Bass Fishing Basics: Biology and Habits of the Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are without doubt the most popular game fish in America. Anglers from coast to coast enjoy the thrill of trying to catch the largemouth.

The scientific name for the largemouth bass is Micropterus salmoides. They are typically found from Southern Canada to Mexico. Largemouth bass are also known in various locales as wide-mouth bass, big mouth bass and / or black bass. Whatever you call the bass, this interesting species is the source of enjoyment for millions of bass fisherman in this country, of all ages, sexes and ethnic backgrounds.

The largemouth bass belongs to the kingdom animalia under the family of Centrarchidae. Micropterus salmoides comes from the Greeks. The word "micropterus" means "small finned" while "salmoides" actually means "salmon" or "trout". Bet you didn't know your favorite bass is technically called a small-finned trout!


The largemouth bass is typically olive green in color spotted with dark, usually black, blotches that form a jagged horizontal stripe on each flank. It also changes its color as it adapts to temperature and the environment. It is called largemouth because its jaw is so wide that it passes beyond the ears-unlike its little brother, the smallmouth bass.

In some parts of the country largemouth bass are also called black bass because they are indeed almost black in color, much darker than in some other parts of the country. This is probably due to darker water conditions, where more brighter colored babies will tend to draw more attention-and get eaten-thus not making it to reproductive age.

Boy Bass v Girl Bass

In general, the female is bigger than the male species but it is a little difficult to tell if you've got a small female. However, females tend to be thicker and chunkier than males-much like many aquarium fish, actually. One way of telling for sure is if you milk the fish towards the anal area and find sperm or eggs that come out of it.


This species of fish stays in shallow water that is usually covered with weeds, or other structure. Smallmouth bass prefer cooler, deeper water than largemouth bass. The largemouth's desired temperature is from 75 to 85 degrees. Once the temperature becomes too hot, largemouth bass will move to deeper water. So, generally, oxygen level and water temperature has something to do with where largemouth bass wants to stay. It can also tolerate environment with minimal supply of oxygen compared to the smallmouth.


They usually spawn during spring. Their reproduction is affected by temperature. The perfect temperature for largemouth fish to reproduce is within 55 to 60 degrees. The male fish make the nest in on the sand and it will also protect the eggs. The only contribution, female fish does is to lay eggs. Baby fish also stays with the father for a month.

When it comes to behave, like any other predatory fish, bass tend to be active during the early and later parts of the day, at dawn and dusk, and, during the warm summer months, at night. During these times, they are much more active, searching for prey.

Anglers in particular should take note of this fact to increase your chances of catching a bass.

Like human beings, largemouth bass also have their favorite foods. Some of these foods are bugs of all types, minnows, crayfish, small land critters, frogs, newts, snakes and anything smaller than their size. And even their own babies.

Largemouth bass also depend on each other in order for them to protect themselves from their enemies and also for them to be able to locate prey. If a hook or lure alarms one fish, or if you catch and battle one, it may very well dim your chances of catching other fish in the same area. This is much more likely to happen in shallow, clear water. If this does happen when you are fishing, leave the place for a short time then drop your hook again, fish have short memories.

I hope you've enjoyed this article on largemouth bass basics.

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