The Largemouth Bass Micropterus Salmoides: Two subspecies and various cross species of the Florida Largemouth Bass Micropterus Salmoides Floridanus and the Northern Largemouth Bass Micropterus Salmoides Salmoides exist. Also called the Black Bass.
The Largemouth Bass is a terrific freshwater game fish. This bass is eager to strike at almost any lure, artificial or live; aggressive, voracious and puts up a good fight.
This fish prefers the habitat of shallow, clear waters of lakes, swamps, ponds, reservoirs and even some creeks and large rivers. The range spans from the Southern Gulf of Mexico to Northern Minnesota up to Quebec, and from California to Florida. They seldom are found deeper than twenty feet of water, preferring to prowl the shallows for their prey. They eat almost anything; small fish like minnows or the fry of other fish, worms, crayfish, frogs, insects, leeches, anything that moves. Artificial lures include but are not limited to; plastic grubs and worms attached to jigs, spoons, crank baits, spinners and plugs.
The life of a Largemouth begins when an adult male makes a nest on either gravel or he might dig into a marshy bottom to expose the leaves and roots systems of submerged vegetation in shallow water seldom reaching depths of more than ten feet. When a female happens by, the male will push her into the nest and then they will spawn. The male will stay to guard the nest and the female leaves to spawn with other males. The male will fan the eggs, sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands (from many females) for three days up to a week. They spawn in early spring to early summer depending on the geography, but typically when the waters start to warm and reach sixty degrees Fahrenheit. After a week, the fry form a school and stay close to the nest under their father’s protective care. The fry feed on various little buggers and grow for two weeks to a month until they reach about an inch in length and then they disperse into the water on their own.
In the first year, the fish can grow to between four and six inches, doubling the size in their second year. The fish begin to fill out in the third and fourth year and are about one to three pounds and ten to sixteen inches in length. Typically, the fish can live to be ten years old, but some live up to fifteen years and these old fish are in the ten to twenty pound range.
The World Record Largemouth bass was caught by George Perry on June 2, 1932 in Jacksonville, Georgia and was a whopping 22 lbs, 4 oz and 32 ½ inches and length and had a girth of 28 ½ inches. Another fish caught in 2006 in a California reservoir was said to weigh upwards of 25 lbs, but no documentation was recorded and the fish was side hooked. To be known, these fish grow large and to land such a fish is serious business. Big fish eat bigger bait. Muskie fishermen often catch big Bass by mistake.
The Largemouth is a beautiful fish, it is dark fir green in color with a white or golden belly. A dark lateral line spans the length of the fish from gill to tail and has dark vertical stripes spanning the body. The mouth is large per the name, distinguished from the smallmouth bass because the jaw extends beyond the eye. The eye sometimes holds a reddish hue in the iris. The dorsal fin is double and divided, the first dorsal has nine spines connected at the base to a second dorsal fin that is more pronounced with many rays. The tail is a banded with blue stripes. As a member of the sunfish family, it often has wavy dark blue lines that run in a horizontal fashion across the head.
Fishing for the Largemouth Bass
When fishing for Largemouth Bass, it is beneficial to cast lures at the edge of reed beds or next to lily pad groupings. Rocky areas or spaces with downed branches are often a good habitat to fish as well. Off the shoreline or dock, a jig with a plastic grub, worm or live bait can be dropped off shore and let to rest in clear water. The Largemouth Bass hunts by sight and you too can use this measure when fishing. A bright jig head, can let you watch your lure after it sinks after the cast, twitch the rod next to some weeds and you will see the bass rush out of the reeds. When it mouths the lure, let it sit for a half second and give it a good tug. Chances are, you will have hooked a juvenile bass. Reel it in and enjoy the fight. Keep the line taught, less you lose it during an often jump. Bass don’t have teeth up front like other big game fish that can harm you so, you can reach in and grab the lower lip when it is in the water and pull it out. For some reason, being pulled out of the water by the lower lip paralyzes this fish, so you can extract the hook and hold it in a reasonable fashion and admire it before you release it back into the water. Hold it by the belly and tail when you put it back in the water and move it back and forth a few times to get the water back in the gills and then let it swim away.
The Largemouth Bass is an addictive measure. Catching them requires little more than a novice fishing knowledge. They bite often in the early morning and at dusk. Like most fish, they eat when they are hungry. You can eat them, but the flesh is less tasty than most freshwater game fish like the Walleye or Crappie, which you are likely to catch in your pursuit of the Largemouth Bass.