What Does Largemouth Bass Eat? [The Full Guide]

The diet of largemouth bass depends mostly on age. For instance, an adult largemouth bass feeds on frogs, crayfish, and fish. Conversely, a young largemouth bass feeds on insects, small fish, and crustaceans. However, there is some cannibal largemouth bass, for example, the northern pike.

Scientifically known as Micropterus salmoides, Largemouth Bass is a common fish in North America. It spawns in the spring season, but before then, the male will make a nest for protecting the eggs after fertilization occurs.

 Even after the eggs hatch, the fry will remain in the nest for more protection. Later, after reaching about 1.5”-2” long, they start feeding on insect larvae and tiny fish. As adults, they possess an outstanding appearance and also become significant predators.

Short answer

Adult bass inhabits deeper water than younger fish in larger lakes and reservoirs, and their diet reflects this. They feed small fish (shad, yellow perch, shiners, sunfish, and so on) as well as the younger members of larger fish species (catfish, trout, walleye, etc.).

How Does Largemouth Bass Eat?

Discover how a Largemouth Bass turns its prey into food. Read on.

Typically, the bass is a high-speed type of fish. How fast exactly, you ask? Amazingly, a bass can surpass about 3 of its body lengths per second. This means that a 30inch bass could travel about 90inch bass in a split of a second. As astounding as this sounds, it’s frustrating for the angler. This means that a Largemouth bass could catch bait swiftly even before you reel it in.

Furthermore, whether large or small, a bass feeds in two ways; chasing and ensnaring. When a bass is ambushing, it’ll camouflage itself by the vegetation and wait for its prey to pass by. Conversely, since it’s swift, it can also chase down its target in open water.

Nevertheless, when there’s nowhere to camouflage and ambush, a bass can choose to trap its prey. It’s also known as surface feeding. The bass will trap the mark on the water surface offering only one horizontal escape. And as fast as it is, it ends up scoring its prey.

What’s more?

Remarkably, a bass can also vacuum its prey using its mouth. They drop their lower jaw and flair their gills, creating a vacuum to devour their prey. Mostly, they draw in their prey if they missed in their strike. By vacuuming, the prey will hardly escape. Also, they like eating their prey headfirst. Even if they happen to take in their mark from a different direction, the bass will spit it out after smashing it and then swallow it headfirst.

Moreover, using their lateral lines and canals, bass can detect even the slightest motion and vibration in water. This way, they quickly locate and navigate to catch their prey. That’s why bass eats even the creepiest looking baits you use to cause vibration and attract them. Also, the bass can see almost the same colors as humans. Therefore, visibility is not the only factor that helps bass prey successfully. In murky water, all other senses of bass are active while searching for the prey.

Talking about senses, bass lingers more on the taste rather than the smell. This is because the speed at which bass strikes a prey leaves it with no time to smell it. Instead, it’s more after the taste of its prey.

Read also: How to Cast a Fishing Rod for Beginners

How Often Does A Largemouth Bass Eat?

Under best conditions, largemouth bass can eat 5% of their total body weight daily! This means that a 5-pound bass, feeding at full efficiency, will eat about a quarter-pound daily, nearly 2 pounds each week, and over 50 pounds in a regular growing season. Amazingly that’s about ten times its weight in just the growing season.

Whether largemouth or small, bass are opportunistic feeders; hence will eat even when they are not hungry. In the case of full-grown bluegill, let’s discuss how many a large will eat in a day and how long that will sustain it before the next feed. Read on.

Fact is, the feeding of largemouth bass is reliant on many factors. For starters, it has to feed on about 10lbs weight capacity of fish to gain just 1lb for its size.

If the water is too cold, the largemouth gets a slow metabolism, resulting in only a few calories to move around. Conversely, when the water is warmer than usual, the results are the exact opposite of cold water conditions. However, in both extreme conditions, the LMB gains more weight while remaining the same size from eating the same usual food.

So how much energy does the largemouth bass use to catch fish? Typically, a largemouth that moves a lot burns more calories than those that do not. That’s why bass living in a small hunting area tends to be bigger than those in large waters. Just like humans, the more you exercise the more calories you burn.

Read also: Best Time to Fish for Bass

Can You Eat Largemouth Bass?

Yes, you can undeniably eat largemouth bass, but they are usually not considered among the tasty freshwater fish. For taste, Salmon, walleye, and trout, among others, are much more popular. Besides, ponds and muddy rivers have a bass with a dirty taste that turns people off. So, if you want to eat bass, make sure it’s from freshwater. Basically, largemouth bass will taste like the water you caught it from.

But why do anglers love catching bass? For challenge-sake! Bass are more challenging to catch hence fun, and anglers tend to enjoy a challenge. Therefore bass is much more fun to catch than eat. In most cases, anglers release the bass after catching. Others take them to their pond for fish farming.

So How Does Largemouth Bass Taste Like?

If you manage to get them from freshwater, they taste like the bluegill. Cooking will also determine if you will eat it. So if you ace the cooking process, then the tender white meat becomes crumbly.

Another cause of people detesting a largemouth bass is because of gutting. When gutting them, they release an awful smell from their body cavity. Besides, who will eat something that smells so bad? Luckily the smell goes away after thorough rinsing, and also proper cooking will leave no trace of it.

What’s more?

The ideal size of a largemouth bass to eat should be about 10-14 inches long. The general rule of thumb is that the younger the bass, the more tender the meat and flavor will be, unlike the adults, one with tough flesh that most likely collects toxins with age. Besides, it is much easier cooking a young largemouth bass, unlike the adult which some parts remain uncooked.

Lastly, the best way should be to catch the young largemouth bass for a meal and put back the adults. This way, the life cycle smoothly continues with the female adults producing many eggs for fertilization.

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Parting Shot

The largemouth bass is very aggressive and hence can strike anything they regard alive. However, the predators or cannibals are few — the northern pike, walleye, and muskie since they prefer the wild better than captivity. (Well, who wouldn’t?) They have a variety of things they could eat. It all depends on their hunting skills and the availability of the prey.

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