in Namibia. It’s extremely versatile and able to handle a wide range of environments, making it the ideal for sport fishers and the doom of local species unfamiliar with its habits.
It also doesn’t have many natural predators once it gets to become an adult – outside of humans. Its biggest natural predators are snapping turtles and herons – making this fish a fast breeding, eating machine. These fish can grow to be some extreme sizes – ranging upwards of 75 cm (29.5”) and weighing over 11 kg (~25 lbs). In their juvenile life cycle, they take on a very different personality – darting and hiding amongst reeds and grass. Once they get bigger, though, they wander freely through common reeds and cattail.
Largemouth bass are coveted by sports fishers but also quite delicious. However, their diet is somewhat amusing. They’re able to eat animals and fish up to half their own weight. Using their giant maw to swallow the animal whole, they can effectively take down baby alligators, water birds, frogs and snakes. That’s pretty impressive for a fish. Their only main competitor in terms of eating power is the catfish.
What adults typically like to eat (outside of other smaller fish):
• Baby Alligators
• Mice & Rats
Because their maws allow them to envelope prey almost half their mass, that leaves a wide range of creatures to choose from. While they’re not at all adverse to eating insects a
Because their maws allow them to envelope prey almost half their mass, that leaves a wide range of creatures to choose from. While they’re not at all adverse to eating insects and smaller things, they typically feed to the largest things they can get their mouths on. This plays in heavily when sport fishers are designing their lures to catch the largest largemouth in the lake.
Great largemouth bass lures can run anywhere from $5 to $20 but the one that has recently been noticed is the Sebile Proppler Buzz. Unlike trout fishing, where you have a crazy amount of dedication to hand-crafting the lure, this lure usually runs for less than $20. Yet it was the lure that, when used in combination with the Sebile Dressed Trailer, recently hooked a 61 cm largemouth bass and garnered an IGFA World Record.
For those curious on Patrick Sebile’s setup for the remaining pieces:
• Hook: Sebile Dressed Trailer
• Line: Stren
• Rod: Berkley
• Reel: Abu Garcia Revo
Overall, though, many of the world champions in largemouth bass fishing either create or customize their lures to optimize effectiveness.
There Be No Shelter Here
Not only are lures designed to fit the ideal mouth of the largemouth a fisherman is trying to catch, but the lines and even technique themselves are all specialized to mimic events that a bass would see in its environment. Because the bass takes shelter amongst pond lillies, duckweed, and reeds, the throw technique that fishermen use is predominantly casting. This is meant to mimic and trigger the bass’ attention as if its prey were brushing up against reeds.
For professional sports fishers, it’s important to make every aspect of the casting to closely approximate a large prey popping into the water. And timing is definitely everything. While catching 25 pound largemouth bass is impressive, in order to break records a fisherman is required to hone his technique. This can mean hand-crafting lures and practicing endlessly in a variety of different environments.