Vexan Rods – About Largemouth Bass
Largemouth Bass, also known as black bass, or Old Bucketmouth, are members of the sunfish family and because of their reputation as a fighter, one of the most prized game fish in the world. Largemouth Bass are also one of the most widely distributed fish due to their ability to thrive in remarkably diverse aquatic environments. Black bass can be found in freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers or streams throughout North America ranging across the continent from east to west and from southern Canada to Mexico. While all of the same species, the average size of these bass is very different by location. Fish in the northern locales, where 5 lbs is considered a trophy catch, are much smaller than those in warmer weather southern areas where fish in excess of 10 lbs are not uncommon. Fish in lakes also tend to grow larger than those in streams due to easier access to a more abundant food supply.
The world record Largemouth weighs 22 lbs, 4 ounces and this legendary fish was caught in Montgomery Lake, Georgia in 1932. This record has never been surpassed but in July 2009, after 77 years, a bass of the same size was caught on Lake Biwa, the largest Lake in Japan, using a live bluegill as bait. So now there are co-holders of this cherished world record.
Largemouth Bass spend most of their time in water that is 5 to 15 feet deep. Bass prefer water temperatures in the mid 70s and will adjust the depth within that range as the seasons change. They will also move much shallower onto the banks during spawning season which is when the water first warms to the low to mid 60s. That is probably the easiest time for catching bass by pounding the banks with spinner baits since the fish will attack anything that comes near their nests. In some locations there are even restrictions on fishing during spawning season.
During the rest of the year bass are likely to be near some kind of cover that is close to a drop off to deeper water. The cover provides an ambush point from which to catch food and protection from predators and sunlight. The drops off are known as structure and are much more likely to hold bass than areas with flat, featureless bottoms. The old axiom that 90% of the fish are found in 10% of the water is certainly true with regards to Old Bucketmouth. Knowing how to find that 10% is a key to successful bass angling.
When fishing a larger body of water, like a lake, in a boat a depth finder and topographical map are tools for identifying structure and finding prime bass water. Common types of structure are sand bars, shoreline breaks and sunken islands. Bass feed near the top of such structures and rest in deeper water.
In streams and the rivers, where you will be fishing on foot, the ability to read water is the key. Bass generally stay on the borders between fast and slow moving water. They rest in the calmer water and then dart out into the current to catch food that is floating by. Points, bridge abutments, fallen trees all cause breaks in the current creating pockets of calm water on the downstream side of the obstruction. Casting parallel to these breaks and floating or dragging the bait or lure along the border of the pool is often an effective bass fishing technique.
Catching largemouth bass requires patience and skill, but watching Old Bucketmoth leap from the water shaking his head to throw the hook is one of fishing most exciting sights.