Whether you’re an angler trying to understand the eating habits of the largemouth bass you’re trying to catch, or you’re simply interested in the fascinating nature of the largemouth bass, you must often wonder what do largemouth bass eat?
Largemouth bass are one of the biggest underwater predators around, feeding on a range of different things depending on their size, age, and their habitat. They are usually found in water bodies such as rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, and ponds.
This species usually prefers traveling alone. However, large bass populations are found in areas where there’s a large amount of prey.
Let’s go and explore the eating habits of largemouth bass!
What Do Largemouth Bass Eat?
Largemouth bass are magnificent aquatic creatures that are caught and admired by people across the country for their beauty, strength, and aggressive stance.
Understanding their feeding habits can help people judge where large populations of this species can be found within a body of water.
In order to understand what do largemouth bass eat, it’s helpful to first take a look at the ways they attack their prey.
How Do Largemouth Bass Hunt for Prey?
Feeding their ferocious appetites takes skill and largemouth bass are no stranger to skill. Their hunting behavior can be divided into three main types.
Largemouth bass who ambush their prey as a hunting tactic take full advantage of the water body’s natural features such as its vegetation, brush piles, and submerged laydowns.
They stand in wait for whatever unfortunate creature swims by and pounce when its guard is down.
This technique is generally aided by the deposits of food in the largemouth’s hiding place that attract its prey and make for an easy meal.
Another technique is that of hunting where the solitary largemouth silently stalks shallow water, ever aware of their surroundings, biding their time till satisfactory prey comes their way.
In this ‘hunting mode’ largemouth bass often appear to have ‘shut down’ when in reality they’re hyper-aware of their surroundings and don’t want to alert potential food of their presence.
Ferocious Attack Mode
This is one of the most exciting methods used by the largemouth bass where it conducts a full-on attack on its prey.
This process is generally associated with schooling behaviors as it requires what’s called a ‘strength in numbers’ as a collective body of largemouths attacks their prey viciously.
The attack is a flurry of activity which features the largemouth bass injuring and stunning schools of their prey before finally eating them
These are the three main hunting tactics used by bass in order to catch and devour their prey. The way the largemouth bass hunt often depends on the surroundings. For example, if bass are near large structures such as hollowed underwater rocks, they will prefer to silently stalk their prey.
The Difference in Feeding Habits Between Adult and Baby Largemouth Bass
Largemouth bass are typically classified as adults when they measure at least 12 inches long or weigh at a minimum three or four pounds.
Adult largemouth bass generally feast on smaller fish such as perch, sunfish, minnows, bluegill, shad, crayfish, frogs, suckers, and shiners.
They are also known to feed on insects and small aquatic birds, sometimes even giving into more cannibalistic urges by eating smaller bass! They are also capable of feeding on baby alligators, snakes, bats, and salamanders.
Many people wonder ‘what do baby largemouth bass eat?’ Baby largemouth bass typically haven’t developed predatory instincts which limit their diet to the likes of plankton, crustaceans, and insect larvae.
Effect of Temperature on Feeding Habits
Though largemouth fish are extremely fond of hunting and consuming their prey, their eating habits are governed by their surrounding temperatures.
Largemouth bass avoid eating when water temperatures are hotter than 37 degrees Celsius, or colder than 5 degrees Celsius.
Since largemouth bass are cold-blooded, their metabolism depends on the surrounding temperature, thus making them less likely to consume food in extreme temperatures.
The Effect of the Seasons on Largemouth Bass Feeding Habits
It’s common knowledge that largemouth bass lose their appetites during the spawning season, which usually falls during early spring season. Before this loss of appetite, they are known to eat large amounts of food in preparation for their time of abstinence from food.
For those who wonder what do largemouth bass eat in the summer, the answer is simple. After the spring ‘spawning’ season, the largemouth bass tend to attack and devour large amounts of prey, ranging from shad, bluegill, and frogs.
Before the onset of the cold season, there is usually a surge in largemouth bass feeding, where they ‘store up’ for the cold. The answer to what do largemouth eat during the cold winter season would be that the fish would opt for shade while moving into deeper water.
In winter, largemouth bass become less energetic and only eat little amounts of food that’s only in their immediate vicinity.
What Bait Do Largemouth Bass Prefer
Anglers have found the answer to what do largemouth bass eat in terms of the bait required to attract them.
It has been proven that largemouth bass prefer some types of live bait over others. Largemouth bass are more likely to get attracted to bait such as frogs, crawfish, mice, baitfish, and bluegills.
Knowing and understanding what do largemouth bass eat can help people navigate water bodies and figure out where large populations of the largemouth bass congregate.
Largemouth bass eating preferences vary across their age as well as the temperature in their environment and are affected by the changing of the seasons.
By tracking the movements of their favorite prey, you can easily predict the positions and the population of largemouth bass in a particular area.
I hope this guide helps you gauge largemouth bass feeding habits with enough surety to help identify potential fishing or marine exploration spots, depending on the reason for your interest in this magnificent aquatic creature.