The Largemouth Bass goes by many different names, but it’s without a doubt a favorite among fishermen. This is the kind of classic fish every angler dreams of reeling in. Let’s get a closer look at where to find them and how to catch them.
What is a Largemouth Bass?
The Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) is a species of black bass, and are technically part of the sunfish family. These fish can be found in freshwater sources throughout much of North America and are so well-loved that they’ve been introduced throughout the world. Largemouth are carnivorous and give anglers a good fight when you get them on the line.
Why is it Called a Largemouth Bass?
There’s a pretty obvious reason to why this bass is called a Largemouth: it has a large, sloping mouth with an upper jaw that reaches past the eye socket. Largemouth also go by the names Black Bass, Bigmouth, Widemouth, Bucketmouth, Largies, Florida Bass, Green Bass and even Green Trout (although they are definitely not trout).
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What Type of Fish is a Largemouth Bass?
Largemouth Bass are a species listed under Black Bass, a group of fish more widely distributed than the Largemouth. Largemouth are actually sunfish, which many anglers are surprised to learn – however, unlike most sunfish, the Largemouth isn’t a panfish. Quite frankly, they’re usually too big and the wrong size to be considered a panfish.
What is a Largemouth Bass’ Habitat?
This species needs deeper water to truly thrive. Therefore, they can be found in lakes and reservoirs; but that doesn’t mean you won’t find them in rivers, as well. They prefer larger, slow-moving rivers. Largemouth across the country will be anywhere they can find reasonably sized prey.
Can Largemouth Bass Live in Brackish Water?
Yes, the Largemouth can survive and even thrive in brackish water (a mix of fresh and saltwater). This is what makes them a popular fish in Florida, where they hang out in tidal rivers.
Where Can I Find Largemouth Bass?
If you’re in the eastern or central parts of the US, you’re in Largemouth territory! These fish can also be found in southeastern Canada and northern parts of Mexico.
Outside of their native range, largemouths have been introduced to states like California and Illinois and countries such as Japan, Russia, and France.
What Do Largemouth Bass Eat?
One of the reasons this species is so popular is that they can grow to impressive size – and that’s due to their diet. Largemouth Bass are carnivorous fish that typically grow quickly. Juvenile fish will eat small baitfish, shrimp and insects. Adults eat other fish (including the Bluegill), worms, snails, frogs, salamanders, turtle hatchlings, alligator hatchlings, snakes and even small birds. These guys definitely aren’t picky eaters, and that means you can try out a variety of bait.
How to Catch a Largemouth Bass Fish?
Luckily, Largemouth will go after almost everything. Their diet is so varied that chances are you already have a few of their favorite things in your tacklebox. These aggressive (and hungry) fish will go after live bait as well as artificials. Soft plastics, hard lures, and both fancy and simple jigs will do the job.
Best Largemouth Bass Fishing Rigs
The Texas Rig is an obvious choice for Largemouth Bass, which like to hang out under grassy weed mats in their water sources. These mats can be hard to punch through and can also easily overwhelm your line. Texas Rigs are set up in a way that keeps them “weedless” and ensures you’ll be able to pull your line back in without losing your entire rig.
Mule Jig with Donkey Tail
Mule jigs work with so many different species that it’s not surprising they’re our pick for Largemouth Bass, too. For hard-hitting fish, Mule jigs hold up against a good bite and you’ll rarely have to change it out. They also pair great with a variety of bait. We’ve paired it with the Donkey Tail because these little plastics are stretchy, durable, and buoyant.
Bladed jigs work great as a cast-and-retrieve option. It’ll skim the top of the water and pull bass up from the deep. Spawning season in particular is a great time to try these rigs. The hopping action created with bladed jigs will attract hungry Largemouths, fast.
Best Largemouth Bass fishing Lures
The YUM Dinger lure looks deceptively simple. It was designed to be a versatile lure, and can be used as a Texas Rig, Wacky Rig, Drop Shot or on smaller hooks. It even holds up when sent into heavy vegetation, despite being a life-like soft plastic. Our favorite color is the Bubblegum Lemonade Swirl.
Can be used as a Texas Rig, Wacky Rig, Drop Shot on smaller hooks with the 4 inch size. Favorite color is the Bubble Gum Lemon Swirl.
Donkey Tails are super stretchy and durable, meaning you won’t have to go changing your bait after a good bite. Stay out fishing for as long as you want. It will also hold up no matter how you decide to fish it, so whether you’re cranking in fast or sending it to the bottom, it’s an eye-catcher with great action and the perfect size for bass.
The name says it all here. Thunder Crickets come in a variety of colors, and their unique design makes for great prey action in the water. A bladed jig, the Thunder Cricket has a vibration to it when reeled and can be fished fast or slow.
What kind of Gear Do You Need for Largemouth Bass Fishing?
The best gear for Largemouth really depends on how you want to fish. Largemouth are synonymous with power, so they’ll be packing a punch – but you’ll also need a rod that can stand up to punching through Largemouth habitat. On the other hand, if you’re more worried about what kind of bait you’re using, check out other options like a weightless senko rod.
Largemouth Bass can require a lot of effort, and you’ll probably find yourself flipping and pitching when you reel them in – so make sure you’re set with a sturdy and versatile reel that pairs well with your rod.
What is a Good Largemouth Bass Fishing Rod?
Temple Fork Outfitters Professional Series Casting Rod
From Temple Fork Outfitters, this is a near-perfect casting rod. It’s built for moderate-to-fast action and can handle lines ranging from 8-17 lbs, meaning you’ll be ready to pull in that big bass. The rod itself only weighs 4.5 oz, but is built to last.
