What In The World Do Bass Eat? – Here’s the Answer…

what do bass eat
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Who do you think has a more OK chance of catching a bass?

An angler with no experience or one who has mastered the skill and techniques of catching fish like Bass.

Well, it is an angler who understands how bass feed, whether largemouth or smallmouth, white or black, spotted or striped.

Even as a novice angler, you can do great at catching Bass if you learn and understand the unpredictability of this massive fish.

Your chances of catching Bass sometimes using Jerkabit rods will significantly increase if you master the feeding habits of this water animal.

That is why we have compiled this guide that will help you understand everything you need to know about bass eating habits and fishing styles that will land you those prized catches.

 

What The Bass Fish Eat

Bass fish

Comprehending what Bass eat or what bass diet is, is a vital way of improving your bass fishing adventure and enabling you to increase your catch speed.

The Bass is generally identified as the apex predator in their surroundings, and you’ll notice them reaching for most things.

When Bass are young, they commonly eat krill and insect larvae.

But as the young Bass grow, their appetite becomes more miscellaneous and feistier.

Smallmouth bass tends to hunt for and eat crayfish and other smaller fish, while the larger bass or largemouth bass will try to eat anything that doesn’t try to eat them first—ranging from insects, frogs, crayfish, minnows, perch, and sunfish and even small aquatic birds.

The spotted Bass also eat smaller fish, aquatic insects, and crayfish.

They also will not resist eating another small bass.

Despite how big they grow, insects remain a part of their diet as well, both underwater and on-land insects.

Bass, most times, prefer to hunt and eat things that seem to be hurt or struggling in the water because they are generally more effortless to kill.

Since Bass eat various food, there tend to be many bait options for anglers.

The Largemouth Bass

largemouth bass

The largemouth bass can be discovered in freshwater aquatic bodies like lakes and ponds.

They are also frequently seen in shallow rivers and those with rocky bottom layers.

They have various shades of green with dark lateral streaks.

The Largemouth bass, in a way, has a long feeding history when it comes to fish.

They are blessed with a great sense of smell and are known as effective hunters because of their strike speed.

They are mostly seen in the cover of rocks, hay, submerged timber, or the edges of concaves.

The largemouth and their smallmouth relative target similar prey and are both opportunistic and will dash after whatever they feel they can catch.

However, the largemouth bass is the most popular among anglers. They are slick hunters who can go after various eats and anything that can’t eat bass but hide from larger fish that eats largemouth bass.

They hunt from surface to bottom and in the water string in between.

Largemouth bass can grow to a considerable size in a suitable environment with sufficient time and food.

Largemouth adult bass will indeed hunt and eat anything possible, and because of this, some might think it is easy to catch, but most anglers notice that if you lose Bass on one bait, you might need to switch tactics to get it again.

But with the right tactics, you will surely hit the catch.

They are such opportunistic eaters, the largemouth bass eats almost everything that any smaller fish, insects, and even birds around them are not safe.

If you are the sort of angler that enjoys pond or lake fishing, you will have more success catching largemouth bass since there are many ponds and lakes across the States, and you can find largemouth in many of them.

The key features of Largemouth Bass

  • They have various shades of green with dark lateral streaks
  • A dip notch separates the spinous dorsal fin from the soft dorsal fin.
  • The last spine is less than half the length of the longest spine
  • The upper jaw sort of extends above the eye.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

The smallmouth bass prefers cool, clear, and current-driven waters, mostly seen around boulders, wood, and weeds. In fact, they thrive everywhere, from small creeks to depths up to 50 feet.

In appearance, they have a sort of dark vertical bars of black, green, or red eyes, and their body colors can be seen in light yellow, brown, green to even black depending on the water clarity, the diet, and their habitat.

What does smallmouth bass eat?

The smallmouth bass, like the largemouth bass, are predators too, hunting for prey like crayfish, insects, and minnows, which is why they do well in clear waters.

They are fascinating creatures, and you will have a lot of fun pursuing them.

The Key Features of smallmouth bass 

They can be seen in light yellow, brown, green to even black but with no lateral streaks.

A shallow notch separates the spinous dorsal fin from the soft dorsal fin.

The last spine is more than half the length of the longest spine.

It can be seen in very faint vertical bars.

The upper jaw usually does not extend beyond the eye.

Spotted Bass

spotted bass

The spotted Bass, also referred to as the Kentucky bass, is one bass family kind.

The spotted-type Bass is most likely seen in small to medium streams, lakes, and rivers with clear water, gravel, or rock bottoms.

They are known for the rows of dark spots below the lateral line and are seen in green-like color like that of large-mouth bass.

It also has dark green broad lateral streaks or bands.

A shallow notch separates the spinous dorsal fin from the soft dorsal fin.

Because of its known rows of dark spots below the lateral line, it was given the common name “Spotted Bass.”

Despite being smaller and not as numerous as the largemouth, the spot bass fish is an incredible water warrior.

When spotted-type Bass are still young, they feed on insect larvae, plankton, and other small fish.

As they grow, spotted-type bass hunt for bigger and more diverse prey, including golden shiners, shad, crawfish, and crayfish.

The Key Features of spotted Bass

Seen in green-like color like that of largemouth bass.

A shallow notch separates the spinous dorsal fin from the soft dorsal fin.

Their upper jaw usually does not extend past the eye.

The last spine is more than half the length of the longest spine.

