The Life of a Largemouth Bass
By Chris Bowser
The Largemouth Bass is America's all-out favorite game fish! It is probably the most glamorous species in the fresh waters of the world today. It is fundamentally a lake fish, and that is where it colonizes best. It is not a scavenger, it is strictly predaceous! It is not fussy about food. "If it moves, eat it!" is a kind of motto of the species.
We bass fishermen today are fortunate that our predecessors in their wisdom saw fit to introduce this species of fish into waters far beyond its natural habitat. Largemouth bass are now to be found extensively in "warm" freshwaters around the world. However, because this bass is by nature exceptionally wary of the dangers affecting its existence, it is frequently frustrating to not be consistently successful in catching them.
The Largemouth Bass is the basic freshwater game fish. He is voracious as a predator but extremely wary of danger and spends only a very small portion of each day actually feeding.
The largemouth bass are extremely curious and this results in a good many getting hooked early in life. But they soon become wary (maybe "educated" is a better word) and often this leads anglers to believe a lake is "fished out" or does not contain many bass. A largemouth bass soon learns that lures, especially those it sees most often, can get it into trouble. The quality of fish and fishing can be readily diminished by too much angling pressure (at least by too much removal of the larger breeding-size bass). However, an undesirable alteration or destruction of its habitat is the greatest hazard contributing to the depletion of the species in any given body of water.
The Largemouth Bass (Micropterus Salmoides) is the most adaptable of all the bass species. Given the choice, he will avoid bottom areas of lakes and other waters which are overly muddy or layered with silt. But the Largemouth Bass is also very tolerant, and if muddy water is unavoidable from time to time he will simply make do. The water may be clear, stained, murky, warm, cool, shallow, deep, cover-free, or infested with jungle-like swamp growth and chances are excellent that "Micropterus" and his progeny will get alone just fine.
The Largemouth bass feed primarily by sound (vibration) and sight. They can detect even the smallest vibrations caused by other fish or prey pushing aside water as they move through or onto it. With their extremely acute vision they take full advantage of periods of areas of subdued light. Any predator prefers to remain in darker waters where it is somewhat concealed and where it is far easier to see prey passing by which is swimming in better-lit water while the bass remains in semi-darkness.
It is impossible to catch bass until you find them! Therefore, the procedures for locating where they live, feed, relax and rest up between feeding activities are basic to successful catching.
Fortunately, it is possible to predict fairly well where bass are located at any given time or place if an angler is prepared with an full understanding of the habits and behavior of this fish.
The old admonition to "think like the fish" is merely an incentive to learn the whys and reasons of a fish's normal behavior in order to be more successful in catching them.