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What do Bass Eat?

What do Bass Eat?

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Bass are some of the most popular game fish that fishermen love to catch.  There are quite a few different species of bass and they fall in various categories such as the following;

Black Basses – These include species like the Choctaw bass, Guadalupe bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and a few others that belong to the Centrarchidae family.

Temperate Bass – Temperate bass include species such as European seabass, striped bass, white bass, and they all belong to the Moronidae family.

Asian Seabasses – These seabasses include species such as Japanese seabass and Blackfin seabass and they belong to the Lateolabracidae family.

There are also quite a few other species such as the Australian bass, black sea bass, Chilean sea bass, giant sea bass, lantern bellies, and butterfly peacock bass.

Out of all of these species, Largemouth bass is one of the most popular bass in-game fishing sports.

What do Bass Eat?

This fish species is so popular amongst fishermen because they can eat such a wide range of foods.

Fishermen often say that these fish eat just about anything that doesn’t eat them.  The type of foods they usually eat depends on their location but they do mostly focus on meat sources which makes them carnivores.

Here is a quick look at some of the foods this fish species love to eat;

Other Fish

Bass will also catch and eat smaller fish.  They need to catch fish that are small enough to fit into their mouths.  This usually includes species such as shad, bluegill, minnows, or the fry of larger fish.  Bass are also cannibals.  Male bass spends several days protecting their babies.  But once the fry reaches a certain age, they become good food sources for other bass and even for their own parents.

Small Animals

Bass might also catch and eat small animals that might fall into the water or that might swim in the water.  They will catch and eat small animals like mice, ducklings, birds, hamsters, rats, and others are good food sources for bass.  Bass can only eat foods that are smaller than their mouths and since these foods are not that likely to venture into the water all that often, they are only eaten regularly.

Insects And Aquatic Insect Larvae

Small insects are a huge part of the bass diet.  They eat all sorts of bugs such as cicadas, beetles, moths, flies, dragonflies, earthworms, and mealworms that might fall into or fly over the water.  Many fishermen use insect lures and fly fishing techniques to catch smallmouth bass because these fish will catch just about anything that moves.

Bass also love to catch and eat aquatic insect larvae found in their natural environment.  They will eat all sorts of larvae such as mosquito larvae, mayfly larvae, stonefly larvae, and dragonfly larvae.

Amphibians

Bass can also eat amphibians.  It is especially largemouth bass that loves to catch and eat frogs or tadpoles.

Fishermen also often use frog lures to catch largemouth bass during the summer months when this fish species is most active.

Zooplankton

Bass fry that is still too small to consume large foods loves to eat zooplankton.  This food source includes all sorts of organisms such as jellyfish, krill, woodlouse, anchor worms, salmon, and many other foods they might find in their natural habitat.

Crawfish

Crawfish are also known as crayfish or crawdads and are found all over the world.  There are quite a few different species on earth and they live in all water sources from lakes to the ocean.  Bass love to eat crawfish.  They frequently swim about the bottom of waters looking for crayfish that might be hiding under rocks or logs.  This food source can be found in both deep and shallow water.

Diet Variations

Bass are known to lash out and catch any food that they see moving.  They sometimes will also eat carrion although this isn’t part of their usual diet.  You are not too likely to catch bass by adding flesh to your hook.  Bass usually suck their food into their mouths.  While sucking up foods, they may also ingest some plant matter.

How To Feed Bass

Bass is not a fish species you find in ponds all too often.  They grow quite large and are simply too big for most ponds.  Their ability to consume other smaller fish also makes them unsuitable candidates for aquariums or fishponds.

If you do want to feed bass in a pond or lake so you can observe them or help them grow large then there are a few techniques you can use.  Bluegill or forage fish with a size of 5 – 7” are ideal foods to offer your bass.

You can also buy foods like mealworms, earthworms, and crickets from pet stores to offer your bass.

The best time to feed bass (or to go fishing for bass) is early in the morning at sunrise or late in the evening at sunset.  This is because this is the time when they can see better than their prey.

Many bass keepers use fish feeders to offer their bass foods.  These dock feeders can be purchased online and can be mounted on docs or riverbanks.

How Much Do Bass Eat?

There are quite a few things that can affect how much food a bass will eat in a day.  Some bash species are larger and need more food than others.  Larger bass will also eat more than younger bass.

As a rule of thumb, a bass needs to eat 10lb of fish to gain 1lb themselves.  They do not chew their food and as such can only catch and eat foods that are small enough to fit into their mouths.  They also eat about 2/3rds of their weight every day.

A great way to find out if you are offering a pet game fish enough food is by keeping an eye on its size.  You can offer food early morning and in the evening.  The total amount of food you offer should be 2/3rds of the bass’s size.