13 Fishing Defy Black Spinning Rod
13 Fishing makes beautiful rods, and the Defy Black is no exception. A spinning rod, you’ll be able to troll the water or just chill on the shore with minimal effort. The Defy Black is slightly shorter than TFO’s Casting Rod, but has a line capacity of 6-12 lbs and is slightly heavier at 10 oz. If you’re on a budget this rod is a great option.
What is a Good Largemouth Bass Fishing Reel?
Shimano SLX (Baitcasting Reel)
The Shimano SLX is well-loved by anglers everywhere. It’s built with brass so it weighs less on your wallet, but still holds up in extensive use. This reel has a more compact body than other Shimano products and a longer handle for added power. Happy customers applaud the reel’s ability to avoid tangling, cast far, and great grip.
Lew’s American Hero (Spinning Reel)
The graphite composite frame of this reel makes it lightweight yet strong. If you’re a fisherman who loves variety, this reel will fit in with your gear perfectly. It holds up against many different species and situations and anglers love the smooth cast and retrieve.
What is the Best Fishing Line for Largemouth Bass?
Seaguar 101 Basix 100% Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
We’ve chosen the 6-15 lb Seaguar Basix Fluorocarbon because when it comes to Largemouth Bass fishing, you never know what you’re going to get. Fishing for Largemouth means you’re likely to run into habitats and situations of all shapes and sizes. If, for example, you find yourself on water with heavy cover (not unusual with Largemouth), you’ll want to use a heavier line that can hold up against abrasion and rugged surroundings. But Largemouth also love clear water, and in that scenario you’ll want to go for something lighter.
Be ready for anything with Seaguar – this is a great company with reasonable prices and a variety of products to fit your needs.
When do Largemouth Bass Spawn?
Spring is a great time to catch spawning bass, as they flood areas of water to nest and mate. Due to their wide range, spawning can take place anywhere from April to June. Males will form nests usually twice the length of their bodies and will find a nearby female. Bass defend their nests aggressively, so fishing spawning grounds will set you up for a good catch! Check out some of the best spring bass fishing lures available.
How Big Do Largemouth Bass Get?
Largemouths grow very quickly unless they’re found far north, where cold waters slow their growth. Largemouths native to Florida grow the fastest and can easily reach 10 lbs in 8 years, whereas northern Largemouths will reach roughly 5 lbs in the same span of time.
What is the Average Weight of a Largemouth Bass?
It’s hard to determine averages when Largemouth vary significantly by region, but in general, the average weight is 5 lbs.
What is the Average Length of a Largemouth Bass?
The average length for these fish is anywhere from 13 – 20 inches.
What is Considered a Trophy Largemouth Bass
There’s some controversy about what a trophy Largemouth looks like, but many anglers support the belief that trophy size should be 51% of the world record holder. In this case, a trophy Largemouth would weigh 11 lbs 2 oz.
However many areas, especially where these fish grow slowly, consider a trophy fish any Largemouth over 8 lbs.
What is the World Record for a Largemouth Bass?
The world record for Largemouth Bass actually came down to a tie! Interestingly, both fish were caught in very different parts of the world.
- 22 lb 4 oz – Montgomery Lake, Georgia – George W. Perry – July 2, 1932
- 22 lb 4 oz – Shiga, Japan – Manabu Jurita – July 2, 2009
What is the Lifespan of a Largemouth Bass?
The average lifespan of a Largemouth is 16 years, however, these fish have been recorded as having reached 25 years in age. They live longer in the wild than in captivity as they’re some of the top predators in their water sources.
What Color is a Largemouth Bass?
The olive-green or gray-green bodies of these fish are marked by dark, almost black blotches that run horizontally. Largebass bellies are usually white or light green in color.
What is a Predator to a Largemouth Bass?
Adults are considered apex predators in their habitats and usually fall prey to humans, predatory birds or the occasional predatory mammal. However, most Largemouth prey are actually juveniles and are eaten by larger fish in the habitat. These fish include pike, yellow perch and walleye.
Are Largemouth Bass Fish Good to Eat?
Despite their popularity as a gamefish, not everyone loves to eat largemouth bass. If prepared incorrectly they can have a sort of “muddy” taste, but in general the Largemouth is an average-tasting freshwater fish. Not great, but not bad, either.
What is the Legal Size to Keep a Largemouth Bass?
This will vary by state and region, but the average size a Largemouth needs to be for the fisherman to keep them is 12 inches. States like New Mexico, however, have a size requirement of 14 inches; in Florida, 16 inches.
If you happen to be fishing for Largemouth in Mexico, they operate on a “point” system and you should follow accordingly.
How Long Can a Largemouth Bass Live Out of Water?
If you’re a catch-and-release fisherman and want to take a few minutes to admire your trophy Largemouth, that’s pretty much all you have. Largemouth Bass can survive for about 2 minutes out of water, but the odds go down if the weather is warmer.
How to Hold a Largemouth Bass
Holding these large fish can get tricky, so here’s a few quick tips:
- Hold the fish vertically, but with the head tipped slightly higher than the tail
- Place your thumb in the mouth and grip the bottom lip; do not pull or you’ll break the jaw
- Support the fish with your other hand under the belly or the back
What is the Difference Between a Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass?
Despite being somewhat similar in appearance, there are a few ways to tell Large and Smallmouth Bass apart. For starters, Largemouth Bass are usually darker in coloration. Smallmouths have a golden-green hue.
Largemouth also get much, much bigger than their cousins. The average size of a Smallmouth is 12 – 18 inches. Largemouths will also, unsurprisingly, have larger mouths.
If you’re looking for the all-time classic North American fish to catch, the Largemouth is your best bet. They’re a fun fighting fish and it’s always exciting to see what you have on the other end of the line. Even your “average” Largemouth is a treat, so get out there and get fishing!
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