Here are 10 bass facts that may surprise you.
As the most popular game fish in the United States, bass are specimens that many anglers have taken more time to learn about than other types of fish. However, there are still a number of mysteries of the species that you may not know. Some of these items may help you catch more fish; others are just for fun.
Either way, all 10 of the bass facts listed here are proof that bass are among the most fascinating of any fish species – freshwater and saltwater alike.
Male bass bump into females to stimulate the release of eggs.
If you’ve ever seen a male fish bumping into a female fish, no, they weren’t having a fight or a domestic dispute. On the contrary, male bass bump into females to stimulate the release of eggs and hurry the spawning process along. It’s a bizarre mating ritual, to be sure, but hey, whatever works right?
The bigger the bass, the sooner they spawn.
Speaking of spawn, there’s an interesting phenomenon with bass in that the bigger they are, the earlier in a season they will spawn. No one really knows why this is the case, whether they do it because of some sort of metabolic impetus or simply because they are at a peak position on the totem pole. Regardless of the reason, though, you are almost always going to see the bigger fish spawning first in the bass world, so if you want to scope out spawning beds, you’re more likely to land big fish earlier in the season.
The male guards the eggs.
Unlike with many other species throughout the animal kingdom, female bass aren’t expected to stand guard over their eggs. On the contrary, the males take the egg-guarding role among bass – part of the reason that you will often see both male and female fish near the spawning bed. In such situations, the female is usually laying the last of her eggs while the male is already settling into his role as a security guard.
Most of the biggest bass catches are actually younger fish.
Bass can function in a wide range of water temperatures.
While bass have their preferred temperatures like any other fish – and will therefore move from the depths to the shallows and back again depending on the time of year and the temperatures of the water – they can truly function well in water that is anywhere from the frigid 30s to the balmy 90s (in degrees Fahrenheit). The sweet spot is in the low 80s, but bass are adaptable and resilient fish, and this is certainly proven by how they handed changing water temperatures.
Bass can learn from their mistakes.
Bass are intelligent creatures – arguably the smartest of any common game fish. If you want to catch a bass with a specific lure or baiting solution, you had better do so on the first try. Should a bass slip your hook, break your line, or otherwise escape your clutches, he or she may well take note of the occurrence and use the close call as a reminder to avoid similar lures or baits in the future. Some anglers would do well to internalize this “learn from mistakes” mentality.
Bass have six different senses.
No, they can’t see dead people, but bass actually do have a “sixth sense” that helps to defend them from different types of aquatic threats. This sense, called the “lateral line,” is made possible by a row of pores filled with water and nerve endings. These pores essentially allow a bass to detect extremely low-frequency vibrations in the water around them and to interpret precisely what they mean. Bass learn to connect different frequency patterns with different types of predators or prey, meaning that certain sound waves will elicit a fight response and others will elicit a flight response. Bass aren’t the only fish who have the lateral line, but they get an awful lot of use out of it. Referred to primarily as “sight feeders,” the lateral line is what allows bass to land a meal in the dark.
Florida largemouths grow faster
Florida habitats are ripe to allow the state’s native largemouth bass populations to grow faster and live longer than their northern counterparts. That’s not exactly fair, but it makes bass fishing in Florida something that every angler must try.
Bass are attracted to the color red
Scientific research has indicated that, while bass can see colors, they can discern red better than any other color on the spectrum.
Bass cannot adjust their eyes to sunlight.
Arguably the most oft-repeated myth in the bass fishing world is that bass avoid overly bright sunlight because it hurts their eyes. Whether this claim is made by anglers to explain why they missed a fish on a sunny day after a cold front or is simply derived from the fact that bass lack eyelids is hard to say. However, while bright sunlight won’t bother a bass, there is a certain iota of truth to this particular myth in that bass cannot adjust their eyes to sunlight. In addition to lacking eyelids, these remarkable fish boast fixed irises, which means that bass have no method – conscious or subconscious – of blocking or filtering light before it reaches the retina. That light doesn’t hurt their eyes because a unique system of dark color pigments surrounds their photoreceptors and dampens the harshness of the light.