Bass eat less in colder temperatures because cold water slows down their metabolism.  They usually eat more in early fall to fatten up for winter.  In winter, they become lethargic and they will only see food during the warmest part of the day.

Bass also eat considerably less during breeding seasons.  At this time, they are focused on protecting their nests but they are also much more aggressive at this stage.  They will strike out and catch anything they can find.

What Do Baby Bass Eat?

Baby bass is called fingerlings or fry.  As fingerlings, small bass eats small insects, minnows, zooplankton, and tadpoles they find.

At this point they will be swimming in a school along with the rest of their siblings and they will still enjoy the protection from their parents.  Bass will try to protect their pray for anything from 24 hours up to several days.

As a 6” fry, they will start to catch larger creatures such as worms, leeches, terrestrial insects, and minnows.

By the time bass grows to 12,” they will start to catch bluegill and other fish like shiners, shad, suckers, perch, crayfish, and many other foods.

When bass reaches 3 – 4-pound size, they will eat larger fish such as shad, bluegill, young bass, frogs, snakes, and other animals that might fall into the water.

What Do Wild Bass Eat?

Wild game bass can only eat foods they find in their natural habitat.  The foods they eat can differ based on their region.  Different food sources are available in lakes, ponds, rivers, and the sea.  But all bass species in any of these regions will focus on eating insects, small animals, larvae, and fish.

What Is The Best Bait For Bass?

Bass prefers to eat live foods.  They instinctively lash out when they see something proportionate in size moving.

To catch bass, you can use two different types of bait;

Live Bait

Live bait is ideal for catching largemouth and smallmouth bass.  You can use a variety of live baits such as baitfish, crustaceans, salamanders, worms, leeches, frogs, and insects.  Live bait can be added to a hook to catch bass.  These foods naturally have an appealing smell that will lure bass.

Bash Lures

Bass lures are also ideal since these mimic insect or fish movement when you cast them into the water.  There are a great many lures to choose from such as stick bait, curl tail grub, spinnerbait, square bill crankbait, skirted bass jig, lipless crankbait, finesse worm bait, tube bait, and swimbait.  The most important thing is that these baits should look like real foods and they should somehow mimic movement to help trigger an instinctive reaction from the bass.

If you are using bass lures, you should also use bait scents.  Bass has a good sense of smell and using scents can lure them to your bait.

Many fishermen will introduce bait smells by rubbing the bait in real foods that bass love to eat.

Do Bass Eat Worms?

Bass does eat worms such as earthworms or mealworms.  This isn’t a very common food source for this fish species because worms don’t naturally fall into the water all that often.  You can however successfully catch bass by using rubber worm baits.

Using worm-shaped plastics for bait is ten times more effective for catching bass compared to square plastic pieces.  Their instincts will kick at the moment they see worms in the water even if they haven’t been taught to eat this type of food.

Do Largemouth Bass Eat Other Fish?

Yes, largemouth bass is quite fond of eating other fish.  They will eat all sorts of fish species such as bluegill, carp, minnow, emerald shiners, and all other small freshwater fish species.  The largemouth bass is also cannibals.  They will protect their fry for 2 – 7 days but once their protective instincts ward off, they might start to lash out and catch their own young.  They will also eat any small bash species at any given time if they are hungry.

How does Bass Kill Their Prey?

Bass can use a variety of strategies to kill their prey.  They have very small teeth lining their jaws.  These small teeth are quite sharp and they face inward.  Their teeth are not designed to rip or tear flesh from larger food pieces.  Instead, they catch food that fits into their mouth.  Their teeth are used to hold onto foods that they suck into their mouths.  The teeth at the back of their mouths are used to crush and partially shred foods before these pieces are swallowed.

To catch their prey, they will swim close to their food.  They will catch their prey with lightning-fast reflexes.  Bass can jump out of the water to catch flying insects but they are mostly bottom feeders.  They will turn over rocks in their search for food and will then catch their food by sucking these foods into their mouths.

The foods are killed by crushing these foods into smaller pieces using the teeth in the back of their mouths.

Which Animals Prey On Bass

Bass is an important food source for many animals and humans.  Bass are prey to large birds such as eagles.  They are also prey for larger carnivores such as bears and tigers.

Lots of other fish also catch and eat bass.  They are also their own predators since they are cannibalistic and will eat their own fry or smaller bass species.

Bass sure are interesting fish species.  Catching bass game fish is also a very popular sport all over the world.  The world record bass was caught in 1932.

This bash weighed 22 pounds and 4 oz.

In 2019, this record was matched when a bass of the same size was caught in Japan.

Catching bass is fairly easy as long as you fish during the warmer seasons when they are highly active.

It is especially easy to catch bass in fall when they are still fattening up for the winter.  To catch this fish species, all you need to do is use the right bait.

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