Do bass actually have teeth? You may have wondered why lots of anglers hold prized bass in the mouth or lower lip, and whether or not it’s safe. Bass are some of the most common game species in North America, and they’re sought-after worldwide.
It’s no wonder why those in the angling community are interested in knowing the answers to questions like this and how to hold a bass fish the right way. Read on as we’ll dive into the topic further in this article!
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Do Bass Have Teeth?
Yes, they have various sets of teeth! But, black bass teeth, including that of smallmouth bass and spotted mouth, won’t leave you losing a lot of blood and requiring stitches as they’re small.
Largemouth bass, in particular, have tiny teeth that are arranged in rows and feel similar to rough grit sandpaper. Although it isn’t recommended to place your fingers or hand inside a fish’s mouth, it’s safe to grasp the lower jaw of a bass fish.
Commonly referred to as lipping, holding the lower jaw of the bass is a practical way of raising bass from the water and removing the hook.
How to Hold a Bass Fish
Now that you know that bass have teeth, you need to know how to properly handle the fish. Learning the right way of holding bass is an essential aspect of bass fishing.
Lots of bass anglers find themselves reeling in largemouth bass and other bass species. However, they aren’t sure of what they should do next after they’ve landed the fish.
You should be able to hold the fish safely, most especially if you plan on causing as little harm as possible to the bass.
Holding bass vertically is the easiest and safest way. However, make sure that you’re fully aware of its angle when you’re holding it up.
If you tilt it instead of keeping the fish straight down, the more damage you’ll inflict on its lower lip. You’ll also negatively affect its teeth and ability to hunt as soon as you release it on water.
Holding bass vertically with your thumb on its lip can relieve the pressure on its jaw. Remember that your thumb should be firmly placed in the mouth of the bass, gripping the lower lip.
Use the other fingers in holding the bass around its mouth. Take note: this method of handling bass isn’t supported by several anglers. This is because not everyone can maintain a straight angle.
The horizontal hold for a bass fish is more suitable for taking pictures of your catch. It’s more visually appealing, plus it provides a good idea of the fish’s actual size. But, this requires you to be extra careful of your position.
With the horizontal hold, you’ll do the same thing as you would for holding bass vertically. Firmly grab the fish’s lower lip while avoiding the teeth. Your other fingers should be kept outside the mouth for a solid grip.
As you’ll be holding the fish horizontally, your other hand will be carrying the fish’s body. Hold the fish’s body like you’re holding a taco. To relieve pressure on the jaw of the fish, keep its head slightly above its body.
At an Angle
Have you seen anglers hold bass at a certain angle? An angled hold for bass isn’t recommended.
In fact, the angling community will back us when we say it’s the worst way for handling bass. The angle puts a lot of pressure on a bass’s jaw and causes permanent damage to the fish.
Small bass are safe when held at an angle. The same isn’t true for bigger fish. An angled hold for smaller bass is acceptable as their bodies aren’t heavy enough yet to place strain with the grip.
Guidelines on Handling Bass Fish
Bass fishing is a popular outdoor activity in North America. That said, everyone who participates in the activity is called to maintain the bass population in order to allow everyone to enjoy it.
An angler must be responsible and heed the guidelines for bass fishing. Knowing the right way of handling and holding bass fish is key.
These are some of the rules to remember and follow when bass fishing:
- Keep your contact with the fish minimal. If you over handle the fish, it’s not only fatal for the animal – it’s also dangerous for you. Although bass teeth aren’t the sharpest, it’s still best to avoid them.
- Remove the hook from the bass as soon as possible if you plan on releasing it back on the water.
- If you’ll take a picture, use the horizontal hold. The best practice for taking pictures of prized bass is only taking pics of the impressive ones and not every fish you catch.
- Beware of the slime coating on the fish’s body and release it as soon as you’re able. It’s best to ensure that you cause less strain on the fish.
- Use fish-grabbing aides. This can be a fish grab tool or fishing net which is less damaging to fish.
- Regardless of how you’ll hold the fish, DO NOT squeeze it. If you squeeze its body, it will be dangerous to the fish since its internal organs are very delicate. Even slight pressure on a wrongly placed finger can kill fish without having to use the ike jime method.
- Remember to avoid the gills. We know it can be hard to do at times. However, you need to avoid its gill plate as you might cause some damage to its respiratory system.
Fishing for bass is a lot of fun and exciting. But, as responsible anglers, we should remember the correct and incorrect ways of handling bass.
Maintain your safety and inflict as little harm to the fish as possible. The most important thing to avoid is placing any undue stress on the jaw of your prized catch.
By holding bass safely and correctly, you’ll extend its life and you’ll have more successful and enjoyable trips targeting bass!