The lateral streaks are often seen in blotches.

Bass Eating Periods

Time of the day

To catch Bass, you need to master what time of the day they hunt most; you need to understand the time of day they like to eat.

The period they are very ready to take that bite.

Then, you have a greater chance of catching lots with bass kings and reeling them in when you do so.

Even well-fed Bass will strike targets during such periods if the opportunity presents itself.

The large-mouth bass is a fierce predator that relies laboriously on their sense of sight and feels to catch prey.

Primarily, the bass fish is a sight-based hunter requiring at least little visible light to accentuate its prey.

Bass are known for their enormous eyes that protrude a bit from the flank of their heads; they also have this sizeable single lens that permits them to capture a lot of light from a broad viewing angle.

During the day, bass fish has what is tagged photopic eyesight, and at nighttime, they have a scotopic vision.

So with such photopic eyesight, during daylight hours, they certainly see colors and depth perception more, but at darker hours, their eyes adjust to take in more light at the expense of depth or color sight.

So, they tend to hunt more in lower light conditions, such as cloudy days or early or late daylight hours, when they can see their prey, knowing that the prey can’t detect that they are close by.

Now, the best time of day to fish for Bass is usually early mornings, from dawn until two hours after sunset, and late evenings, around five PM until dusk.

Seasons

Spring

During early spring periods, largemouth bass will be on a feeding spree to recover the weight they lost during the winter period and build up energy for the spawning.

Largemouth bass starts to spawn when the water is warm, which is between 48-55 degrees Fahrenheit. At this period, you find them in spawning coves or any cover in deeper water near shallow spawning areas.

They tend to feed aggressively during pre-spawn.

Fall

At Fall, the weather cools, and the water temperature drops; Bass usually moves up shallow onto secondary points and flats.

It is the periods that cold days tend to cool water surface fast sufficiently, and they end up being chillier than the waters lower in the lake.

It is true that during this season, bass fish are less active, but with a swimbait, you can bet your fall bass fishing is in shallow areas.

You can find Bass from any structure in the shallow creeks from a 5 feet depth or less during most of the Fall.

The best time to catch largemouth bass during this period is in the last of the afternoon till near dusk.

Try throwing in lively minnow, shad, or sunfish patterns baits to attract Bass during this period.

Give a continuous retrieve and be ready to cover as much water as possible with your baits.

How Does Bass Hunt Their Prey?

When bass fish sights prey, they move toward it and try to stay in a position that targets the prey’s head.

For example, they aim for the bluegill head when they target Bluegill. However, with the bass’ mouth wide open, they target the head and not the tail, which might be because of the fins.

When the prey fits their mouth, they create suction with it, pulling it in and chewing it up.

Choosing Your Bass Bait and Lure

Knowing how Bass eats and when to target them is vital, but it is also essential to know your choice of bait that will be dictated by the Bass fish you wish to catch.

To catch bass fish, you can choose between minnow, shad, nightcrawlers, and crawfish for baitfish.

They are known for their preference for these, and for lures, you can go for silvery swimbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms, or a drop shot rig to bring in big Bass.

Hooking Your Baits and Lures for Bass Fishing

Depending on the bait or lure you intend to use, there are the best hook sizes for them. So let me talk about some famous angler’s lures for Bass and their best hook sizes.

1) Crawfish

Crawfish are somewhat thicker than other lures. In this case, you might require a size up to 3/0. However, if you have a notably bigger one on your hands, you can go as large as 4/0 or 5/0.

2) Minnows

Minnows are typically about 2 to 2 ½ ” thick. So a 2/0 or 1/0 hook will be well enough to catch you a bass.

3) Plastic Worms

If you are using artificial plastic worm lures, it is best to go for 2/0 or 4/0 hook size. You can select other hook sizes, too. Just make sure it matches the diameter.

4) Shad

Experienced anglers using live bait would frequently go for shad for bass fishing. It depends on how large your shad is; you can pick any size from 4/0 to 6/0.

5) Nightcrawlers

A big fleshy nightcrawler is fantastic for bass fishing. You can choose to use a 2/0 or 1/0 sized hook for a lure like it.

Conclusion

As we have noted, Bass are opportunistic feeders that bass will eat almost anything that fits their mouth.

In addition, they have excellent eyesight, hearing sense, and a great sense of smell.

They can be discovered in freshwater aquatic bodies like lakes and ponds and for smallmouth bass in cool, clear, and current-driven waters, mostly seen around boulders, wood, and weeds.

The large, smallmouth, and spotted-type bass are the favorite varieties for bass anglers, but there are other bass species such as sea bass striped Bass, black sea bass, white Bass, Choctaw bass, etc.

Note: Here are some of the best rods for bass that are the rave of the moment, if you want to get the upper hand.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do Bass eat?

When Bass are young, they commonly feed on krill and insect larvae. But as the young Bass grow, their appetite becomes more miscellaneous and feistier. Smallmouth bass is likely to hunt for crayfish and other smaller fish, while the bigger bass or bigmouth bass will try to eat anything that doesn't try to eat them first—ranging from insects, frogs, crayfish, minnows, perch, and sunfish and even small aquatic birds.

How does Bass hunt their prey?

When bass fish sights a prey, they move toward it and try to stay in a position that targets the prey's head. When the prey fits their mouth, they create suction with it, pulling it in and chewing it up.